The Florida Christian Writers Conference is next weekend, and I’ve had that old, familiar experience: I look through the list of agents and editors, hoping there will be someone I can meet with.
But it happened again, same as always.
This one’s looking for romance, suspense, and historical.
That one’s looking for Amish, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction.
Another one is interested in most genres but NOT speculative.
The number of agents and acquisition editors who specifically state they do NOT want speculative fiction tells me they are getting a lot of it. Because if writers weren’t pitching it, editors wouldn’t feel the need to exclude it.
I mean, the market is clearly not deluged with writers pitching Westerns, or the editors’ information would say “we’re looking for historical fiction, including romance, but NOT Westerns.”
They don’t say that.
Speculative fiction is the only genre in the Christian submarket that gets singled out for this kind of exclusion.
Why is that?
We’ve talked a lot here about the Christian submarket’s cluelessness at reaching speculative fiction readers. Few of the editors get it, and fewer still of the booksellers. And the publishers? Where Christian speculative fiction is concerned, I’m not sure the marketing departments at any of the Big Five subsidiaries know the difference between Balaam’s donkey and the Crack of Doom.
So why do I keep doing it? Why do I keep attending Christian writers conferences when I know they won’t have anyone for me to pitch to? Why don’t I just attend Realm Makers and skip all the others?
Well, mostly it’s because I usually have an opportunity to teach, so even if there’s nothing for me there as a writer, there’s an opportunity for me as an editor to serve writers and, let’s be honest, promote my business.
But it’s also than I have the opportunity to study. Yes, now that I’ve been doing the conference circuit for almost ten years, there’s not a lot I haven’t heard. You can only sit in so many novel-writing workshops before it all starts to sound the same. But if I ever reach the point where I claim to not have more to learn, please bury me, because I’ll be dead.
So I will keep attending writers conferences and editors conferences and trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can while imparting to others what I have. And I will keep perusing those editorial requirements because every once in a while, I do find another publisher who accepts Christian speculative fiction. Last year it was Brimstone, which also got involved in Realm Makers. I don’t know who will be next to figure out that this Christian speculative fiction genre has potential … but I’ll keep looking.