9.01.2005

Less competitive genres

Wonders a snarkling:

In several posts, you mentioned that fantasy and youth fantasy are highly competitive genres. If there is such a thing as a highly competitive genre, then it follows that there are less competitive ones. What are the less competitive genres?


lad lit
westerns
true cozy mysteries

which is not to say they aren't competitive, just fewer people seem to be writing them. Or fewer people who query ME are writing them.

Publishing in general is competitive. I don't think there are any reliable statistics on query letters versus published books. I know we take on less than one in five hundred.

15 comments:

kitty said...

What are lad lit and true cozy mysteries?

Anonymous said...

Lad lit and true cozy mysteries--and Westerns--have less competition because they're shrinking. I bet Sister Mary Snark is seeing fewer traditional Regency romances, too.

Anonymous said...

Kitty lad lit is the male form of chick lit--think Nick Hornby's About a Boy. Cozy Mysteries I have no clue.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Charlaine Harris' books called "Cozy mysteries with teeth." So I'm trying to picture her books, only toned down and without any vampires...

Ric said...

True cozy mystery - Think Agatha Christie's Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote (the television series, not the actual books)
A cozy is (trying to remember this from St. Martin's annual contest) an amatuer slueth, one who knows the victim, usually socially, who uses her knowledge of the foibles and such in her circle of friends to solve the mystery. Generally done with no blood, no serial killers, and no sex scenes.
I also heard there isn't much market for these - Miss Snark?

Note to agents - I have one of these nearly ready to go.......

Anonymous said...

Oh, and what are the most competitive genres? What genres are feeling totally played?

If I have a serial killer, is my ms. extremely 1998? No bubbly hard-drinking young woman with a crappy job who says 'fuckwit' a lot? (Present company excepted, of course.) What's the story of gruesome violence, these day? How about hawt sexxx?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, cozies are mysteries that usually take place in one place - like a big English manor on a mist-filled weekend party.

Maxwell said...

Thanks for answering my question Miss Snark! Your blog has rekindled my interest in writing, long ago sidelined by my need to earn pin (gin) money. I'm actually getting to a place in life where I can eek out some free time to write, so your sage advice couldn't have arrived at a better moment for me. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of what it looks like under the hood.

I'm most inclined to write private-eye fiction, but with the sensibilites of these times, not some mythical hard-boiled era. I'm sure that's a tough row to hoe, but it still sells.

I used to love John Dixon Carr mysteries - Cozys with impossible crimes. I thought the Jonathan Creek T.V. series might be pulling that kind of fiction back into the mainstream, but so far it doesn't seem to be the case.

I thought serial killers were cool back when Red Dragon came out. Now every other book, movie, or T.V. show has hot and cold running serial killers. If there were as many real serial killers in the world, we'd all be dead. Secretly-trained assassins bring up a close second. I'm surprised we all haven't personally witnessed at least one professional hit while going about our daily routines.

Will the buying public ever tire of these two themes? Truthfully, they really put me off as a reader and often leave me groaning as a movie-goer. Not out of shock or disgust just a 'been there, done that, got the T-shirt' feeling.

Brady Westwater said...

Speaking of Westerns, is there a market for a Western that is a literary novel, excuse me... a work of literary fiction?

Miss Snark said...

Big time.
Mark Spragg An Unfinished Life
Kent Haruf Plainsong
JoAnn Mapson Hank and Chloe

Catja (green_knight) said...

'lad lit'? How tame. The term I hear most often rhymes with chick lit and abbreviates Richard.

carper said...

"I know we take on less than one in five hundred."

That means you don't take any on.

Miss Snark said...

fewer than, less than. ya ya ya, this isn't a query letter its a damn blog. Get your knickers out of the twist, you get the point. You do get the point, right?

carper said...

A dedicated carper always gets the point.

Anonymous said...

One in 500? Whew, for a minute there, I was getting worried. I think the odds are with me now.

Fred