Fellow authors–I need advice.
If you have a nontraditional story format, how do you handle page requests?
Both of the novels I’m currently querying for are–unusual, to say the least. I actually think that’s a strength of them, but I’m worried now that it is handicapping my querying. One, Undead Rising, is a gamebook, in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure books.
The other, Alt.World, is told through the eyes of two main characters–but “news” articles illuminating the pre-dystopian past, as well as cryptic messages, are folded in. All these pieces make complete sense by the end of the book, but at the beginning, it’s pretty open-ended and…well, a bit weird, if you’re expecting the normal “Chapters 1-3.” (It’s not unlike Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin or The Handmaid’s Tale or maybe even Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. The pros do it! But then again, they’re pros, they can do whatever…)
I recently had a page request for Alt.World, and while there was praise in the response I got back (“Solid writing!” *swoon*), she was (understandably, perhaps) confused by the interspersed news articles and the preliminary far-too-cryptic-to-be-yet-understood messages. And she passed on it.
So I’m wondering what I should do: send in 50 pages, excluding the news articles/messages, etc. to make an easier read for agents by putting it in a format they expect? Or continue sending it as it is, as the story truly is, and hope to eventually find an agent who “gets” it–and possibly creating a harder path for myself in the meantime?
Anyone have any experience in this situation?