Monday, March 02, 2009

Books I'm Looking For Now

Ok, I promised this post last week and then never got a chance to write it--or it might have been the week before that--but here we are in March and it's time to get rolling with this. Numbered list time! Remember, this is my current dream wish list of books that people will send me to represent. That does not rule out books that are not covered by this description.

  1. NOT the next TWILIGHT. I don't care how popular TWILIGHT is, I don't like it. If your book is the next TWILIGHT, I am not the right agent for you. There, we got that out of the way.
  2. I want the next John Green. By which I mean, I want funny, poignant books about intelligent teenagers. Mainstream YA novels, obviously. But I want to read books about teenagers like me, in high school. I don't want to read about the always popular bitchy sluts, because you know what? I wasn't a popular bitchy slut, and that type of story never has and never will appeal to me as a reader. I know there's a market out there for it, but I am not the right agent for the Gossip Girls series, unless *your* Gossip Girls series is written so well that I fall instantly in love with your writing. (Never say never.)
  3. I want an epic fantasy novel that thinks outside the box. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most obvious one is not to do a direct rip-off of Robert Jordan or George R. R. Martin. You don't need an innocent farmboy saving the world to have a wonderful epic fantasy novel. Epic fantasies can have different ideas and yet be incredibly good. I want you to write me one that's *different*. One recent epic fantasy that I adored was THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss, which has plenty of standard fantasy tropes, but totally twists them on their head, especially with his innovative narrative structure. Stories within stories within stories. I want your epic fantasy novel to completely surprise me and overwhelm me and make me believe in the power of the epic fantasy novel to sweep me out of my everyday world. Can you write me one? =)
  4. I want an urban fantasy. I don't have enough urban fantasies on my list, and I'd like one. Perhaps it would be better to say I want a contemporary fantasy. It doesn't necessarily need vampires or werewolves, because I think those are somewhat played out now. But I would love to see something like WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull. I would love to see a novel that takes contemporary fantasy in a different direction, like the new series my writing friend sold to Tor, which involves a contemporary female blacksmith and magic.
  5. I always will have a soft spot for hard SF, but it's also hard to sell it. Keep sending it though.
  6. I adore anything Regency related. Send me your Regency romance (although not a sweet one, since those don't sell), your Regency YA novel, your Regency fantasy, your Regency mystery... the list could go on. I don't have enough of any of those, and there's always a market.
  7. Speaking of Regency romances--I don't have enough romance, period. I want witty contemporary romances like Jennifer Crusie, who I adore. I want sexy historical romances. I want paranormal romances that make me love the characters and the worldbuilding behind them. I want science fiction romances. Send me your romance novels! (And here is where we cue Jodi groaning over the incoming romance query influx, but really, I don't have enough on my list, and I need more.) The most important thing to remember when sending me your romance novel is that I want there to be a solid plot behind the romance. That's one of the most important things for me, that the novel can stand on its own, even if we remove the sex. Some favorite authors of mine that I have mentioned before: Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Balogh, Jennifer Crusie, Georgette Heyer.
  8. I would love to see a slipstream novel. There are very few out there. I think there could be more. Show me what you've got.
  9. I'm still looking for a great historical fiction novel to fall in love with. Haven't found it yet. Keep sending more.
  10. In general, I love books that are dark. Dark in nature, dark in tone. I adore books that are dark and creepy and good. I also love things that are light and funny. I am eclectic in my reading tastes, as you'll see by clicking on the label for 2009 books.
  11. I don't have a good steampunk novel. I like steampunk. I would like to see a book with steampunk in it.
  12. I am still looking to add more YA novels to my list, as well. See point #2 and also know that I like YA fantasy. I would love to find a female-oriented YA SF novel.
  13. Because this is a baker's dozen list! Let's throw out a random book description, and see if anyone can write it for me: I want a superhero novel--give me your version of Dr. Horrible in book form with your own original villians and superheroes and plot. Be creative. =)

52 comments:

CNU said...

It's interesting that you mentioned Twilight... I just wrote a blog on deviant about the same subject and how fads have taken over the market- then of course crash and burn. (Pirate hat w/ Johnny Depp make-up rings a bell...)

We can all hope for the best...


-C

Nikki Hootman said...

I realize you're going to get a flood of "clarification" comments, but at the risk of being annoying... Are you only looking for genre romance, or would you consider contemporary romance that falls more into general fiction? Although I read your blog regularly, I haven't queried you because I assumed it wasn't something you were looking for. But perhaps it's worth asking? (My novel wouldn't fly in genre romance because it's from the man's POV and neither he or his love interest are physically attractive.)

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Nikki Hootman, that's a hard question to answer. My gut says I am looking for both, because that's what I like to read. My analytical agent mind says that genre romance is what's selling now, so that's what I should be selling.

I would query anyway, if I were you. You never know what I will like, and sometimes something is so good that I'll take it on, even if it's going to be hard to sell.

Jodi Meadows said...

Cool list, yo.

green_knight said...

I want an epic fantasy novel that thinks outside the box. [...] Can you write me one?

I did, but you rejected it ;-)

(Currently working on the rewrite. You shall see it again.)

Oh, and it's also set in a pseudo-regency...

Interesting list, thank you for it.

ryan field said...

As a reader, I wish someone would write a great Sci-fi novel that's a crossover.

Niteowl said...

Could you recommend some YA steampunk novels I could read? Surely there are some?

davegullen said...

Slipstream novel? I'm writing, I'm writing... Give me about 5 months!

A really interesting list.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Niteowl, there are none, as far as I know, except for the Leviathan (sp?) trilogy Scott Westerfeld sold recently.

Tochi said...

Thanks for the list, Jenny. I like how you're very direct about what you're looking for.

I've never queried you before because my novel deals with religious themes.

In the guidelines, you say that you are not interested in 'religious fiction.' Does that mean ANYTHING that mentions or deals with religion, regardless of the genre or plot?

Or is it specifically for books that imitate Da Vinci Code and/or Christian-centric novels?

If you could please clarify that for me, I would really appreciate it.

Heather said...

I love, love, love when agents put out lists of what they're looking for.

That said, I cannot figure out why the agents who say they are looking for books in my genre are the ones who send me form rejections outright, and why the agents who don't even have urban fantasy on their list are requesting partials and fulls!

ahahahaha I've had four partial requests and two full requests (since the beginning of the year), and all of them have been the very last people I thought I'd hear back from.

This business is so unpredictable. I love it!

Nikki Hootman said...

Jenny, thanks for the reply! I'm not quite ready to query yet, but when I am you'll be on my list. :-)

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Tochi, no Christian fiction. No books about Christianity. I am not the right agent for those. Made-up religions are fine. Buddhists that suddenly start killing people in space would be a weird twist on that religion. Etc.

~Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tochi said...

Thanks Jenny.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

~Jamie, hey that still counts as a superhero novel to me. Superheroes, villains, etc. I find the whole genre interesting outside of comics and it's *hot* right now, at least in other media. I think it's going to cross over into books.

Keep writing it. =)

Robert said...

Well, what a great list. My writing fits into a few of these categories (in various projects). I will surely keep this bookmarked. Thank you for doing this to help writers looking to get into the market.

lotusgirl said...

Thanks for the list. It's so helpful to know exactly the sorts of things agents are looking for so I can query accordingly. Mine appears to be within your parameters so I'll send it your direction when I'm through with my edits.

Lisa Wells said...

Jenny,

I sent you a query this morning for my novel Hand Picked. In my excitement to get it to you before you were flooded with romance queries, I managed to transpose Lit Soup to Soup Lit - Argh! Does this qualify me for an automatic rejection?

Lisa

celestialgldfsh said...

Thank you for the wish list! My novel NORMAL is a superhero urban fantasy. Since it's a crossover of two genres you're looking for, that has to bode well. I have a couple more drafts to work through, and then I'll be sending a query your way.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Lisa Wells, it won't auto-reject because of that. =)

Also remember, I'm not just looking for what's on this list. This is just my dream wish list.

Shannyn said...

Hi Jenny - Do you do romantic suspense? I haven't queried because you don't day you do, but you don't say 'no' either.

Thanks for the list.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Shannyn, I am not fond of romantic suspense, especially the kind where there is an ex-FBI/CIA/NSA/cop in a small town who has to rescue a beautiful heroine.

danhowes said...

I just happen to be writing an epic fantasy novel with elements of steam punk and a female protagonist.

sirenecheval said...

In regard to number 12, I have something hot and ready for you. I'll query soon, and I hope you enjoy it!

Dawn said...

Gay fiction?
:)

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Dawn, gay fiction is always welcome, but it is very hard to sell.

s9 said...

I wrote one of those things you say you're interested, but Jodi rejected its query letter. I rewrote the query letter, and now the full is out to another agent (whose exclusive coincidentally expired just today).

Would you like me to send another query?

Aspiring Author said...

This should probably be obvious, or common knowledge, but what are steampunk and slipstream?

rai-ei said...

Niteowl - Don't know if you've heard of it, but Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series is awesome :)

Tatterdemalion said...

As fate would have it, I have recently finished polishing my two epic super-hero novels and was getting ready to put together query letters for representation. They are Chanson Noir and Cobalt City Blues.

And as for Urban Fantasy, I put the final touches on the outline to my novel Ink Calls to Ink. The main characters are fictional characters living as outcasts on the streets of London, and the Steadfast Tin Soldier, Medea, Juliet, Don Quixote, and Judas band together to stop a plague of angels who plan on using King Arthur and Galahad to lead them in a holy war to purify the sins of the world.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Aspiring Author, this is steampunk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

And this is slipstream.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slipstream_(genre)

Rebecca said...

Darn, but this makes me wish I was done with my female-oriented YA scifi novel.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Well, I hope my book falls into one of your acceptable categories because you are getting a query sometime soon. Ha ha.

It's all about a perfect penguin named Jedwardo who is totally in love, and totally loved back, with/by a porcupine named Rella Zonne.

Amanda said...

Sadly, you rejected my #13 three months ago. :) If you find one, I'll probably buy it.

s9 said...

Ah, I see now what I did wrong. I should have pitched it to you as SF. Oh well. Next time.

YvettesGoneFishing said...

I have perused your list of things you're looking for and things you have no interest in. Before I query you on something you don't want, what's your interest in Middle Grade Fantasy/Mystery? I don't see it on either list--wanted or not wanted. Thank you.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

YvettesGoneFishing, I'm not that interested in middle grade, to be honest. I like reading it, but I don't see myself representing a large amount of it. You're welcome to send a query, but your results may be more fruitful with agents who are dedicated to children's literature.

YvettesGoneFishing said...

Thank you very much for your speedy response.

I guess there's no harm in querying you on it then. As long as it won't ruffle your feathers.

I wrote it believing it was a YA. I got about 120 pages into it when I realized it's more an MG.

If you're thoroughly undazzled by the query, that's fair enough. I'm finding relatively few agents that specifically state an interest in MG, and I'm trying to widen the net just a bit.

I'm hoping that agents who express an interest in fantasy and/or mystery, who also handle YA may not be totally averse to being queried on an MG with those genre elements--at least in cases where they don't specifically state 'no middle grade.'

At 180 pages, it may be just a bit more complex and longer than a typical MG, but has no coming-of-age sub-themes, and is not quite as dark as some YA.

I'll put my iron in the fire with your permission--in the next day or two. Again, thank you very much for your response. :)

Laura said...

Dear Jenny,
I'm squealing with joy because I've got the YA romantic epic original fantasy you're searching for RIGHT HERE!!! Only it got WAY too long and became a trilogy, so I'm wondering if you and Jodi would need to see the manuscripts for all three books at once? I'm dying to send in a query, but as I'm still editing the second and third books, would it be too early to do so?

Ink Johnson said...

How long is this list good for? I'm editing a YA urban fantasy novel with no vampires or werewolves in sight (not to mention intelligent teenager), but it's not ready to see the light of day yet. Do you think you'll still be looking for novels like this in, say, two months.

Also, I love that you want a novel form of Dr. Horrible. If you do find one, I'll buy it the second it hits the shelves.

Jodi Meadows said...

Laura,

Jenny may yet comment on this, but since she's swamped right now, I'd say get your query ready and just query the first book. Mention you have the trilogy finished. (Or ready for revisions.) That never hurts. :)

But one book at a time, even for a trilogy. :)

Sarahlynn said...

"slipstream novel"

Ah-hah!

My NaNovel last year (one for the drawer, I think) was about a MG girl who moves cross country and in her search to find her place in a new school stumbles upon a group of Wiccan kids masquerading as a "Nature Club."

Though most of the story is completely naturalistic, there are some elements of fantasy in it. The twist is that they're related to the MC, not the Wiccans. The Wiccans are just . . . kid Wiccans! :)

I had no idea there was a name for the sub-genre in which I was writing!

(I usually write mystery, lit fic, and erotic romance, so this was a very new direction for me.)

Laura said...

Jodi, thanks so much for answering my question! I'll get that query to you as soon as
possible. Yay!!! :-D

Flavio Q Crunk said...

Here's a strange question:
In querying, should one address Jodi, or Jenny? Jodi reads all the queries first and then sends them to Jenny? hmm......

Wade said...

My partner and I are working on a science fantasy series about a paralyzed scientist who saving 2 worlds. How do you feel about science fantasy.

E.B. Tatby said...

I have a Tribe of Wolves in my YA story, representing a group of people that are savage... bestial. No real werewolves, if you could call them real.

Do you think that will be overdone because of the werewolf craze?

Hope not because it is key to the plot, but would be good market information either way.

Yun Ying Huang said...

I have a question. I'm currently working on a fantasy series for young adults (No, no Twilight, I promise. I made sure of that) but I'm under eighteen. Would I have to wait, or do you represent minors?

Diana Mattila said...

It's so nice and encouraging, as an aspiring author of a fantasy series, to see that not every agent is looking for the next Twilight.
I'm currently working on the first book of, what I'm planning to be, a large series of a mix of fantasy and historical fiction.

Although I have a question.

Do you do overseas also? I live in mainland Europe currently, but am writing said series in English.

Thanks for the answer in advance :)

Ivaru said...

I must say I enjoy that you mentioned that you would not like the next Twilight. When I feel I've finished what I am working on I will probably be sending you a quary.

Angela said...

You realize you have a small group of people wanting to send you a query because of your shown dislike (Reference: First point) for Twilight? :D Awesome sauce, you happen to be (That's good, I assure).
Would you be interested in a teenager (One of the two main characters) who wishes to be a forensic scientist?
And, before I forget. Do you accept manuscripts from people under 18?
Sorry for being so annoying, and bumping an old blog entry.

Joe said...

It's nice to see that someone else out there hates Twatlight!