We've all done it before, right? I'm guilty of doing it. A lot.
Me: The Hunger Games is a dystopian? Isn't that like science fiction? No thank you. I don't like science fiction.
This is just one example of many. I think every book on my top ten list is a book I initially wasn't too keen on reading. I think we all have pre-conceived notions of different genres. Sometimes, all it takes is one bad experience with the genre to turn us against it. For example I hated the show Star Trek when I was little--all of them, including the spin-offs, so whenever someone mentions the words "science fiction," my knee-jerk reaction is "no thank you." The same thing with urban fantasy. A while back, I read a book in this genre that I was less than impressed with, so now I'm totally turned off the idea of reading something else in this category.
I'll be the first to admit this is wrong, which is why it bothered me so much when I read this
article in Publisher's Weekly . To summarize, it talks about the over abundance of YA paranormals, and how some agents and editors want nothing to do with this genre because of its over-saturation.
Is this really happening? Are there literary agents and editors out there who immediately reject a book based on its genre? You bet your favorite vampire novel there are! Countless times I have come across agent profiles that include something along the lines of, "I am no longer interested in paranormals" or "no vampires". This is just what gets posted--I can only imagine the "special" instructions given to agency interns who are weeding through the electronic slush pile.
Yes, I can understand agents/editors not wanting to represent books similar to those out there, but a good story is a good story, right? Also, the word "paranormal" encompasses a lot more than vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons. Characters with special abilities . . . people and places that are cursed . . . all of this is considered paranormal.
This isn't the first genre to get ostracised. Chick-lit is no longer allowed to sit at the cool kids table, and I can only imagine that dystopian is heading in that same direction.
I like to pretend this isn't really happening. That agents/editors are judging queries/manuscripts based on the quality of writing and the story and NOT based on genre. But, as someone who is currently querying a paranormal, I can tell you the interest has not been great. I realize there could be a number of reasons for all the rejections--my query, the concept, the writing--but after reading this article, it does make me wonder.