Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Baker's Dozen: On Hard-to-Sell Genres

This question was posed yesterday:

Would it be not a very good idea to enter the contest with a YA dystopian because of market saturation? I know agents are shying away from it in general, and I imagine that would impact your and Jodi's choices, too.

I took the question directly to our auction agents, and here is the consensus:

Yes, dystopian is a (very) hard sell.  Yes, your dystopian will need to float miles above the rest to get someone to sniff in its general direction.


Why?  Because you never know.  And this puts the onus on Jodi and me to do the culling.  (Oh, the pressure!)  So, yes, we are going to be super picky about dystopian entries.  (I told the agents that we'll only choose one if it makes us both faint...)

And oh, this is painful.  Because dystopian is my true love.  You know this.

Anyway, this applies to any genre that happens to be a hard sell right now.  ENTER IT ANYWAY.  Jodi and I will make the calls.



  1. I know the market is constantly in flux, but it would be wonderful if we could get a snapshot in time as to what the "hard sells" were at a given time. Dystopian has been slogged through the mud enough to know, but YA male protags? Sci-fi (specifics)? Westerns? I know great writing trumps all, but what are the genres/attributes that give you two strikes before you ever step to the plate?

  2. The Catch-22 is that normal publishing delays between an agent signing you on and your book hitting the shelf means that there is actually no way you can get on top of a popular genre before it starts to fade.

    Your only shot is to get the work out there and hope for the best. That, and write something else. If you can master more than one genre, a wider range has more chances.

    If it makes you feel better, agents are dealing with the same frustrating time lag, with money on the line. This is why they start losing hair.

    A lot of publishing is a crap shoot, and always has been.

  3. Thanks so much for answering my question, Authoress! Now all I have to do is make you "faint" with my entry. Should be easy enough. jk haha.