I was told to take my book to Britain...
After meeting with the Chief Editor of Penguin's Science Fiction and Fantasy division, she said that there wasn't a large enough market in the U.S. to publish a hilarious, satirical, science fiction novel. And after speaking to her, she made a very good point. How many funny/satirical science fiction novelists can you think of besides Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams? Neither could she. Another good point that she made was that both of those authors were British. She suggested that i try to get my book published in the U.K. So...anyone ever try to publish somehting in another country?
Sure. You need to research each agent/publisher carefully to be certain they accept manuscripts from foreign writers. If you can't find that information on the Internet, shoot them a one-line email simply asking if they read foreign manuscripts - don't pitch your book in that email. Then, if they say yes, query them the same as any other agent/publisher - with a Q letter only, unless they state otherwise. Some agents/publishers will tell you they only want European Qs - they don't want to deal with American writers because they feel we've got enough publishers here and don't want to deal with the distance. But many will tell you to go ahead and query them.
But I don't agree with the "Chief Editor of Penguin's Science Fiction and Fantasy division." I would not stop trying to get the book published in the U.S. Her opinion is her opinion, but I wouldn't take her opinion as a done deal. Keep trying in the U.S. as well, unless you have exhausted all the possibilities here.
Last edited by leslee; 05-14-2011 at 07:01 AM.
My gut reaction agrees with leslee. I don't read much SF, but satirical SF certainly abounds in movies so I assume there must be a nice sub-genre in books.
Have you considered twisting your pitch? My favorite SF is "The Sparrow," which is shelved among the literary works. This sort of book wouldn't sell well to the genre SF readers. The problem is that there's this whole section of a bookstore feeding action/tec packed easy reads to SF lovers. Generally these readers aren't looking for something like "The Sparrow" or satire when they peruse those shelves. Non-genre readers are far more likely to embrace SF that's sold as satire or literary than genre SF readers are.
Does that make sense? Have you tried to reposition your book to those readers most likely to gobble up your book? An idea, anyway. Good luck.
I take it, then, that she's never encountered the Stainless Steel Rat series by Harry Harrison or The Flying Sorcerers by Larry Niven and David Gerold, all, I might add, by American authors. I think it's safe to say that she doesn't know what she's talking about here. I'm sure I could think of more if I wanted to take a few minutes, but those two just jumped out at me as I read your post. Remember, just because she's the Chief Editor doesn't mean that she knows what she's talking about.
Never be discouraged by one person's view! Keep trying. I think Leslee's feedback is worth considering.
I don't read or know anything at all about "hilarious, satirical, science fiction" novels, but I wouldn't rush to try to publish something overseas. One would think an editor-in-chief of a publishing house would know what she is talking about, but it's possible she A. was being sarcastic, for whatever reason, or B. isn't as familiar with the genre and market as she'd like you to believe.
I'd redouble my efforts to query here and see what kind of response I get. Good luck.
Illuminatus Trilogy and Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy are the only major American humorous sci-fi satires I can think of off the top of my head. Edition I have is Dell. Sold a ton of copies (100k+). Took a while. Lots of cuts, too.
Some of Ballard and Dick fall into similar territory, but they get pigeonholed as speculative fiction or literature. I don't think either sold well while alive either. Don't have either's books on my desk at the moment.
All good suggestions here. Also try Writer's Market 2011.
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