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Satire and Genres

MonoZero

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From a publisher / agent's perspective is satire considered a genre or a sub genre? For example, if Animal Farm were published today, how would publishers see it in the marketplace?

Do books which aren't written to market, or that straddle genres face challenges being picked up?
 

CageSage

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I'm interested to see how this discussion goes. Not because of the satire question (I look at the original title and can't think satire at all - more roman a clef allegory), but because of the question of 'would this type of fence-straddler get picked up/sold today?'
 

gbhunt

Geraldine Briony H
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Firstly, you would have to get past the agents/publishers who want nothing to do with talking animals :) . so don't mention that.
 

RK Capps

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Publisher's and agent's want a book they can shelf in a bookstore, so have a wander around bookstores (when/if we ever can again) or phone and ask bookstore staff where they'd shelve a satire. You may find they are simply shelved under one of the bigger genres, i.e. romance, mystery, thriller, SFF etc
 

Hannah F

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A romance tells me what the book's genre is. A satirical romance tells me a little more about what to expect. A satire tells me only the way it's written and not what it's about. You can change "Romance" to any other category.

Animal Farm is regarded as a beast fable that is also an allegory or political satire. This gives us more genre information than just "satire".
 

Jonny

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In my experience, modern satirical books often seem to find their way into the humour section in Waterstones etc.

As far as how publishers and agents classify satire, genre straddlers and their general marketability, @AgentPete might be able to shed a little light.
 

E G Logan

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Do books which aren't written to market, or that straddle genres face challenges being picked up?
Mine certainly does. I could paper the kitchen with 'you've got an interesting story here, but it doesn't fit our publishing schedule/our list' and variations on that theme. They liked it, but it didn't fit.

This flies in the face of all the contrary advice you'll see out there: "Write the book that's inside you... Write from the heart. Don't write the next Dan Bown, write the next you..." Yeah, and watch the rejections pile up.
 

E G Logan

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I think – and, remember, I am a dyed in the wool cynic – you might need to describe satire as 'black comedy' to interest an agent.
 

AgentPete

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From a publisher / agent's perspective is satire considered a genre or a sub genre? For example, if Animal Farm were published today, how would publishers see it in the marketplace?
It’s not a clearly-recognised genre in the way that most major genres are, so e.g. the Ladybird books would find it a tough sell if they had to find the “satire” section somewhere. As it is, they seemed to occupy the prime next-to-till position in most bookshops I went into for a couple of years before lockdown, lucky books!

I would suggest that most “satire” books are probably sold more by the author’s own brand name than by the genre tag.
Do books which aren't written to market, or that straddle genres face challenges being picked up?
Yes, they do, but they can also be incredibly successful. Get it right and this can be a winning formula.
 

E G Logan

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Do books which aren't written to market, or that straddle genres face challenges being picked up?
Yes, they do, but they can also be incredibly successful. Get it right and this can be a winning formula.

Any hints as to how? Just one would do.
 

RK Capps

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Do books which aren't written to market, or that straddle genres face challenges being picked up?


Any hints as to how? Just one would do.

My guess would be it all boils down to confidence and telling a story the way you want ... happy to be corrected though :)
 
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