Underrepresented voices

Okay folks, it’s time for me to clarify something in my bio. It says that I’m looking for “underrepresented voices,” and that’s totally true. However, it seems that line has caused some confusion.

Here are the two most common reactions I have to that line as evidenced in my slush.

Number 1: “You say you want underrepresented voices. I wrote a zombie thriller!” This is a lovely effort to convince me that the thing you’ve written is exactly what I want, but it tends not to work.

Number 2: “You say you want underrepresented voices. What’s more underrepresented than the middle class white male? What happened to our point of view?” To those, I now simply respond with an mp3 of me hitting my head against my desk.

So to clarify, by underrepresented, I basically mean racial, religious, ethnic, or sexual minorities. Here’s the tricky part: why should people writing those books come to me? I’m so white I’m translucent, and it’s not like I can speak for all religious or sexual minorities either. The honest answer is simply that I’m interested. Whether or not that’s enough to qualify me to sell those books is totally up to the author to decide.

To further clarify, I DO still love zombie thrillers. They’re just not what I was referring to here.

12 Responses to Underrepresented voices

  1. Ciara says:

    God jim everything you say makes me want you as an agent so badly. you’re perfect…but my ms isn’t finished.

    oh and that tricky bit about you having to like it too.

  2. RamseyH says:

    What about differently-abled? 😀

  3. Thanks for reaching out to those of us who don’t fall into the mainstream. I like to think folks who are on a different path have great stories and perspectives to offer to everyone.

  4. Sheesh, too bad I’m a white middle class British Mormon. I suppose I’m under-represented in that my fifth novel is being published next month and I don’t have an agent, but that kind of under-representation means I get to keep all my royalties…

    My fantasy novel is about “disabled” people who have been bred that way for a particular purpose but I already sent that to Rachel Stout. Nice to have clarification like this, though.

  5. DBurks says:

    I am a farmer. Who could possibly be more rare in the literary world? Maybe that is why I do not understand all the dystopic urban fantasy novels.

  6. Aonghus Fallon says:

    I guess the confusion might lie in the context. Underrepresented in society as a whole? – ie. a minority? Or underrepresented in literary terms? Quite often one is the inverse of the other, as there is a substantial body of writing that tries to address the experience of minorities.

  7. Dave Sosnowski says:

    I don’t know, Jim. That last line sounds a little condescending, like saying “Some of my best friends are zombie thrillers.” I, for one, believe that decompositionally-challenged cranial-vores are grossly underrepresented among published authors, if for no other reason than the fact that their fingers tend to break off while typing and voice recognition software doesn’t get you very far when your entire vocabulary consists of the word, “brains,” usually rendered all but inaudible due to rotting vocal cords. That being the case, I really have to ask: Who will speak for the zombies, especially when they can’t speak (much) for themselves?

    • V Lynn Burgess says:

      Keep writing Dave! Enjoyed your response immensely, and I’m not a zombie reader but I might start if you write the stories!

  8. Hi, Jim,

    I might have something of interest for you. The Blinded Gardener is about an seventeen-year-old military brat who is abused by his alcoholic Marine Corp Captain father. The mc is pulled from his Southern California roots and moved to Beaufort, South Carolina. His life becomes more unbearable with each passing day. But then he is befriended by a blind student who has some major issues of his own. Throw in a sexy redhead to steam things up. She is the former girlfriend of the blind student and he wants her back, however she wants the mc.

    Sound interesting? I would love to send you a full query and some pages if you are interested.



    • C. says:

      It’s always such a bummer when I don’t understand whether or not the query is supposed to be a joke. Querying in the comments section is a joke, surely, so that must make the query itself a joke, too – but it’s not funny enough for that.

      I give up.

  9. Gary Ryan says:

    How about ex-convicts? There’s an underrepresented segment for you! And they don’t stay “ex-convicts” for very long because with a seventy percent recidivism rate here in California, they quickly end up being “convicts” again. The situation is dismal all across the country.
    America imprisons more of its citizens than any other place in the world. This is a very well kept secret that needs some light. My book, “Blessings in Disguise/A Tale of Redemption,” shows how one person was able to end the revolving door of jails and institutions. Check out my Author’s page on Amazon.com.

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