I see a strange and furious face…

Inspired by the generosity of my clients and friends, Cameron McClure, agent extraordinaire, has raised the limit on her goal for this Sunday’s ride for MS. There’s still time to see her picture of determination personified (it’s a 60 mile bike ride!) and contribute. Click here to do so.

In other news, feyandstrange had asked last week:
How do you keep up with the romance genre? If we read all those books, you’d never get any work done (and we authors wouldn’t either). But just reading the tip sheets doesn’t seem to be enough.

I agree. It’s not enough. And no one can read everything, a difficulty that faces many a writer, agent, or editor. This is made even more daunting to me by the fact that I don’t solely represent romance. The science fiction and fantasy part of my list is currently the largest, though I’m working on increasing my romance/women’s and mystery/thriller portions, as well as whatever else seems both saleable and happens to catch my fancy. So, I just try to take a really wide sampling. This tends to include a couple of best-sellers (I just finished ANANSI BOYS), but mainly I try to look for those novels by authors that have consistently provided high quality and challenging books (luckily ANANSI BOYS also meets this criteria). This makes me a sharper reader overall, and it passes on into my consideration of submissions. It’s also important to be a part of a reading community – not just a writing community – and listen to what others say about books, especially if you’ve found yourself typically agreeing with their opinion. I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t have to read everything out there; just the best of everything. Hope that’s not too much of an over-simplification.

ETA: Oh, yeah — one of the other things I try to do is read a lot of new authors. Numbers are so crucial for those first novels — well, okay, they’re always crucial but somehow when a person isn’t getting a big Grisham-sized ad-campaign, I feel like my purchases matter more. In any case, first novels have the added lure of being something new editors felt compelled to buy. Based almost entirely on just the story itself, and not on the writer’s reputation or backlist. I was reminded of this because I ended up reading the first 40pp or so of MELUSINE by Sarah Monette last night.

3 responses to “I see a strange and furious face…

  1. Do you ever look for genre crossovers? Like the new Luna (I think) imprint of fantasy with a strong romance element? Or mysteries with a chick-lit flair?
    I agree with reading the best of everything!

    • I have three – count ’em three! – series at Luna: C.E. Murphy’s WALKER PAPERS (first book: <a href=
      “http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0373802234/”>Urban Shaman), Laura Anne Gilman’s RETRIEVERS (first book: Staying Dead) and Anne Kelleher’s SHADOWLANDS (first book: Silver’s Edge). Actually, those are just the published series. Laura Anne sold 3 more of the Retrievers books back in April, bringing it up to six, and Anne sold a new trilogy in June. And I might have something new from Luna to announce today if the voicemail and fax machine gods are kind.
      In any case, I do like books that mix elements of other genres. Romantic suspense is a fave in the romance subgenres. And there’s Jim Butcher’s fantasy noir DRESDEN FILES. I have to say, though, that evenso, I still end up feeling like it has to clearly fit into one instead of the other. If the author somehow manages an exactly 50/50 split between their genre types, it tends to be a tough sell.
      I also like more traditional approaches. Basically, I just like books that are really, really, really ridiculously good.

      • Anne sold a new trilogy in June
        Oh, cool! I didn’t know that! Yay for Annie!
        Basically, I just like books that are really, really, really ridiculously good.
        *laughs out loud* You know, I’ve heard lots of editors say that at conferences: “What we’re really looking for is a really good book.” Which always begets the wailed, “But how do I *know* if it’s really good?” Any insight as to the answer to that question?

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