Intros & Newbies Hello and a question

bradkalbfeld

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  • Oct 27, 2022
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    Hello everyone. I'm Brad and I'm new here. I'm querying for my debut novel (getting used to the sounds of silence) and working on my second. As a recovering reporter, my natural way of getting to know people is by asking a question or seeking advice. So I'd like to ask you about book club fiction as a genre.

    My story explores the question of whether there are two sides to every story in the age of misinformation. It's about two reporters who've picked up evidence that a mysterious illness is causing some children to be paralyzed. It has elements of a mystery (the illness), a thriller (the chase to get the story), and romance (the two reporters are opposites, from different websites, but circumstances have thrown them together), but it's not strictly in any of those genres. It touches on climate change, vaccine skepticism, science denialism, misinformtion, and the precarious condition of the news business.

    I've been calling it contemporary fiction but I haven't seen it (or upmarket) listed as an option in many placers. I've queried agents who are seeking mysteries and/or thrillers if their previous sales feel adjacent to my work.

    Does it sounds like it might qualify as bookclub fiction?
     
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    Leslie

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    Hi Brad and welcome!
    Interesting question. Before this pitchfest I had not thought of bookclub fiction as a genre or even a sub. I suspect that @RJ Garside probably has a take on this.

    I did some googling and found this from Nathan Bransford Book club fiction

    1666917816546.png

    It does sounds like your book fits several these categories. Any chance that there might be some themed cooking opportunities? :)
    J/K.

    There are obv a lot of sites discussing this and what they all seem to agree on is that it is nascent genre that blends the line between commercial and literary while lending itself to discussions over glasses of wine and cooking. Honestly, I am not kidding.

    I would love to hear what others think about this. Now I am truly curious!
     
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    Sandra Gale

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  • Oct 27, 2022
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    Hi Brad and Leslie - My book club reads all sorts of books, so it's hard to say what our "type" is. We read fiction most often, with some memoirs/biographies mixed in. Some common elements include social issues, romance, and strong female characters (this particular club is all women). Based on your description, I would consider it for my book club, but Contemporary Fiction also seems to fit well. Oh, and we downplay the food angle, but some people like to highlight the cuisine as a fun part of getting together--especially if there's a dish the characters discuss. (If your book is set in Scotland, please forgo the haggis ;).)
     
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    bradkalbfeld

    scribbler
  • Oct 27, 2022
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    Virginia
    Hi Brad and Leslie - My book club reads all sorts of books, so it's hard to say what our "type" is. We read fiction most often, with some memoirs/biographies mixed in. Some common elements include social issues, romance, and strong female characters (this particular club is all women). Based on your description, I would consider it for my book club, but Contemporary Fiction also seems to fit well. Oh, and we downplay the food angle, but some people like to highlight the cuisine as a fun part of getting together--especially if there's a dish the characters discuss. (If your book is set in Scotland, please forgo the haggis ;).)
    Hi Leslie and Sandra, no haggis, I promise, though there is (sans recipe) a scene in which Indian food is being cooked (one of the characters is a microbiologist/epidemiologist named Madhu). I did see the Bransford post, which reinforced my impression that book club fiction has to have a meaty subject that members will want to discuss and stylistically should lie somewhere between commercial and literary. What I find so confusing is that neither Book Club nor Upmarket show up on most genre lists for agents (a problem I encountered in PitchFest), and I've seen the term Contemporary used mostly in the context of Romance. It makes it *very* hard to know which agent might be interested!
     
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    CheriK
    CheriK
    Are you familiar with Manuscript Wish List and or QueryTracker? You can search agents by genre and keywords. Twitter is another place to find agents by using #mswl
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