Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Q&A with Michelle Grajkowksi of Three Seas Literary Agency

See below for market insight from Michelle Grajkowski. This was the only question submitted for her this week. Here's your chance to pick the brain of an agent! Send those questions in (either by posting a comment to the blog or emailing me at stephanie@stephanierowe.com with Ask an Agent in the subject).

Question:
Is there an area of romance you think will make a reemergence in the next year or so? I've heard faint rumblings that westerns might be on the upswing? What about other American-set historicals? Any types of contemporaries you don't think are being published now that might find a good size audience in the future?

Answer:
Today's market is very exciting. Publishers are ready to break the mold a bit to find the next big thing. Paranormals, erotica and female focused fantasy are hot, hot, hot right now, and so are light contemporary romances. I've seen a huge flux in submissions in these areas, and they are all selling well.

That being said, I've been approached by many editors who are looking for something different. Something outside of the chick lit and vampire trends. They want fresh, exciting and unique stories. Specifically, they want to go back to the basics. One house in particular asked me to find straight, traditional contemporary romances. Catherine Anderson has done a phenomenal job opening that market back up. Her books take reader straight to the backbone of true romance.

Another area that I've seen a large demand for is straight women's fiction. Houses like Center Street and NAL's Accent line are paving the way for wonderful mainstream women's fiction. Also, Harlequin's NEXT line is also going to be a driving force in the women's fiction market. The stories can be funny or kleenex grabbers. The only requirements - strong, intense characterization and multi-layered plots.

The historical market is also a wonderful place to be. With so much of the focus turning to contemporary topics, it may appear that historicals are on the downward turn. That is not the case. Historical romance is the backbone to many publishing programs. Houses are still looking to acquire strong stories. While the Western romance is a hard sell, there are publishers who do them well.

The key to breaking into the historical market is to write fresh stories. I've heard from a handful of publishers that they are open to time periods other than just Medieval and Regency England, so it's a good time to approach them with American set historicals. Personally, I LOVE American set historicals, so I'm always on the lookout for a great read.

In all, the key to success in any genre today is to capitalize on unique plotlines and amazing relationships. As an agent, I'm always looking for that next great voice.

For more info on Michelle, check out www.threeseaslit.com.

2 Comments:

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Hi, Michelle! --waving-- Great answers. Glad to hear the American-set historicals still have a market. I love to read them.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Stephanie Feagan said...

Wow, Michelle! Thanks for the great insights into the current market. It seems I'm always behind the curve on trends. Day late and a dollar short. Okay, more like a week late and a hundred bucks short. I'm thrilled to know they're interested in sraight romance again. Yeah, I love all the mutations and variations available, but there's not really anything like a straight romance.

Thanks again, and Steph, as always - you rock!

Stef

 

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