10 November 2007

Is Hybrid Really Hot?

I’m going to deviate a bit from my usual E-Spec related topic and get into something more personal. I’ve begun the process of trying to find an agent for my most recent novel. So far, I have not had much success. My novel is a hybrid. It could be called a paranormal legal thriller (a paralegal--ha ha), supernatural suspense, or perhaps just a suspense novel. Think Scott Turow meets the X-Files. The only feedback I’ve gotten from an agent so far was along the following lines: agents would be fighting over this IF it didn’t have aliens. In other words, if it was a straightforward legal thriller, my chances would be better.

Granted, that’s just one opinion. But I’ve gotten a number of form rejections that make me wonder if other agents may have had the same reaction to my submission. If so, my question is: why? My cousin who owns an independent bookstore says hybrids are “hot” right now. One of my favorite short story authors, Kelly Link, agrees. Here’s what she said in this month’s Locus:

There’s a lot of energy in the hybrid forms. . . . It’s good news—for writers like me, at least—that mainstream and genre are colliding so productively. It’s harder to separate mainstream from genre when someone like Junot Diaz writes a book like The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. There are growing numbers of mainstream editors who grew up reading Tolkien and watching the Lord of the Ring movies.

I recognize that finding a literary agent is tough no matter how “hot” your genre (or combination of genres), but I sure hope there’s an agent out there who is aware of this trend and is willing to take a look at my work.


Don said...

I think it's partly because it's easier to make a move from mainstream towards genre than the other way. While Oscar Wao is Diaz's first novel, he's well-known as a short-story writer (and editor of The Boston Review).

Bernita said...

Imho, hybrids have depth.
I wonder if the reluctance has more to do with the status of a writer, ie. a debut book.
Established writers may not face the same reluctance?

David E. Hughes said...

Good points, Don and Bernita. I imagine it is probably easier to move from mainstream to genre or vise versa, rather than starting with a combo. The more established the writer, the less genre matters. King, Koontz, and Cormic McCarthy (with The Road) write spec fiction yet they are shelved with mainstream fiction because, in part, of their popularity.

lesleylsmith said...

I've read the book and it's excellent. The smart agent that snaps it up will not regret it. Good luck, Dave!