Agents often talk about expectations or guidelines, especially for debut authors. This could mean anything from word count to plot points. That being said, we all know that there are books, lots of them, that defy all rules. Books that, despite all guidelines, agents and editors couldn’t resist and had to publish.
A reader asks:
Could you talk about those in-between books, like The Historian or Time Traveler’s Wife, which defy the usual things like genre or word count–what do you do as an agent, when you’re reading/reviewing, and love the book, but find it’s outside of the usual parameters… do you try to fix it, so it does fit, or make exceptions, or create a marketing plan, to reach editors… I guess I’m asking about those kinds of books that aren’t necessarily like the usual fair… and this, assuming that it’s clear the author has worked with integrity, mastered the craft, and has done something unusual, like in the above examples. There are probably others… Hunger Games might’ve been rejected for kids-killing-kids… do you shy away from things like this, or say, thank goodness, something original has finally broken through the gates? (Ha ha!) Thanks for your sincerity and time.