Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Question from a Writer - Settings for stories

I attended [a conference just recently] , where I submitted my synopsis and first chapter of a contemporary romance to a critique group facilitated by an agent/editor.  Her feedback and that of the others in the group was favorable in terms of my strength in writing and story arc, but she told me romances set in foreign countries are not selling at this time.  The protagonist is an American journalist living in London, where much of the story takes place.  The novel also includes travel and scenes set in Afghanistan.   No action in the story occurs in the United States.  The hero is a British army doctor.

I would like some additional clarification or, if you will, a second opinion on that matter.   I certainly understand publishing is a business and can sharply change course, and as such I'm wondering that while these types of stories aren't selling now, do you sense a change on the horizon?  In short, do I forget about this novel and move onto the next, or should I try to find an agent and see where it goes?

This is a great question.

In all honesty, I have not seen any trend where stories set in foreign countries are not selling. In fact, one of my writers was asked by her editor to consider moving the story to another country to really work with the demand.

I think the issue is that, depending on the story and the line, there may be a preference. I know one of my authors has liked to set her stories in Australia, but we have now moved them to the US (Colorado and so forth).

The other issue my be the Afghanistan element and what you are doing with the story there. That might also be an issue of the editors are interested in avoiding political topics.

I do think this might just be a subjective issue so maybe consider waiting to see if you are getting a trend of answers after your submissions.

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