Monday, October 08, 2007

What We Represent

Despite the efforts we make to let people into the BookEnds world through our Web site and this blog, there seems to be some confusion as to what exactly we represent. To help clear things up we’ve made an even more detailed list of some of our specific interests. While reading, please note the date it was written. If you’re buzzing through the archives and come across this in 2009 you might want to try to find a newer post (or remind us to do one). As we change and the market changes so do our interests, so what we are actively seeking today we might not be actively seeking tomorrow.


Jessica:

I think that I’m most known for representing erotic romance, romance, and cozy mysteries. However, I have a number of interests outside of those three areas and a number of genres I’m open to submissions on.

Obviously I love romance of all kinds—erotic, historical, contemporary, paranormal, etc., so to give you perspective on what I’m looking for in this genre it’s probably easiest to start by telling you what I’m not looking for. I’m not actively seeking inspirational romance or chick lit. Why? I like the steaminess of the erotic romance and haven’t found much inspirational that I’ve been, well, inspired by. As for chick lit, it’s a market thing. Chick lit has taken such a dive in the market lately that you dare not even hint that your book might be called chick lit. It’s a tough sell. The rest is open. I love steamy and erotic, but it’s certainly not required. I have as many authors writing erotic romance as I have authors who aren’t. I like humor and I like more serious books. I would love to add some really strong and scary romantic suspense to my list, and when looking at paranormal I have been gravitating toward work that leans to fantasy. I’ve also noticed an upswing in the historical market and I’m very excited about that.

As many of you know, BookEnds has an incredibly strong cozy mystery list. A market that many strangely say is declining. Obviously we haven’t been too affected by this rumor. While I’m always looking for a new cozy mystery with a really exciting and different hook (yet one that would still appeal to that audience), I’m most actively looking for suspense and thrillers—books that make my heart race and my eyes widen with excitement. When I'm talking with editors and other agents, most agree this is one of the toughest things to find. A suspense or thriller from a new author that has a different enough hook to catch the eyes of readers and keep them hanging on the edge of their seats. I would love to find a fresh new voice that could be compared to Karin Slaughter, Lisa Jackson, or Barry Eisler.

Women’s fiction is probably one of the harder genres for me to break down. What do I look for in women’s fiction? I think it’s the relationship. I love Elizabeth Berg, and Jennifer Wiener for me has been hit and miss (I did like Good in Bed, but not In Her Shoes). I like characters who are obviously flawed but who we can all relate to. I love stories about friendship and women who break out of a mold. Either way I want to see the heroine grow and change throughout the book.

For those writing nonfiction the key is platform, platform, platform. If you want to write a self-help book (not narrative nonfiction, not usually my thing) you need to be not just an expert in the field, but one of the top experts. If you’re not, then you need to make sure that the direction and voice of your book stands out from what is always a very crowded market. Cynthia Shapiro did that in her book Corporate Confidential. Cynthia had the expertise, but was not a nationally recognized expert when I took her on. She had, however, written a book, in a voice that made her stand out from the pack. And guess what? Now she’s a nationally recognized expert and an international bestseller with book number two coming in 2008. When looking for nonfiction I gravitate toward parenting books, if you can find a subject that hasn’t been done yet; career books that present a new and unique perspective; and any book targeting entrepreneurs and women (again, a unique perspective is essential). I would also love to take on a sex or health expert with exciting and different ideas.

And as for YA. I don’t represent it. I believe I’ve gotten on some YA lists so there’s obvious confusion, but it isn’t something I’m actively looking for at this time.


Jacky:

I am looking for fiction with a strong hook and voice, including mysteries of all kinds, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, thrillers. A strong hook is one in which the plot covers something unusual and engaging to the reader, or even something familiar but with a wealth of new information that engages the reader beyond a story with no particular angle or hook. I am open to seeing young adult fiction that is edgy, hip, or topical. I haven’t represented any Christian fiction, science fiction, and spiritual fiction. I look for highly commercial books that will appeal to a wide market. I prefer a brief email query to see if I’d like to take a look at more. I’m attracted to fiction on the dark side; however, I represent a number of cozy mystery writers whose stories are light and often humorous. In the end it comes down to the originality and appeal of the hook, and the quality of the writing. Page-turning fiction is always welcome.

In nonfiction I am looking for health and wellness, business, psychology, parenting, career, finance, self-help. The reality of today’s publishing market requires that nonfiction authors have a strong author platform of expertise and media or audience exposure before their book will be seriously considered by a publisher. A fresh perspective and ground-breaking research are certainly elements that get a proposal immediate attention.

In addition, I look for authors who are savvy about the publishing world and eager to learn. Membership in writing groups and professional organizations shows a desire to connect with a wider publishing community. Contest wins and placements are also helpful. Attendance at writers’ conferences is a wonderful way to learn more about the industry, so is reading blogs, and connecting with other writers. I am happy to answer brief emailed queries at any time.


Kim:


I represent a wide range of genres, including westerns, romance, women’s fiction, crime novels, cozy mysteries, true crime, and pop culture. However, the areas in which I’m currently interested in expanding are women’s fiction and romance.

I gravitate toward the more serious women’s fiction in the vein of Jodi Piccoult. Books that are both relationship- and issue-driven. If you read my blog piece a while back, you’ll remember that I love a good cry, so don’t be worried about depressing me. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate humor as well, but I prefer fun, quirky characters that are part of a larger, deeper story. I’m more a Steel Magnolias kind of girl than a Sex & the City type. I want real problems and obstacles that every woman can relate to. And if it’s Southern, all the better. I’d love to see more great Southern fiction.

I’m also in the mood for great romance. Lately, I’m hungry for more terrific historicals. I like a strong historical voice that reads authentically, but doesn’t necessarily let the period trappings get in the way of a really good story. Nothing epic, but nothing overly light, please. My non-client favorites at the moment are Samantha James and Elizabeth Hoyt. I’d love to find a great, funny contemporary romance author, but I tend to be a tough audience. Few authors can get a good chuckle out of me, but Rachel Gibson is one of them.

I, too, would love to find a great romantic suspense author. I love Lisa Jackson and Sandra Brown. I think the “ultimate” book for me would be a romantic suspense that’s reminiscent of those old gothics I loved by Phyllis Whitney, but modern enough to succeed in today’s market. Lisa Jackson’s If She Only Knew and Sandra Brown’s Envy accomplished that for me. I think it comes down to a really damaged, dark hero. I eat those up!

Reactions: