Friday, December 4, 2009

Single-Minded Focus

As I hinted in the comment thread of the previous post, I have a hot query lead which means I need to finish this revision of Forging a Legend pretty close to now. So I have suspended blogging at Debuts & Reviews for the weekend in the hopes to get the most done possible.

I have a question for you. What is "literary" fiction? I'm trying to determine if Forging a Legend qualifies. Justin Allen's Slaves of the Shinar is often spoken of as "literary" and I'm thinking that the tone of his novel isn't all that different from mine. However, I'm not sure I want to qualify Forging a Legend as literary if it holds the novel up to a standard that will make it even more difficult to get published.

So I'll leave you with that question while I get my nose back in my book. I'd love to hear what you think.

8 comments:

  1. Tia - Lit fiction is such a hard sell, I'd probably call yours "upmarket" instead. I just saw Kimberly Cameron classify that as the sweet spot between commercial (genre) and literary. She offered The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveler's Wife as upmarket examples. I've also heard Chris Bojalian and Jodi Picoult put there.

    I think in general Lit Fic is more about language than plot and character. So if you have a strong plot, I'd go with the "upmarket commercial" tag.

    Hope that helps! Congrats on the lead!

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  2. Tia, to quote one of my favorite musicals:

    Let others make that decision.
    They usually do.
    (Sunday in the Park with George, by Stephen Sondheim)

    If it has magic, submit it to fantasy editors. If you think it has the right tone, submit it to upscale or literary editors as well. When you find out which editor accepts it, you'll know where to tell us to look in the bookstores. Before then, such classifications really don't matter. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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  3. Hm. Personally, I would leave the categorizing to whatever agent you end up with. An agent knows the market better and can make a more informed decision about whether to categorize this as literary or not. Since you have an agent lead (congrats, by the way), I'm assuming that this agent has at least some knowledge of your book already, so it might not hurt to explain that it has a bit of a literary feel like The Slaves of Shinar. But having read it, I would say that it's first and foremost a fantasy novel, and even if it does have a more literary feel, the bulk of your readers will probably still be fantasy readers. So I would cater to that and move on from there. Hope that helps!

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  4. I'm not sure what the agent knows, other than that I run Debuts & Reviews. But that is good advice. It is definitely fantasy and belongs on the fantasy shelves. I just wondered if it would be puffery to call it literary fantasy.

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  5. An agent would probably know what to call it. If you get one, let them earn their commission. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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  6. It was the pitch TO the agent that I was talking about. I don't have one yet. I'll just call it a fantasy as I always have and let it speak for itself. Thanks for everyone's input!

    The revision is going well - almost at 30,000 words!

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  7. I think that's best. If you're wondering about any classifications, leave them out of a pitch to an agent. Stick to the stuff you're sure of, like "this has magic, so it's fantasy." {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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