Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Looking For A Few Good Men

STATUS: I’m actually leaving the office before 6 pm. I know. I’m stunned too.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BLACK by Pearl Jam

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been interviewing for a new assistant. We are doing our final second round interview next week and then hopefully the new person will start. Sara and I can hardly wait I have to say. We are really missing having a right hand to help with the workload.

During one of the interviews, an applicant asked a great question. She asked if we had anything against male authors as we hardly had any on our list.

In looking at all our sales, the question is not really a surprise but the answer is that we would love to find a few good men to add to our client list. So what’s the deal?

I have a couple of hypotheses:

1. Overwhelmingly, the majority of our query letters are from women. Statistically speaking, there aren’t as many male writers out there looking for rep.

2. We don’t rep thrillers. A lot of male authors write in that genre so right there that reduces the number of inquiries we get from men.

3. A lot of the inquiries we get from male writers tend to be for literary fiction. My tastes really lean commercial in this realm. I’m more of a Jonathan Safran Foer kind of gal than an Arthur Phillips. And let me tell you, the Jonathan-type writers are hard to find and chances are my agency is not high on the radar (although I do hope Jamie’s HOTEL changes that perception some). I can make a book hit the NYT list folks.

4. Women read more and buy more books. This is why we tend to rep a lot of women’s fic and romance. We gotta pay the bills and genre writers tend to do more than one novel a year and it’s an easier sell. Imprints are always looking to fill slots in romance.

5. For whatever reason, our queries from guys in the field of YA and MG fiction is slim. Where are you? We are gamely waiting.

6. We do get a lot of fantasy queries from male writers. I’ve had some stuff come close (as in I worked with the writer on revisions etc. but so far the final connection hasn’t happened).

I have a theory that women writers tend to participate in critique groups more than male writers and subsequently, a lot of those submits aren’t as polished when the writer is first querying. This is totally a guess on my part and I could be wrong.

I probably shouldn’t say this but if you are a guy and your query is solid, chances are really good we are asking for sample pages.

We want you on our client list. Jamie Ford is lonely.