I have an agent; his name is Dan. Dan doesn’t represent romance, but every now and again I receive an email from authors asking how I like him (well done, with
fava beans and a nice chianti!). I’ve received more of these sorts of queries lately (which I absolutely don’t mind) and I noticed a strange trend among those asking.
Seems several authors are looking quietly for new representation because they want to branch into other genres, and their agents say no. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
In the contracting publishing market and the Is-the-recession-over economy, shouldn’t an author be, to use business terms, as diversified as possible? Shouldn’t an author’s business be a conglomerate of strong writing in potentially more than one genre? Why should an author limit herself to one subgenre of romance when she has an idea for a historical or has a proposal for a suspense series, and her prior work is not in those fields?
I’m completely baffled by the number of authors who have emailed me to say they were ready to rock the socks of more than one romance subgenera and were stymied by their agents unwillingness or disinterest in shopping them to publishing houses.
So in an environment where folks like the Waxman agency are going to start digital publishing projects for fiction from their authors, how does it make sense that at the same time other agents (note: none of the authors who wrote to me were represented by Waxman to my knowledge) are discouraging authors from expanding with a new genre or project?
Now, I don’t know as much about the publishing industry between agents and editors (oh, mercy, pass the chianti) so I thought I’d ask y’all what you thought. Would diversification be a strength?
Readers, do you dislike when an author writes in a new genre, under their own name or a new pseudonym? Will you follow an author to a new genre you might not have tried before?
Authors, do you want to add another subgenre to your business? Have you met resistance for that one? And agents, what reasons might someone have to encourage an author not to branch outside their published genre?
Now, I generally don’t encourage anonymous comments, but if you want to comment anonymously you can do so by entering a firstname.lastname@example.org email address. I’m honestly befuddled and would love to learn more.