If you are new to writing urban fantasy, let me just say, I hope you purchased a helmet and bought a kevlar bra for the query process because the ride is bumpy. I’ve been querying UF for several years and wow my heart broke each time I finished editing a story because I knew what is in store for me. I have a collection of personalized yet still form rejections that range from “I love your pages but I’ve found there is no market right now for Urban Fantasy.” to “Urban Fantasy was really over bought by publishers in the past, unless this could be a paranormal romance I don’t think there is a market. ” followed by the genetic keep trying your just not right for me.
To make things more complicated I love the character dynamic opportunities of shape shifters when writing so no matter what other supernatural fun things I play with they are there in the mix and agents see that and think “not unique”. I get it. I write in a niche genre so it is going to take time and dedication if I want to go the traditional route. Luckily I am not in a rush and have a very thick skin.
The time those agents took to tell me “It’s not your book baby its the market” kept me from worrying (well too much) about the quality of my writing. Of course I still went out and hired a professional editor just to check, but that is another story. So I go through periodic soul searching. Do I try to write in another genre? Do I give up my long term plot goals and let my MC hook up with her hottie in book one?
So I started writing romance and of course picked the one sub genre of romance that is just a hard to sell as UF motorcycle club. I actually knew several men in 1% clubs which is why I picked it but again that is another story. What killed my drive to write HEA was a divorce that hit me out of the blue. (Cue pity party music … wait nope not my jam)
So now what? No matter what the un enlightened say Urban Fantasy w/romantic elements is not the same as paranormal romance. If your primary or at least secondary plot isn’t about the relationship then it isn’t a romance. Plus you really need a HEA or HFN ending with the relationship and I like the slow imperfect relationships that take several books to blossom.
Ok what to do…. well I can’t tell you what to do but for me I say, “Screw the market!” I love writing Uf, I dream urban fantasy, and I’m not going to stop or give up. I’ve made a promise to myself that if I haven’t found an agent/ publisher by the time I retire then I will focus on self publishing all the beautiful novels I will have completed. Because believe you me if you want to be successful at self publishing it is a full time job. As a single mother of two and a full time engineer I can’t do that and still have time to write.
The rollercoaster to traditionally publishing Urban Fantasy is wild, but to be able write what I love I’ll buy a ticket every time. If nothing else I meet great people along the way and learn new things all the time.