I have finished Signal (loved it), but am left puzzled by one thing. How is it you think you don’t rep speculative fiction? Oh, I know Patrick Lee and Jeff Somers write a fast-paced story that you could nudge over to thriller/suspense, but seriously. People are going to start putting two and two together, you know. If you sell it they will come – the queriers, I mean. Heck, I might even lead the charge.
Well, I don't represent speculative fiction cause I'm not really sure what it is. I signed Patrick Lee for a book that I think of as a thriller. I pitched it as a thriller. It got published by an imprint of Harper that does science fiction. We sold enough copies that I know it sold to people who don't read science fiction. Same with Runner. I pitched that as a thriller. It was marketed as a thriller. If you think it's speculative fiction, I'm ok with that as long as you buy many many copies of the book.
And Jeff Somers was signed for a book called CHUM that isn't speculative fiction (whatever that is) and when I sold Electric Church I thought it was science fiction, or a dystopian thriller.
I make jokes about this by saying I sold dystopian by mistake, I thought it was something else.
Which is of course really funny until you're a writer trying to figure out what the hell I want to read.
Well, here's a suggestion: ignore category. Just send everything. I don't particularly care. I'll read pages from enticing queries no matter what category you place it in because I've learned that what I call it can be much different than what the editor calls it, or where it gets shelved after the marketing people take a whack at it.
This is why you do NOT start a query with "here's my speculative fiction novel." You start with the name of the protagonist and what's at stake. You reel the reader into the story FIRST, then close with what you think is the category (and half the time you're wrong, but I don't care about that either.)
The reason most people who write what you might call speculative fiction won't find a place on my list though is cause I've already got Patrick Lee and Jeff Somers, and those guys keep me pretty damn busy. Fortunately Brooks Sherman likes that kind of writing too, and he's got more room on his list than I do.