it’s a trip . . .

tips, quotes, insights, and lessons about writing and publishing learned the hard way

the werewolves have it . . .

Yesterday I got a form rejection letter from an agent I queried about my latest book (commercial women’s fiction). She enclosed my snail-mailed query with her rejection, which listed a host of reasons for passing on any work they receive using bulleted points, such as “we don’t handle that genre,” “your manuscript needs polishing,” etc.

Regarding my particular query, she had circled the bullet explaining that she was overstocked with fiction manuscripts and memoirs and that the market for these books is hard to crack, for agents, too.

Actually, the form was not at all personal but helpful. I’m glad she enclosed it. Any feedback is better than no feedback. (Of course, had she told me my manuscript needs polishing when I only submitted a query letter, I might still be scratching my head.)

So if chick lit, hen lit, bling lit, and glitz lit aren’t selling, what is? Some agents I queried told me that suspense/thrillers/romantic suspense are selling and that I should write one of those. And we know Americans are buying–$30 billion in book sales in 2007. And even though sales are off that mark in 2008, that’s still a hefty chunk of pocket change. So what is everyone buying? Lots of text books, trade paperbacks, and audio books. And guess what else?

Surprisingly while perusing the deals via the Publishers Marketplace website, I learned that werewolf stories are selling. A casual site search revealed that at least nine werewolf novels were sold (some in very good deals, according to self-reported data) in the last twelve months.

one of many fashionable werewolf books

one of many fashionable werewolf books

Not too shabby.

Apparently, some genres and sub-genres of fiction are selling. If you’ve got a werewolf or vampire manuscript sitting on a shelf, dust it off, polish it up, and send it off while werewolf novels are in vogue.

Just why readers across the globe have a lycanthropic appetite for werewolf stories would make an interesting post, too, but definitely one outside my purview.



  Kirk wrote @

Hi Gale,

Glad to see you up and running again. I always enjoyed dropping by your first blog site and I’m sure this one will be entertaining and informative as well. Your rejection letter reminded me of my own favorite rejection. Two lines printed in 8 point font – I had to read it with a magnifiying glass. Guess they didn’t want to waste any ink on me. lol Best of luck with this new endeavor.


  Ian wrote @

Gale’s back! Woo!

I have to argue against trying to write something to the market ebb and flow. Maybe if you have something that’s hot RIGHT NOW and it’s completed and edited and you send it in, it may get picked up simply because of the genre. It might not see print for another six months to a year, though, and by then the market may have switched. My advice (as well as the advice passed along to me from many agents in workshops) is to write what you love, and if you do it well enough, somebody else will love it too. Then maybe YOU will be the trend-setter, not the trend-follower.


  gemmolina wrote @

Well, Ian. I had my tongue firmly planted in cheek when I made the comment about dusting off that werewolf novel. Writing a book is so much work, I can only write one in a genre that interests me. Yes, I’m hoping someone will love my novel as much as I do. Nice of you to stop by.

  rachel wrote @

Hey, I wrote a werewolf crime novel. Okay, so he was a werewolf only in fun-fur and madness. Does that count?

  gemmolina wrote @

Rachel, I was thinking of you the whole time! Fun fur counts, baby. You have that lycanthropic edge–just dust CREEP off and send it out. Thanks for visiting. Stop back soon.

  rachel wrote @

This is an attractive and professional looking new blog, Gale. Congratulations. I’ll keep it in my Favorites and check up regularly.

  Linda wrote @

So very nice to have you back, Gale! Does this mean that Gem-osophy is defunct now, though? I so enjoyed your blog!

As for the rejection, don’t most authors end up getting a pile of rejection slips before someone finally has the good sense to publish their book? Seems to me I’ve heard that said in regards to just about every good author out there. I’m sure that someone will read your book and think – wow! This is great and I know just the audience it will appeal to. Least ways if they have sense they will!

As for vampires and werewolves, those genres right now really seem to be appealing to the teenage set as those are the sort of books my daughters and their friends read. When I was a kid it was horse stories but now it’s the romance of vampires (yeah, right!) and the mystery of werewolves. Each generation has their favorites!

  Gale wrote @

Linda, how nice of you to drop by. Not sure what I’m going to do with Gem-osophy at the moment–it’s just in a holding pattern since you can’t take it offline without deleting it (I think).

Anyhoo, yes, I’m actually not discouraged by the rejections, at least not all the time anyway. I’m batting a pretty good percentage of rejections to agent requests and I just have to keep at it until someone says yes.

Thanks for stopping by. And those red-hot vampire stories with teens–I guess you and yours are spending some pin money on those.

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  • my author bio . . .

    I began writing creatively three years ago, fueled by midlife and a Curves' addiction. Since then, I have published short work in The Christian Science Monitor and Sirens Magazine in the same year. How's that for versatility!
    Sirens Magazine

    Sirens Magazine

    Also the Duck & Herring Company's Pocket Field Guide, The Giggle Water Review, Alighted, Wet Ink Press, America's Funniest Humor, Brilliant!, Laughter Loaf, Flash-Flooding, and the Greensilk Journal where my short story, "How I Boinked John Cusack" won editor's pick.
    The Greensilk Journal

    The Greensilk Journal

    My newest novel, THE SHAKER PROPOSAL, has received numerous accolades, the latest a fifth-place in the 2008 annual NWA (National Writing Association) Novel Contest.


    I am a marketing professional by vocation (but not by choice). My husband and I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—the sounds, sites, smells, and flavors of which are a never-ending source of literary inspiration.
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