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Could an agent recommend a genre change?

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#1 mojicanpuertorican


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Posted 29 March 2018 - 02:42 PM

My story has vibes of paranormal mystery and horror, not sure where to exactly place it. If I send it either way, will an agent, if he likes the manuscript, suggest to market it as the other genre? Will they not see that as an amateur move? Any input is appreciated

#2 Drake Robinson

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 03:24 PM


Don't know about agents, per se. However, the more genres one covers, the more exposure one gets - especially when one may be searching for a genre or two.

My first publisher asked me to come up with two genres for my books and I gave her three. All were used in the books themselves.

As an example, just recently saw the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie 'The Last Stand.' It's an action flick, but IMDB also lists it as a Western. Well, ok - It's not the kind of typical Western adventure anyone may be familiar with, but it was very good nonetheless.

Bottom line: Don't sweat the small stuff and just go with the flow, eh?

Good Luck!


#3 Nessa


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Posted 29 March 2018 - 05:19 PM

Yes, an agent might market it differently.
For example, somebody might pitch their book as New Adult, and the agent might relabel it as "Adult romance with crossover appeal."
You might pitch your book as a paranormal mystery. I think paranormal includes aspects of horror.
In your career, your agent might suggest a genre change. If you write paranormal mystery, an agent might see it viable to try Young Adult paranormal mystery.

#4 BadgerFox


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Posted 30 March 2018 - 10:34 AM

I think the general advice is not to give your genre as anything too hyphenated or dithery BUT it's equally true that you may be able to pick more than one non-dithery, non-hyphenated genre category that suitably fits.


For example, it's generally not good to try and straddle too many genres simultaneously and say you've written a 'Fantasy-Adventure-Horror-Mystery with romantic subplot and comic elements'. BUT if you gave your genre as a 'dark fantasy', you might equally be able to describe it as a 'horror comedy' or a 'satire' or a 'YA horror'. All of those are potentially accurate labels. All of those affect which bookshelf in the bookstore your novel might be placed on. But you haven't tried to use all of the descriptors at once.


I've had a similar experience, writing Speculative Fiction. When I query agents who've specifically asked for political themes and strong female characters, I pinpoint the genre even more accurately and say 'feminist speculative fiction', when I query agents who are interested in historical novels, I've said it's 'alternative history'. They're all acurate ways of describing it, but they need to be used individually, as it wouldn't look good to try and say I've written a 'Feminist-sci-fi-historical-speculative-novel with Steampunk elements and romance subplot'.

Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!

#5 mwsinclair


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Posted 02 April 2018 - 02:45 PM

I'm one of those who feels genre is not the small stuff. It's critical to a marketing strategy. So anything you can do to suggest how you believe it should be marketed would, I believe, be helpful.


That said, I think a smart agent would recognize the best spot in which to market the final product. Basically, I think Nessa put it best above.

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