The Write Direction

With the RWA Nationals looming on the horizon and my current project targeted for Loose Id coming to a close (finally) I’ve been agonizing over what I should start next. Here’s the issue; I have a pitch appointment with my dream agent in five weeks time and I’m making the play for New York. Any romance author with stars in her eyes knows what that means. Next year I want to see a shiny, sexy cover exploiting my name tucked in the shelves somewhere between Gena Showalter and Julia Quinn. Or maybe Susan Mallory.

And therein lays the problem: I’m antsy in my pantsy about what sub-genre I should strike for.

I write paranormal/urban fantasy for Loose Id. It’s comfortable and popular. But should I foray out in familiar territory? Especially since paranormal has had a long run with popularity which tends to equal total market saturation. In which case I not only need to have to have crazy mad skills but impossible luck and a premise that would rock the most jaded reader.

Then there’s historical romance. I used historical to cut my teeth on when I was first lured into reading romance so I holds a special place for me. And it’s not too far of a leap from paranormal…alpha males, enterprising females and a world that takes us far from home. Not to mention my Ideas folder is overflowing with them.

Yet, word on the street is that many publishers are trolling for good contemporaries. You know…a heroine you can identify with and a hero that could live next door. And the genre is wide open – maybe a little too wide open. It begs the question: do I go more Silhouette Desire-ish with secret babies and Cinderella-esque stories or more toward the world weary warrior come back home to reconnect with his roots and maybe his high school sweetheart?

Another factor was recently pointed out to me by an astute writer and fellow blogger, Suzanne Rock. She warned that whichever sub-genre I chose I may find myself married to it for a while to help create a solid readership. Yikes! It’s enough to make a writer commitment shy and project hopping just makes the normally arduous climb to mass market publishing that much harder and longer.

So at this fork in the road to publication, what is the “write” direction to take?

7 Responses to “The Write Direction”
  1. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hey Mandy!

    I’m so excited for you and nationals. I’m really rooting for you to make a big splash with your dream agent!

    I think I would add one more piece of advice. Since you are specifically targeting an agent, take a look at what that person represents. I’d hate for you to write a light-hearted contemporary only to find that the agent hates contemporaries – or light-hearted romance.

    You are building a readership with urban fantasy in ebooks, so my knee-jerk reaction would be for you to stay there so that all of your readers could transfer, but then I got to thinking…You’re still relatively “new” and it sounds to me like you want to write something different. A lot of times readers don’t transfer, and writing in 2 different genres (UF for ebooks and another for print) could keep your writing fresh. Since you have a basket full of historical ideas maybe something like that?

    FWIW – I went to Barnes and Noble this weekend looking for good old fashioned historicals to give to my mom for her birthday. They were hard to find. Everything was either slanted toward erotic or paranormal. I’ve heard rumors that some publishers are looking for straight historical writers…

    Great post – and good luck with whatever genre you choose!

  2. Barbara says:

    Confession: Trying to be analytical about what to write makes me lightheaded. I simply can’t go there. Passion guides me in everythng I do. My hope is that passion for what I’m writing will take it to publication.

    Now, does that mean I’m gonna let my muse lead me into creating a story about a young angst ridden girl torn between her love of a vampire and a werewolf? Ha. Probably not. I do have at least one tiny little practical bone in my body. (I think it’s pinkie sized:P)

  3. Amanda Vyne says:

    Suzanne – I had considered the agent tone angle….and decided when I decide what to write I would just let my personal muse drive it. If it’s not my dream agent’s style then I move on to a better fit. Historical is the favored arena because I have a degree in history….lol.

    Barbara – Being analytical IS making me lightheaded.

  4. Suzanne Rock says:

    LOL Mandy and Barbara. I can’t help it. I’m analytical. I saw Deidre Knight say on Twitter today that she is looking for a good historical romance. I’ve heard from at least two other sources that there is a shortage of historical manuscripts right now. I would go that route if I were you.

    Or maybe that’s just because I want to read a good historical. Hey – if you need a beta reader… 😉

  5. Amanda Vyne says:

    I have a good series with a firm historical foundation and just a tiny hint of paranormal and legend.

    The agony of the choice….sheesh.

  6. Brandi says:

    I am not a writer as you well know M… but I think you would be fabulous with historical stories. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of historical romance books… I miss reading those! I hope to see some of those stories that you talked about so much when we were in Jr high & high school… I could sit for hours and listen to your story ideas… and that was before you started writing true romance style! lol
    Whatever you decide, I know you will do it “write”!!

  7. I love historicals. Always have. I think for the same reasons I love paranormals. Escape from the real world;)

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