It’s been a quiet week for me here at BookEnds, and by that I mean I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off staring at 150 fresh emails and 8 new voice mails. No, I actually feel on top of things this week. I’ve gotten to all of my clients proposals, they’ve gotten their feedback and are busy at work. I’ve gone through my handy little notebook and made notes on where all my clients are with their projects and followed up with editors and clients where necessary. I’ve reviewed and negotiated contracts, I’ve touched base with a number of editors I haven’t talked to in a while, and I even read some queries and proposals.
And I hate it. I hate peace and quiet and I hate having time to do things. I suppose some would say that makes me a type A personality. I have no idea what personality type I am, but I do know that I thrive on at least a little bit of chaos. I like to have things hanging over my head. I like to feel needed and wanted and I like to be running around like a chicken with at least half my head severed (sorry).
When I have downtime, though, it makes me think. It makes me think that right now, at this very moment, I’m looking for something. I want something fresh and new to add to my client list, something that will keep me up all night reading and make me pop open the computer at 3 a.m. to let the author know I need to talk to her asap. Obviously that something has to be different, it has to be well-written. and it has to grab me by the throat. But beyond that. what else am I looking for? What do I want to add to my 2008 client list? Here’s a rundown in no particular order. . . .
Thrillers: I really want a good thriller. I want a tough but soft character. Someone I want to be or be around. I’ve been reading Karin Slaughter and Barry Eisler. I really love Barry Eisler. I would love to see something that hasn’t been done before. One of the things I love about Barry Eisler is his ability to make a seemingly unsympathetic character sympathetic, but of course I love more traditional forensic or criminal investigation-type books as well. I like the darkness of a thriller, and of course I love that thrillers are thrilling. If comparing books to TV, I love The Closer, Criminal Minds, and Cold Case. I especially love Cold Case. Brilliant!
Romantic Suspense: I’ve always been a huge fan of romantic suspense, so it’s surprising I have so few on my list. I think part of it is that I’m incredibly picky; I don’t think it’s an easy genre to write. I do want to add more romantic suspense to my list, though. I want the huge sexy men and I love the women-in-jeopardy stories. There are few things more exciting to me than stalkers and serial killers, but I also like the team approach, the man and woman who can work together to save the day, and keep me at the edge of my seat while doing it. And I refer above to some of my favorite TV shows, which are also great romantic suspense ideas—especially Criminal Minds. Just plain creepy.
Contemporary Romance: Lately I’ve been reading a good deal more contemporary romance and I’ve been surprised (I don’t know why) by how difficult it is to find these days. With the glut of paranormals, it seems that this is the latest genre to be neglected. The trick with contemporary romance is that it still has to have some sort of hook to make it stand out. I’m on the hunt, though. I believe it’s not going to be long before editors are begging me for a good contemporary romance, and I plan to be ready.
Historical Romance: I like big, lofty, sexy historicals. Of course I like any historical. I’ve been doing well with my historical romances lately, or I suppose I should say my authors are doing well, and I’m enjoying reading them, so I’m always looking for something new. As you might know, Elizabeth Hoyt was one of my new favorites of last season, but I also discovered Samantha James and loved her. I like historicals with an interesting hook, and I tend to think a high level of sensuality plays well in the historical market, so I like that too.
Commercial Women’s Fiction: I tend not to be a reader of much “literary fiction.” I like more commercial stories, books that I’ve heard a lot of writers refer to as mainstream. Often there’s a romance involved, but not always. I love stories of friendship and I love stories of a woman overcoming hardship. I’m always a fan of the abused woman who is able to escape, the abandoned woman who is able to discover that she can, in fact, survive on her own, and I love stories about the mother-daughter relationship. I love TV shows like Brothers and Sisters and Army Wives, and these are the types of stories I would like translated into women’s fiction (not literally, of course).
Nonfiction: It’s been a while since I’ve taken on a new nonfiction author, and I think it’s time for something fresh. Of course the author is going to need to have a platform, both personally and with the subject she is writing about. I’m most interested these days in career, health, parenting, and current events titles. But wow me. I’d love to see some truly funny humor (we just sold a hilarious pop culture humor book), some brilliant business book, or a self-help book that really stands out.
And of course don’t forget that I’m always looking for mysteries, erotic romances, paranormal romances, and fantasy romances. The only reason I didn’t go into detail on any of these particular subjects is that I’m seeing a lot of them cross my desk. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t get at least ten paranormal or fantasy queries and three cozy mysteries. The problem is that none of them have stood out. The vampires all sound the same and every cozy protagonist works in academia. I definitely want to see more of these genres, but you’ve got to push yourselves in these flooded markets to stand out. To really show me what you’re doing that hasn’t yet been thought of and to write it in such a way that your writing takes my breath away from the first sentence.
So there you go, a public admission that I am looking for new clients. A little scary on my part, maybe, but that’s what happens when your clients are all busy writing away.