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Question
Hi. An agent recently asked me to send them an assessment of my manuscript's market and its strengths in the market. My novel is a paranormal romance so I thought you might be able to give me some advice on how to find more info on the market. I've been all over the web but can't find specific numbers to indicate how well paranormal romance sells. Also don't know how to format a market assessment sheet.

Answer
Hi, Carol!

This seems like a VERY strange thing for an agent to be asking, if they already sell in the genre. Are you confident about the agent's ability to sell the book (as in, have they sold OTHER paranormal romances?) The agents I know who rep pararom and urban fantasy are very familiar with the sales numbers and certainly wouldn't be asking the author to produce this. While it's a common question in NF, it's really not in fiction.

I'd suggest you first check to be sure that the agent is NOT on the list of "Twenty Worst Agents" put out by Writer Beware, a watchdog site.  Here's  a link:

http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/twentyworst.html

If they're not on it, that's good. If they are, run away fast.

Thenk I'd suggest you consider joining Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwanational.org ) It's a little pricey, but the information you'll gain is invaluable. One of the very best things about membership is a special list of agents to look at with all the current contact info who are "approved" by the organization for having sold books in the genre.

If you can't afford that, I understand and I'd be happy to help you you with some names of pararom agents if you tell me who you've already approached (hate to duplicate names if we don't have to.)

Good luck and let me know!

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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