Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Literary fiction' the kiss of death for agents and publishers?

'Lit-Fic? Oh no!' my prospective agent groaned, 'Don't tell me you see your book as Lit-fic?  And 'discontinuous narrative? Pleeeeeeeeeaaaase.'  Well, that was how she told me 'thanks, but no thanks' and brushed me off her shoulder like a speck that had missed the 'Head'n'Shoulders' treatment.

It seems, these days, that YA is selling.  But all that really means is that it was picked up a year or so ago.  That market is saturated.  Who are the readers of quality books?  I have noticed so many 'non-books' being picked up and adopted as the new darlings of the scene that the definition of something popular eludes me.  Women still outnumber men, YA readerships are burgeoning - for now, at least.  But what if you are not a Harlequin/YA/Mills & Boon style of writer?  Where does a book fit?

I have combed through the massive tomes (both in print and at of agent/publisher listings and came to the conclusion that there are really very few active or independent publishing houses.  The small ones are extremely cautious as they can't afford to lose money and the majors are extremely cautious because their shareholders will cane them for losing money.

My book, 'Calandra's Spring', (blatant plug: available at is a solo effort - no agents, no publishing house.  It is selling at a rate of molasses in mid-winter.  Short of aping 'Coupon Suzy' and buying some network commercial time, I don't know what else I can do.  I have written to many people to ask them to review the book.  The silence is deafening.

I am sure that a lot of you bloggers have great ideas on how to start that viral sweep.  Come on!  Bernie Madoff's Ponzi schemes took off so darn fast and the viral spread of the pictures of that handsome marathon guy should be our model for publicising our books.  Can we help each other?  Perhaps a Project Greenlight for books exists?  Or for publicity for new books?


  1. It can be tough starting out with the first book. It took me a couple years before I started getting reviews and people started talking about it. Good luck to you!

    Uh oh. I see your Word Verification (WV) is still on. I'm on a mission to rid the world of this unnecessary evil frustration! Please stop by my blog and select the How To Turn Off Your Word Verification tab and help make the world a better place one blog at a time.

  2. OK, I'll try again. Darn Firefox doesn't seem to like this blog and I wrote a nice answer and then got to the word verification page - ulp. Now I see what you mean! Re the book, did you find book fairs help? Is it important to be selling a solid book not just digital? I would be interested in feedback as to what your most successful selling channels turn out to be! I don't have an isbn yet as this is too hard to arrange from Mexico. But will do that when we get to LA.
    Thanks for your comment, cheers, Wendy