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Nailing the genre--Finding the agent
Michael Austin
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 4:51 PM
Joined: 10/14/2011
Posts: 1

Hello--new member here

I am 64 years old, a native Kentuckian and have been married for 41 years.  My son lives in New York, and is a musician with the Metropolitan Opera.  I have an Associates Degree in Graphic Communications and had a career in the printing business.  I am now retired.

Seventeen years ago, I decided to buy a farm, dabble in organic farming and begin writing.  This life long passion was unleashed with the isolation of rural living.  With the help of journals and letters, I wrote my first novel based on personal experience.  I attempted to capture the lives of young people growing up in the sixties, based on a Midwestern point of view.  My Catholic heritage allowed me to introduce the effect religion can play on ones life, especially during a period of social change.  Having been part of the counter culture, and breaking away from a small town in northern Kentucky I believe I bring a fresh voice to a period of time primarily defined by voices from the east or west coast rather than Middle America.  I had the good fortune to have known people from different social backgrounds.  Many were seeking spiritual paths and struggling with sexual identity.  Others went to Vietnam while some took to the streets protesting the war and engaged in the Civil Rights movement.  While the characters and situations are fictional composites, I believe it is important these voices are heard and remembered.  All were learning how to live and how to love, in the face of severe social change.  This is my purpose and these people and experiences are my credentials.   

What do you recommend I do to secure an agent as well as establish the right genre? I suppose the genre for this book would be young adult, but not certain.


Michael Austin




Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 1:50 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 46

Michael, this is all information about you rather than the story. 

What's the plot? The main conflicts? Have you tried to write up a two-paragraph blurb, like you'd see on the back of a book, to present the bones of your story and try to hook a reader?

It will be easier to determine the genre when you've distilled the story.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 4:24 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Michael -

I think HJakes hit the nail on the head. Agents don't care about who you are, unless you are writing non-fiction and you have a genuine platform to bring to the marketing side of things. With fiction, memoir and narrative non-fiction, it's all about the story.  Keep your query short (under 250 words), keep it simple and make it grab the reader.

You can get some great query advice by reading agent blogs or using a free service like AgentQuery.com (http://www.agentquery.com/).

You can also workshop your query here on Book Country and ask your fellow writers for feedback.

Good luck!



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