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Editors/Agents looking for historical fiction

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Tue September 23rd, 2008, 3:27 am

But don't get too impatient and rush it. ;)
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Tue September 23rd, 2008, 3:30 pm

Ha-ha! That's right!
Visit MichelleMoran.com
Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

User avatar
Barbara Passaris
Scribbler
Location: I live in Richmond, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Postby Barbara Passaris » Sat October 25th, 2008, 11:55 pm

HI, Michelle,

MIine is a different story. I'm going to get it really shortened for you. I have a book out that was published by a small professional press. I captured their attention and they "bought" my book. It was my debut novel, set on the cusp of the American Revolution, and did pretty well for a small press book.

I do not have an agent, but would to have one for my future work. Here's my first question:

Will the fact that I have one publishing credit help me win the attention of an agent? I'd like to grow in my writing career.

Second: What's "hot" in historical fiction, and what's not? I've got a few projects in the works. One project is a crossover into mainstream with HF elements, set in two time periods--and is showing great promise. One piece is set in Rome.
The other is the sequel to my first book.

I'd love to have your thoughts. I'm picking your brain!

Barb Passaris
Last edited by Barbara Passaris on Sun October 26th, 2008, 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Sun October 26th, 2008, 4:44 am

Hi Barbara!

I do think that your publishing credit will help in your agent search. Waaay back in my early college days, I had a manuscript accepted for publication at a small press in Canada. Then I wrote another manuscript and went searching for an agent. In my query letter, I explained that I had a work placed with a small press, and I think it helped in my securing an agent. I did eventually pull the manuscript from the small press (and never published it). I thought it would be bad for my career to publish something so early when my voice wasn't quite ready (a good move, it turns out). But the acceptance alone helped in my agent search, and I have to assume that, given a strong second manuscript, it will help in yours.

As for your second question, I can't really speak to what's hot in HF since I'm not an editor or agent, but I can say that my editor enjoys HF from the POV of real historical characters whose names/deeds have since become famous.
Visit MichelleMoran.com

Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

User avatar
Barbara Passaris
Scribbler
Location: I live in Richmond, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Postby Barbara Passaris » Sun October 26th, 2008, 3:08 pm

Thanks for the input, MIchelle.

I have a few very good reviews under my belt. I also have one very nasty blogger out there who seems to be loving to trash my book. It seems to be very personal. All my writing friends (but one) seem to think that it's been written by someone who knows me. My husband has even come up with a couple of names who could have written it...No big deal, I tell myself, because even really well-known writers get trashed by one person, lauded by another. When you're out there, it's part of the "game." ANd not everyone is going to love your work.

I wrote Diana Gabaldon about this, and in her typically humourous way, she told me that "reviews are best read after a stiff drink." I laughed, and felt much better. Shes' very nice, and got back to me right away. I have to tell you, the above was my first bad press. And to be honest, it still hurts. I have looked at what the person said, and some of it bore some merit. Most of it was just nasty and personal...never mind about it, though. I'm just rambling. I also got some sage advice from EC2, one of my favorite writing bloggers on this site. I am still grateful for her kindness, as well.

I also know that I'm a much better writer now. I've got one agent who's interested in taking a look at my Renaissance Venice/Modern day Boston piece, though as we know, that is no guarantee. And I've got an introduction/referall for a really good California agent for this piece.

You see, I am very serious about my writing career. I've had to take a small hiatus from it in order to get settled in another state, start up a new teaching job--with all that entails--but I'm back at it, now.

Actually, I have been a real regular on the old HF...This new site, which I like so much better, started up when my husband and I had just moved back to Virginia...

Anyway...I've a lot to do with the writing thing, and am planning to join a society for writers in Virginia, keep up other memberships, renew my RWA membership, etc.

I do think that as writers we need agents. I've tried to do all of the promotion myself, and it's really hard. When you work outside of the home, it's really hard to do all that AND write. I know that all writers do some self-promoting. But having an agent gives a writer the necessary advantage, because typically, larger publishers have resources that small houses do not, and agents have connections that most of us do not have.

Anyway, thanks for your time, and thank you for the advice. I appreciate that you got back to me so quickly.

Barb
Last edited by Barbara Passaris on Sun October 26th, 2008, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Sun October 26th, 2008, 7:13 pm

Barbara,

Congratulations on your good reviews, and don't worry at all about the bad one/s. Publishing houses are only concerned about trade reviews. Sure, a publicist might take a peek at what bloggers are saying, but only after a book is published and only so s/he can present the good ones to the regular board meetings.

Truly, it's often best to ignore negative reviews. Some negative reviews I've learned from, but others have criticized certain aspects of my novels by saying they weren't factual when in reality those particular aspects were entirely correct. My suggestion is to completely gloss over the nasty/personal ones, and if the urge strikes to respond to them, beat that urge down! I wrote a little bit about how an author should respond to negative reviews here.
Visit MichelleMoran.com

Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

User avatar
Barbara Passaris
Scribbler
Location: I live in Richmond, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Postby Barbara Passaris » Sun October 26th, 2008, 7:45 pm

Great advice on that site, Michelle. I've bookmarked it!

You know, I haven't responded AT ALL to her. Frankly, it's not worth my time. THe funny thing about it is that, as you said, she complained about the "high" language. I will tell you that I read and re-read the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin and came up with a cross between the two. In addition, I took a long look at Jane Austen. My family are wealthy Virginia Plantation People. I wanted the book to have an old feel to it, but for a contemporary audience. I, too, am a stickler for historical accuracy...did so much research for that novel. I have historical references worked into the events and dialogue throughout the book. But never mind all that because I don't want to sound defensive. Really, I'm not--at least not anymore. But I sure was at first. I think that it just hurt. I find it fascinating that people can find the time to just be mean. If someone is dissatisfied with a book, that person can surely return it. Most publishers have a satisfaction guaranteed policy. Why someone feels that they have to try and hurt a person's career is beyond me. Oh, well....different strokes for different folks, as the old song goes.

At this writing, I'm concentrating on feeling good about my work, about capturing a publisher's attention and getting my writing done--with my name out there, too.

But I AM driven with regard to getting some representation. Having your foot in the door is very helpful. I'm beginning to see that there's so much out there that it's almost a necessity to have someone help you "break in." I want a good agent who will work hard for me--someone who really believes in my work.

Again, Michelle, I thank you for your professional candor and for taking the time to reply!

~Barb Passaris
Last edited by Barbara Passaris on Sun October 26th, 2008, 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Mon October 27th, 2008, 11:37 pm

GalleyCat reports that agent Liza Dawson's looking for certain types of historical fiction and narrative history... details here.

User avatar
diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Mon December 15th, 2008, 8:20 pm

Snowbooks are calling for submissionsfor their list in 2010.
My Blog - Reading Adventures

All things Historical Fiction - Historical Tapestry


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

User avatar
Richard
Reader
Location: Albany, NY
Contact:

Postby Richard » Tue February 24th, 2009, 5:37 pm

[QUOTE=michellemoran;5255]
[*]Dan Lazar, an amazing go-getting agent (not mine) is also one to consider when looking to place your historical fiction. He's with Writers House.
QUOTE]

Dan Lazar is a class act and responded to my query very quickly... unfavorably, but quickly.
How did an 800-year-old headless corpse transform Venice from a backwater
into the greatest sea-empire of the early Middle Ages? Find out at,


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