I did it.
I submitted a partial of Sunday is for Suspects to an agent. The upside is that she called me pretty quickly and we chatted for a good long while about the mystery market vs the romance market. Since my story neatly straddles the two genres, it's a conversation worth having.
I learned that it's devilishly difficult to break into the mystery market because of things like shelf space and the preponderance of already established authors with long series which aren't going to give up any of that important real estate. We talked about the fact that just as romance has taken an erotic turn, mystery/suspense has gone ever grittier.
My story is not. My protagonist has a determinedly upbeat voice even when she's down, along with a healthy dose of what she calls "Ozarks snark." I want to create a town full of people you halfway recognize and want to know more. On the way to solving a mystery and watching Lacy Evans vacillate between the two guys in her life, I want to take my readers home to Coldwater and have them enjoy the trip.
CSI, it's not. No Bones gross-out scenes either. Though there will be some suspense. Lacy has gotten sideways of some pretty serious people and is still in danger, no matter how far she runs from Boston.
So anyway, there are things to think about in deciding the direction Sunday is for Suspects should take. Perhaps a bit more on the contemporary romance side. Or I might explore the CBA market, which is looking for suspense titles. While I've been aiming for a romance on the sweet side, I'm not ready to give up the idea that the mainstream mystery/romantic suspense market might have room for this kind of story.
I'll be talking with the agent again soon. Will let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if you haven't tried the first chapter of Sunday is for Suspects, you might want to pop over now and let me whisk you away to Coldwater, OK, home of tiny Bates College where the degrees are so obscure its graduates are guaranteed NOT to find a job in their field of study.