Dear Miss Snark,
At the risk of becoming the nitwit of the day, I have to ask a question. Forgive me if it seems so obvious from your post, but my little pea brain is fighting it. Since only one person commented on it, I must be in super denial mode. You said, "I can't sell private detective novels to save my life right now."
Is that market over saturated? Can you please give me some insight as to other markets that are over saturated from your stilettoed (is that a word?) vantage point? What about cozy mysteries or suspense?
I thought a good character, a good story, and good writing would win every time, but maybe I'm missing something here.
Many thanks--you give this stay-at-home mom of three who hopes to become published someday a break during the otherwise chaotic day.
First, let's all remember that if you want to write private detective novels, you should. Things go in and out of fashion and trying to write to the market is just nuts.
That said, I can't sell private detective novels right now. By private detective I mean things like Robert Crais' Elvis Cole series: a guy in an office solving cases. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not getting them in the slush pile much, and I'm not seeing new authors who write this on the shelves, and I'm not finding many editors who want the one I have.
I'm seeing a BOATload of weird ass amateur sleuth novels. Some of the listings on PM make me wonder what's going on over there at Berkley. It's like "What Color is Your Parachute" lists meets the cozy. This is not to say I think that's stupid, cause I don't. It's just unless you plan on having your heroine be a professional goat herder and harpist, they aren't going to buy it. (That example is just for you Bill E. cause I think you're quite the quadraped)
I need high concept stuff for other places, I need "sensual crime thrillers" for a new line over at Bantam; I need suspense in a bunch of places, but almost no one says "send me a private dick".
But, as sure as I post this, some of you are going to come out of the woodwork with examples to prove I'm a nitwit. Before the blood bath begins, any examples MUST be debut writers in 2004, 2005 or 2006. The protagonists must be private dicks, NOT crime fighting computer geniuses (like MonkeeWrench) or bounty hunters or ex cops turned lone wolf hero.
Have at it!