Monday, October 29, 2007

Looking for...Multi-Cultural Fiction, Manga, Horror & More!

I've been working through the pile of paper on my desk and found some notes about what we're looking for that haven't quite made it to this blog or our What We Want page. So here are the loose ends...

I'd love to find some great Multi-cultural Fiction in the following areas:

  • African-American fiction
  • Native-American fiction
  • International fiction (as in fiction in translation; though it must already be translated or have translated samples available).

I'm also looking for...

  • Manga
  • Anime
  • Graphic novels

Keep in mind that most of the successful manga and anime out there are tie-ins to other media properties, or are imports. There's not a lot of material getting published by the mainstream publishers for the first time. That said, if you think you have something, I'd like to be queried. If you've been publishing already, say as a comic book but now you want to do a graphic novel, sales figures and reviews of that previously published material are very important.

Last, but not least, I think it's safe to say that the market for...

  • Horror

...is back. With Saw IV about to come out, clearly there's a movie audience. Do I think the book audience is as large? No. But a really well written horror novel will always get readers' attention. I think the best horror has a strong psychological element. I love Supernatural on TV and I'm sure the novels do just fine, but when I'm thinking horror, that's not quite what I have in mind. I'm thinking bigger, meatier stories, with layers of plot and very, very strong characterizations.

I think that may actually wrap up the entire list of what I'm looking for. I've tried to give a good deal of detail over the many, many blog entries and on my What We Want page so that authors can really get a sense of whether or not what they have is what I want. And I'll continue to periodically review Already I've seen a number of queries that are of real interest. But I've also seen a number from folks that are trying to push a square peg into round hole. Don't presume that because I'm looking for one thing, I must by extension be looking for something else. Don't extrapolate beyond the actual areas I've described in my blogs and What We Want page. For example, when I posted that I wanted Military Nonfiction—and before I posted anything about fiction—someone queried me about a military novel. If I'm looking for something in a nonfiction area, that doesn't immediately mean I want the fiction equivalent.

Further, let's talk for a second about "creative nonfiction." I have another word for this: "fiction." "Creative nonfiction" is an oxymoron, I think. Though I'm sure every memoirist or author of an autobiography has employed a bit of the creative nonfiction process, I never want it to be so much that it crosses the line between verifiable and outright fiction. The Perfect Storm may have been a best-seller. It may have been a great movie. But in the end, it was 90% a novel and I don't know that it should have been on the nonfiction list. The boat went out. The boat never came back. There were no survivors. So there is no way to know what happened on the boat. So everything in the book and the movie that is set on the boat is fiction. Had the book come to me as an agent, I probably would have raised that point. It may have been great, but I'm not sure I'd have had the chutzpah to sell it as nonfiction. I'd probably have put in a disclaimer somewhere along the line.

So, if you are "making it up," in the James Frey tradition, please don't. He was writing "creative nonfiction," and we all know how well that turned out.

Z

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