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No hope for certain genres?


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#1 jess.foster

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:57 AM

I know that this is a subjective industry and that if your story is really really good then it doesn't matter what genre you write in, but is that really true?
I write YA fantasy. Fairly high fantasy but super character driven, sort of like Kristen Cashore's Graceling.
But it's not just me, I've seen writer friends with awesome books completely ignored.
And there was this contest on a popular website for young adult books recently. Basically, writer's posted a six line pitch and agents would message whether they wanted to see more. I went through 17 pages of entries (probably 7 entries per page) and of all the YA fantasy novels (some of which sounded fairly cool) the only ones that seen requests for more were 1. fairy tale retellings or 2. Ghost stories.
Ever. single. one.
Is there no hope for someone who writes ya fantasy that isn't a fairy tale retelling or a ghost story?
Also, what will happen in a year or two when agents are sad because all they ever get across their desk is fairy tale retellings and ghost stories? What if someone has an awesome fairy tale retelling or ghost story then?
I write what I love, I don't follow trends.(Though I attend writer's conferences and online groups and am a part of 3 crit groups--so I'm actively trying to make what I write better, so I wouldn't say my writing is horrid). Does that mean I have no hope of being published?

#2 Jason Bixler

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 06:06 AM

I write horror. I read horror, and dark fantasy. For a long time, I was thinking that my genre was doomed to dust and obscurity, and that may be the case. I don't really care. The truth of it seems to me that everything that is popular now won't always be popular. The things that were hot last year aren't really so big now. And the things that are going to be hot next year? If you can answer that, please clue me in. Regardless, I think there is a market for well-written stories no matter what genre they are in. Maybe the hunt for someone willing to represent said story takes a little longer, maybe you have to dig a little deeper to find the right agent/publisher, maybe it doesn't pay off as well at first, but you can't give up. How many rejections did lil' ole Harry Potter get before he made it big time? Were kid-wizards big before that? I say if the muse is speaking to you, listen. Write what you want to write and worry about the market afterward.There will always be a place to sell quality.
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#3 Revo

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:26 AM

At the end of the day, when the dust settles, content is king. Chase what you feel is 'hot' all you want, but the target is not static.
Keep the faith, write the story, satisfy and improve youself. Everything else after that is a byproduct.

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#4 Tom Preece

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:18 PM

I have written a dark tale which will repel some readers, though others may find a way out of their own darkness and others still may discover a world in plain sight that is always hidden from them. I still wrote with as much regard for the readers as I could. I have cloaked it in the form of mystery suspense, but that sugar coating may seduce too few.

My first person narrator's voice is constricted and limited by his wounds. I learned a lot from an agent who tweeted that the narrator made no effort to pretty up the prose. Of course he didn't! His experience is stark, raw, and grating.

I've tried to market this work as a mystery. I've recently concluded that may be in error. The beta readers who like this most are struck with the revelation of a world they have not known and see the story largely driven by moral dilemma's and character's choices. It looks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. It's not a duck. What I wrote isn't really genre fiction, and I need to admit that to myself to have any hope of publishing it, either traditionally or for myself.

I'm heartened when I read how many agents by passed "The Help"

#5 Will

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

Revo has the right of it. Hot trends come and go. To chase the trend often leaves you behind so write what you love and hope the curve is headed toward you.

That said, with a good enough story with great content and even a genre that's not "in" can get agented and published.

#6 T.J.

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

There truly is no way to say. Honestly. And there are thousands of agents, many of which will be eager to get their hands on your MS if it is well written and unique in some way.

Don't stress yourself, don't worry about the market. It is VERY subjective. I've seen those who continue to write about vampires and werewolves, with unique twists, get rejection after rejection...until an agent says, "I want to see it." And guess what? They are going to be published this year.

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#7 Terradi

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:38 PM

I've seen those who continue to write about vampires and werewolves, with unique twists, get rejection after rejection...until an agent says, "I want to see it." And guess what? They are going to be published this year.


You have no idea how happy I am to hear that this is still possible in the vampire genre. I've seen several publications that just state outright that they're not looking for any more vampire fiction at this time. Knowing that people are still having success here makes me happy.

#8 clynnc

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:02 AM

Yeah, I agree with the other posts. Write what makes you happy. I'm sick of trends myself. I review YA novels, and you have no idea how many dystopias and paranormal romances I've had to plow through. Ugh! Just because they're published doesn't mean they're going to be read!

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#9 T.J.

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:13 AM

You have no idea how happy I am to hear that this is still possible in the vampire genre. I've seen several publications that just state outright that they're not looking for any more vampire fiction at this time. Knowing that people are still having success here makes me happy.


There will always be an audience for it. But the market was simply flooded after Twilight. It's tapering off, but there is still a market for it. You just have to find the ones willing to take the chance.


Yeah, I agree with the other posts. Write what makes you happy. I'm sick of trends myself. I review YA novels, and you have no idea how many dystopias and paranormal romances I've had to plow through. Ugh! Just because they're published doesn't mean they're going to be read!


While we see it that way, the truth is, every overly used premise has an audience. Although many feel as you do. There will always be readers, especially if there is a new, unique twist written in a strong, active voice.

I currently write with a very little used premise, but I see it gathering steam, thanks to Thor. Hopefully I can get in and established before it is over saturated. But, even then, well, for my full length novels, it's what I write *shrug*

With the market, it could go either way. A friend whom I have CPd for since first joining AQC has struggled with her MS - about wereanimals, and faced rejections. Tons of rejections. Yet, an agent requested the full MS. It's all about if the agent feels it can be sold. And some of the big five have begun to actively ask for them again.

*shrug* you never know.

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#10 TheNascentGirl

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

jess.foster- I think hope is one of the best things us newbies looking for a debut can have (in addition to our hard work of course), especially if you so happen to be writing in a not-so-trendy genre. I am trying to get my historical novel set in the Old American West to be recognized and when was the last time you saw someone reading a Western? But I have hope! I may need to re-read and edit a hundred times, cut a lot of it, and on top of that still be rejected by lots of agents but someday I think it will work out and I think that that persistence will pay off.
Hope, persistence, hard work. We can do it! *\(^_^)/*

#11 Lebkuchen

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

There is absolutely hope for fantasy in YA (as there is in any genre, to be fair). I wouldn't be discouraged.

The trick, with high or epic fantasy, is to retain an original voice. You see so much overly derivative fantasy in the slushpile, and it often has an omnipresent third person narrator, which is hard to pull off in YA (but a staple of the high fantasy genre).

As with pitching any novel, you need to be able to condense your concept into a couple of sharp, concise lines. Maybe less. When you have a whole new world to explain, it's particularly hard. My advice for querying fantasy YA would be to focus first on the journeys of your characters. Fill in the details about your fantasy setting second, and in as few words as possible; focus on the most unique or interesting selling points, rather than giving a history of the land (as many authors end up doing).

Good luck.

#12 CynthiaDawn

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

YA fantasy seems to be doing quite well in my opinion. It's one of those genres that I think, if you play it right, will never get old.
Of course, you've got to play it right, like any genre. No more magic rings or wardrobes, or Cinderella re-writes, though modern fairy tales/fantasy are doing quite well.




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