Thursday, October 25, 2007

Q&A Thursday

It's been a few weeks since any of us had time for a good ol' Q&A Thursday, due to traveling and assorted other agenting duties, so I thought I'd pop on over and find out if any of you have some burning questions saved up. I think most everyone knows the drill by now, but for any new readers, here's how it works. If you have a question for me about publishing, agenting, or anything industry related, post it on this thread in the comments. I will come by from time to time as the day progresses and answer questions, but only the first 5, so keep an eye on the thread. If you don't get your question in today, there will be more Q&A Thursdays coming up in the weeks to come, so keep an eye out and you'll get a chance then.

So? Let them fly. What does everyone want to know?



Blogger Mike said...

My novel ends in tragedy. Can I call it a Romance? Or is there a sub-category in Women's fiction? Is Romeo and Juliet a Romance? Thank you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 2:28:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Knight Agency represents a number of wonderful RS/romantic mysteries. Do you represent straight mysteries (with romantic elements)?


:) Liz

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 3:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Mike,

Good question. There are two kinds of romance when it comes to talking about fiction: the genre, and the plot description. When we talk about the romance genre, we mean novels that are shelved specifically in the romance aisle of your bookstore, and where the romantic relationship itself is the point of the story. Boy meets girl, loses girl or jumps hurdles or what have you, boy marries girl. There are very few novels in the romance genre that stray far from this basic structure, and a happy ending is pretty much guaranteed. That's part of the appeal to the readers who love these books.

Now, romance as part of the plot is a completely different thing. Many, many novels include a romantic relationship, yet are not shelved in the romance aisle because there is far more to the book than just that relationship. These books sometimes include broader adventures or journeys, can cover longer time periods, the protagonist might have multiple relationships, and endings aren't always all hearts and flowers. Women's fiction is typically about a woman's journey, whether that is physical, spiritual, emotional, etc., and while it might include a romance, the book is far more about the woman than it is about her relationship. Romeo and Juliet is romantic, but it is not a romance in the sense that a romance novel is, because it's about the tragedy of these two young people caught up in the age old feud of their families, and how people can destroy lives by allowing petty bickering to keep them from seeing the humanity in others. Shakespeare himself called it The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, and had he written a novel instead of a play, it would have been shelved under literature and fiction, not under romance.

Hope this helps!


Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 3:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Liz,

I'm afraid we don't really represent straight up mysteries, as it's not a genre any of us really read and we believe it's important to keep up with the current market in anything we represent. That said, one of our existing clients will occasionally write something that falls more in the mystery genre, and in that case we certainly will represent that for them. But they're not something we actively seek out through submissions at this time. Sorry.


Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 3:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zany Mom said...

I tend to write character-driven stories about love and loss, friendship and trust, and budding romance, with a suspense element thrown in.

These are not true romantic suspense novels in that the focus is on finding the bad guy, but on the characters affected by him (or her, as the case may be).

Cops are usually involved, but they are not the protagonists and their sleuthing occurs 'off camera.'

How would this be classified? Is there a market for novels like these?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 3:39:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about standard manuscript format for short story submissions to magazines. Are agents into the same things when they ask for partials or manuscripts? Courier font, double spaced, five space tabs but no blank lines between paragraphs? What are the differences for an entire novel - and does each agent or agencies have their own preferred format to some extent, as magazine editors seem to?

David Weisman

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 4:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi Zany Mom,

What you're talking about sounds like it might fall into commercial women's fiction if the stress is more on the suspense side and the effect on the characters than on the romantic aspects of the story. It's difficult to judge without reading the story, and sometimes in that case it's better not to actually label your work because an agent might have their own ideas as to what to call the category once they've taken a look. You might pitch it as romantic suspense, or just women's fiction with elements of romance and suspense.


Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 5:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hi David,

Standard format for all written submissions, whether it's chapters or a full manuscript, is double spaced, first line indented, no extra return between paragraphs, using a mid-sized, legible font such as Courier or Times New Roman. You can get more details in the articles included in Writer's Market or other guide books to publishing. Each editor or agent has their personal preference, it's true, but if you follow these general guidelines and provide a clean, proofread submission, you'll make all of them pretty happy.


Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 5:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the 2-3 most interesting tidbits/lessons learned from your most recent writing conference?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 5:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nephele Tempest said...

Hey Shelley,

Hmmm, interesting. Honestly, I don't tend to learn all that much at conferences, since I'm the one who generally is handing out information. However, I hung out with a few editors I'd yet to meet in person and it was lovely speaking with them and hearing a bit about what sorts of books they're currently publishing that have them excited, as well as what they're looking for going forward. Plus I got a bit of industry gossip from the agents who were attending, but my lips are sealed on that. ;-) But it was a fun conference, with a huge range of writers attending, and I had a lovely time. I'd definitely attend again in the future.

Well folks, that's it for today. If you have questions and didn't get a chance to post, please hold on to them for the next Q&A Thursday, and we'll be glad to answer them then.


Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 6:31:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous JustABand said...

to Mike...

I personally don't think R&J is really a romance. It's more of a tragedy or even a tragicomedy.

- JustABand

Friday, October 26, 2007 at 8:57:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home