Agents Who Represent Horror

Posted on: June 23rd, 2009 by Anthony Rapino 8 Comments

There are none.

Okay, I’m overreacting. But after my recent trip to the bookstore, I swear that’s not too far off.

You see, I’m searching for representation for my novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World. I’ve done all the proper research on query letters, synopses, and formatting. The novel is done and edited many times over. And I have the query set. So all that’s left to do is find agents that represent horror.

My quest began in the simplest, and most logical place: the internet. I found a few good sites, one or two of which even had search bars for “subject.” So I type HORROR.

And bam! Seventy-five listings. That wasn’t so hard. That is, I didn’t think it was hard until I began to peruse the listings.

The first few did in fact have “horror” under the types of fiction they represent. But once I read further, it became clear that many agencies simply list anything they may be open to. And not necessarily things they currently represent.

The listings I looked through had “what we are currently looking for” sections for each agent. And invariably, no matter what the front page of the listings said, the more in depth looks lacked “horror.”

Okay, no problem. Just keep looking. A few more listings in and I started seeing “Not currently accepting unsolicited submissions.”

Sal-right. So-kay. Keep looking. A few more in, and I start to notice that the search also lists people who are specifically not looking for horror. This is because the word horror appears in their listing, I assumed.

So I found one or two agents that actually want to represent horror. A good start, but I need more.

Today I went to the bookstore and snatched the holy grail of agent and publisher listings: Writer’s Market. I flip to the agents and start my search.

Unlike the previous listings, these mysteriously lacked “horror” in any of their “what we’re looking for” sections. They simply just left it out. And the few times I did see a mention, it was not comforting.

Does not want genre fiction. No horror. Does not represent horror.

Wuh oh. Again, I only managed a few agencies. It’s too bad I don’t write chick-lit, thrillers, or commercial fiction, because these seem to be the big three that nearly every agency wants.

So, as a last ditch effort, I checked the acknowledgment pages of a bunch of horror writers I like. I came away with another two or three. Not bad considering my luck so far.

At least I have a good starting point now.

Does anyone have tips for finding agents that represent horror?

8 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    It looks like Guide to Literary Agents usually lists around 20 or so agencies representing horror any given year.

    Best,

    Robert Lee Brewer
    Editor
    Writer's Market

  2. onipar... says:

    Robert, thanks for the tip.

    That was my preferred starting point, but the bookstore I went to was out of it. I think I'll order from Amazon.

    Thanks again.

  3. Rabid Fox says:

    I've had suspicions about agents listing "horror." Good post, as I suspect I'll have the same hangups when I start looking. (sad face)

  4. onipar... says:

    Thanks, Rabid.

    I have yet to check the book suggested by Robert (above), but I've been through other lists very carefully, and it's looking dismal.

    Of the very few agents that list "horror," not many seem to be "actively seeking" it.

    I do wish you luck in your search.

  5. Catherine J Gardner says:

    Do you think you could get away with labelling your books 'Dark Fantasy' in the query letter? I do that, though I've shifted to MG and YA books where there are several dozen agents interested in speculative fiction.

  6. onipar... says:

    Not a bad suggestion, Catherine. I think I could probably get away with "dark literature" or "dark fantasy" most of the time. But this particular novel is a take on zombies.

    And although the tone, voice, and themes more closely resemble authors like Chuck Palahniuk, I'm afraid most agents won't see past the word "zombie" in my query letter.

    That's why I'm targeting agents that specifically want horror. Though, I'll probably be forced to look outside that realm, and your suggestion will definitely help me get started.

    Thanks again.

  7. Akasha Savage says:

    Oh my…I know exactly where you're coming from. As you know, I too write horror, and although my MS is not quite fit for human consumption just yet, I too have been hunting for an agent.
    Mmmm…
    My 'bible' is The Writers & Artists Yearbook; it lists agents and publishers in their droves. But. Looking down the lists the same few words are repeating time and time again: No horror. No horror or SF.
    Where exactly does that leave us writers from the darkside?
    And why this lack of interest for a genre that many like to read?
    Good luck in your quest.

  8. Dark Angel says:

    I'm having a hard time, too.

    Have a list on my blog: http://www.darkangelwritingandreviews.com/p/horror-agents.html

    Best of luck!

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