18
Apr
My novel's contemporary, but it's got a heavy technological slant - think Doctorow's Little Brother but not five minutes in the future, and featuring a female protag interested in STEM fields despite the current rampant sexist nonsense therein, instead of a dude. Is that something that is an automatic turn-off -- math-sci-interested tech-savvy female protags in contemporary but technologically-based plotlines? I've seen similar titles featuring male protags, but never female.
— Anonymous

No that sounds really cool to me.

18
Apr
Dystopians are a hard sell. I wrote one... while working to subvert or avoid every YA dyst trope I could think of. My heroine is curvaceous. She's a POC. She's blind. Her love interest is deaf. There is no love triangle, no apocalypse, no government looking to a 17-year-old to save the world. There is no world saving, either. The stakes are significantly more personal. Anyway, should I include a paragraph in my query that says "I know dystopias are a hard sell, but...?" Is it spec-fic, not dyst?
— Anonymous

I would try to pitch it as something other than dystopian. If there’s no world to save or no government aspect, just call it futuristic. It’s still a tough sell but maybe I’ll keep reading about it :)

18
Apr

It’s that time again—sharing our weekend reads. Everyone is pretty varied this week, from magazines to manuscripts, new releases to books from the past few years. So here is who is reading what:

Pouya is reading CREATIVITY, INC. by Pixar and Disney’s president Ed Catmull.

Danielle is reading the new release LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira, which she keeps having to remind herself isn’t called LOVE LETTERS FROM THE DEAD (that’d be creepy).

Jo and Jackie have manuscript-filled weekend reading to keep them busy.

Jess is reading IF I STAY by Gayle Forman for the first time, because she wants to sob at the book the same way she sobbed at the trailer.

Dave is reading his usual magazines, Sports Illustrated and Popular Science.

Jaida is reading OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys for her book club.

Kathleen is reading Jennifer Hudson’s I GOT THIS, while hosting family for the holiday weekend.

Suzie is reading, and loving, THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot.

Happy Friday!

17
Apr
When do you think the market for science fiction will get better? I have two novel ideas swirling in my head, (one urban-fantasy, one science fiction) and I have no idea what to do. One of my writer friends is devastated that no agent will bite her ms (they tell her it's a "hard sell") and I really don't want to be in that boat when querying like six months down the road. Thanks
— Anonymous

Unfortunately I can’t predict the future. The market is crowded. Everything is a hard sell. Your book as to be amazing. 

The good news is, trends change and even if you query and don’t get any bites now, this isn’t a race. There’s no rush. You have time. Write something else. Come back to this ms later.

17
Apr
Once you send out your first 'batch' of queries, how long should one wait before sending out more? Most agents these days do the whole 'no response means no,' so it makes it hard to know for sure.
— Anonymous

There’s no set timeline. I would say wait a few weeks and see if you get requests (2 weeks should do it). If you don’t, revise your query and send out some more. Wait two weeks, then re-evaluate where you are.

17
Apr
In my novel, the initial stakes change dramatically within the first 50 pages because of third-party meddling. In a query, should I just present the initial stakes,which gives a slightly different impression of the direction, or explain how the stakes change, which is long and arduous? (It's rather confusing to only present the later situation.) Thanks~
— Anonymous

Find books out there similar to yours and read the back of the book. You probably want to present the first problem and use the stake change as the hook and makes your reader go “And then what?”

For instance, in The Wizard of Oz, the main problem at first is that Dorothy needs to get home. The stakes at first are where is she and how does she get home. It’s only after the Wicked Witch shows up and is like “You killed my sister!” that the stakes change. Because now she needs to get home—AND STAY ALIVE.

See what I did there?

17
Apr
Hi! I'm having a bit of trouble finding my novel's genre. It's set in a fictional medieval world, but has no elements of fantasy. It dabs in politics, but isn't dystopian. It also has traces of war and mystery. The closest I can think of is historical fiction, but in an imaginary timeline instead of real-world history. Any ideas?
— Anonymous

Where would it be on a shelf?

Who would read it?

Think of your audience. Would fans of Game of Thrones (hopefully) like it? If so, it’s fantasy. Or would it appeal to (hopefully) fans of Philippa Gregory? Then it’s historical. 

My feeling based on what you said is that it’s fantasy. It’s a made up world. That’s fantasy even if there’s no magic. 

17
Apr
How are you with mixed-media for comps? (No pun intended), I've heard it both ways.
— Anonymous

I’m not sure what you mean by mixed-media. If you comp a show or a movie that I’ve heard of I’m fine with that. If you comp a video game or an app or something I will most likely have no idea what you’re talking about—which isn’t helpful to your purposes.

17
Apr
Hey! I started a WIP, that I want to be contemporary, but realize that it will be slightly apocolyptic. It is not science-fiction (nothing supernatural going on, like in nature. Think the tv show REVOLUTION and LIFE AS WE KNEW IT but in present day). But I'm scared I'm going to fall into the trap of a genre that is a hard sell. I'm asking because I have other ideas (one a realistic contemp remiscent of SHE"S THE MAN) and I'm wondering if it would be better to work on that instead. Thannks.
— Anonymous

So truthfully Revolution says futuristic and dystopian to me and makes me go “meh”. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it though. I just wouldn’t use that show as a pitch (but maybe that’s because I wasn’t a fan?). Write whatever you fell most passionate about. When you finish and query, write the other one.