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Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Agents Want: Steampunk!

Querying Song of the Day: "A-Punk" by Vampire Weekend

What Agents Want is a new series in which we will research what trends/topics agents are looking for right now. We'll give you information on the trend/topic and the agent that is looking for this specific type of project. The better to query with, my dears.

This week, we are gonna discuss a topic in YA that is picking up steam...pun intended. Yes, we're delving into steampunk. A few of our bloggy pals have already discussed this topic, helping me and Pam to better understand it. Holly broke down exactly what the steampunk genre is all about here. She explains that steampunk is generally novels that are set around the nineteenth century and Victorian-era Britain where technology and fictional or magical elements are incorporated. And Alicia took us inside a steampunk museum here. She got to see a steampunk pinball machine AND she gives some good steampunk music suggestions.

There are several agents that are looking for steampunk novels. Amongst them is Kathleen Ortiz of Lowenstein Associates. It even says on their website that steampunk is one of the genres that Kathleen is desperately seeking.

So, what the heck is steampunk? (Info taken from Wikipedia.org)

  • It meshes science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction
  • It involves an era where steam is still used (as a source of energy)
  • Usually set in the 19th century and Victorian era Britain
  • Science fiction and fantasy are prominent features
  • It is influenced by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Mark Twain, and Mary Shelly
  • Usually features technology and innovations in the style that Victorians would have seen them
What Books Can I Read for Research? (Books that fall in the steampunk category)

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century # 1) by Cherie Priest

Leviathan (Leviathan # 1) by Scott Westerfield
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Finally, tell me about the agent who wants steampunk novels!

Kathleen Ortiz was an editorial assistant and interactive media designer for the young adult section at Ballinger Publishing before becoming a literary agent with Lowenstein Associates. At Lowenstein, Kathleen represents Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA), and adult novels as well as being the Foreign Rights Manager. Some of Kathleen's clients (according to QueryTracker.net and Kathleen's blog) include: Jamie Reed (Kathleen just sold her YA Paranormal Soul Impulse!!!), Dawn Rae Miller, Jennifer Walkup, and Sarah Fine.

Good news for you? She is definitely looking for more clients!

So...if you have already written and polished your steampunk novel, OR if you are planning to write one (and you swear to polish, polish, polish it) then query Ms. Ortiz. How? Send an e-query to: assistant@bookhaven.com . Include the word QUERY and the title of your novel in the subject line. Address the query to Ms. Ortiz and paste the first ten pages into the body of the e-mail. DO NOT ATTACH your pages. The agency responds to all queries and usually does so in two to four weeks. For more detailed information on submissions, go here.

To find out more info on Kathleen Ortiz, check out the links below:

Neverending Page Turner
Interview: The Punching Bag Fights Back
Agent Wish list: Kathleen Ortiz

**DISCLAIMER** We are BY NO MEANS telling anyone to follow trends or try to hurry and write novels based on these features. This is for people who have written, or have been thinking about writing, on the topic presented.

Did you know about steampunk before reading this post? Or better yet, have you already started a WIP in this genre???


Holly Dodson said...

Hooray for Steampunk! ;) And thanks for the shout-out.

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw said...

Excellent post ladies. I'm definitely going to check out the links you provided, because I'm one of those who didn't really know 100% what steampunk is.

Of course, this means I'm screwed as far as my WIP goes, cause it ain't steampunk!! :)

Lori M. Lee said...

Great post! I'd also list Soulless by Gail Carriger for suggested reads :D

Abby Stevens said...

I really love steampunk, but I'm not sure it's a genre that's calling me quite yet. I've got an apocalyptic survival story on my mind. Very informative post, ladies!

Marquita Hockaday said...

Oooh, thanks for the book suggestion, Lori :)

Tere Kirkland said...

Love Steampunk! Leviathan is awesome, and so is the 2nd book, Behemoth. I loved the pictures since they really helped me imagine the great Clanker machines and Darwinist beasties.

I've always wanted to write a Steampunk since I love the time period, the idea of alternate histories, and the awesome inventions.

Great post!

Emy Shin said...

I adore Steampunk (all those brass and goggles!), though I'm afraid to tackle it due to the historical aspect. I focused on Victorian Lit in my English degree, but would be too terrified of getting facts and language incorrect.

Racquel Henry said...

Finally! I've come across a post that breaks it down! I wrote a blog post last year about genres based on a Writer's Digest article and I had no idea what Steampunk was (and admitted that in the post.) Thanks for this, now I get it! :)