Sunday, May 24, 2009

What I'm looking for-updated!

About two weeks ago, I asked for your help on writing a description of what I'm looking for. I needed it for an event on the 20th and again for the BEA Pitch Slam on the 27th.

You rose to the occasion!

Many of you offered up comments on the blog post, and more offered up direct emails. A lot of them were hysterically funny and most of them were pretty darn accurate.

I couldn't choose just one, so I figured I'd triangulate on the target and use three. Here they are in no particular order:

I’m interested in all kinds of crime novels.

I look for vivid writing, brisk pace, an element of humor -sardonic or otherwise, and characters who surprise me.

In non-fiction I lean toward history, science, biography, death penalty issues, modern and contemporary art; contemporary music.

But honestly, query me on anything. I’d rather see something and say no, than miss something fabulous. (contributed by Dylan)

In fiction I specialize in mysteries and thrillers, but am also looking for: off-beat stories, cowgirl lit, and anything with a compelling plot. I’m a sucker for flawed heroes. In non-fiction I like exposes of the criminal justice system and memoirs about vanishing ways of life. All of the above are just preferences, not iron-clad rules. What I am looking for, above all, is a story I can’t put down. (contributed by Caroline)

I want to see strong, well-crafted stories that take me to a darker, grittier place. If it's got crime, I'll see it, fiction or non. I don't walk the well travelled road, so show me the other path, be it quirky or just downright strange. I also want to see a fabulous, literary love story. They never go out of style. (last paragraph of the comment contributed by Jim)

So, if yours was selected I owe you a prize! Of course it's a book but I have several here and you'll get to choose! Email me and we'll talk.

And thanks to all of you who took up the challenge! It was really interesting to read what you wrote!!


Omi said...

I started reading/following this blog 'just because you're an agent' and while I'm not to the querying point in any of my novels at the moment, this post was insanely helpful to me. I know what you accept now! And a broad spectrum, thanks to the wonderful people who helped you out. The good news is I think I've got an original, surprising, 'off the beaten path' crime/suspense novel in the works, and you've just made it to the top of my 'will query when done' list for that particular novel. Also, I don't believe I've commented here before, and I just wanted to slip in a thank-you for all the informative things you say (like do not reply to rejections that state 'please do not reply', which I may have fallen into just to be a Big Girl and accept the rejection, while still having missed the 'do not reply' part because I'm in such shock about the rejection itself.)

I absolutely adore your blog, and it's one I check every day. I look forward to querying you in the next year and half/two years.

Steve Stubbs said...

If you like non—fiction about vanishing ways of life, please permit me to recommend Lane’s MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE MODERN EGYPTIANS, about the vanishing ways of Egypt as they give way to modern Western influences. It made me want to hire an airplane or a boat or thumb a ride or something and go to Egypt and see the place he described while I still could. Then I looked at the publication date.

The book was published in 1836. The vanishing way of life he described has already vanished. That is a pity, of course, but it made me glad he wrote the book. If he had not, the memory would have vanished right along with the reality.

It is not for everybody, but if you like that sort of thing, it is an excellent read. I got my copy from the library, but you can download it for free from:

McKoala said...

Congrats to the winners! Great versions, all of them.

(a book from Janet's collection! oh woe! oh jealousy!)