They basically want genre fiction. Like fantasy fiction or science fiction or modern romance or horror.
An agent I contacted rejected me outright, saying my novel has "no commercial potential."
It's great hearing some guy in Brooklyn telling you that your writing has no commercial potential. I'm glad I spent all that time writing the novel, paying to have it professionally edited and sending it out, only to be told it will never sell.
Maybe I should try crafting fantasy fiction. I know there's a market for it. Below is a sample of a story that I think editors will jump at the chance to publish. It's got action, adventure and nubile maidens and is about a superhero who battles fantastical enemies in a crazy alternate Earth.
I just know that any agent or editor will sign me to a four book deal if they read this.
It's called WonderWinkle.
WonderWinkle takes no prisoners and prefers it that way.
High above the world in his mountainous fortress deep within the ice-capped Himalayas, WonderWinkle views the wretched excesses of humanity with a scrying crystal he received over a millennium ago from an enchantress he bedded in the gloomy netherworld of Aghartha. There, deep within the murky caverns of the Hollow Earth, by the crumbling remnants of Shangri-La, WonderWinkle received his immortality by paying a steep price: his very sanity. Driven mad in the starry womb of the Angel Memnok the Inscrutable, WonderWinkle viewed the whole of the universe in a brief flash. All of creation and destruction he beheld in one churning, violent second, and screamed in tormented pain, which reverberated through the cold eons.
Imprisoned in the frost jails of the Bal-Hoard of Taratrus, WonderWinkle spent centuries scheming and planning for his liberation. Starved, naked and crazed, he supped on the rotting flesh of fallen prisoners and drank his own sweat and urine, satiating his hunger and thirst and fortifying his strength. Mightily, he fought his captors, first with his bare fists and then pike, lance and sword he freed from the dead bodies of the guardians. Clad only in a leather loincloth, flip-flops and a metal helmet, WonderWinkle destroyed the Five Armies of Lemuria in a blood-soaked battle that lasted 200 years.
When he emerged victorious from the conflict, WonderWinkle made his way to the Gates of Abaddon, where the Sorcerer-Worm Kamasotto challenged him to a duel of the mind with a riddle quest. For the next decade WonderWinkle, tricked by the wily magician, wandered blind in the fungi forest of Mirth, looking for a salve to placate his wounded eyes, which were rendered blank by an insidious spell.
Tired from his moist journey in the mushroom patches, WonderWinkle sat at the foot of a dung bush when he heard a voice belonging to a Mold Fairy, who promised the brave adventurer a cure for his blindness if he would kill the Minotaur haunting the forests. Using the bones of a slain mold dragon, WonderWinkle impaled the Minotaur, skinned the creature and wore its pelt as an overcoat. The Mold Fairy returned his vision and with renewed vigor, WonderWinkle cornered Kamasotto and cleaved his scull in twain with the enchanted Sword of a Thousand Wounds, which he stole from the hermaphrodite troll Floppo, who dwelled in the Ashen Pits of Daemonseed.
Then he did mortally wound Atog the Horrible One, the six-headed, four-assed dragon who guarded the Portal of Dreams. Amid the Dream World, he slew the Frog Warriors and Cyclops Werewolves before purging for good the foul Zombie King Doomshredder.
Bursting from the Dream World, WonderWinkle trudged through the Vomit Fields of Perdition and broke through the Earth’s crust to reach the surface world, where he used his super powers to fly to the Himalayas where he did battle with the Ronin of Light and defeated him.
In the Temple of a Million Light Flutters, WonderWinkle bedded several concubines who fed him fatted calf and mulled wine and anointed his body with scented oils and musky aftershave. After slaking his carnal desires, WonderWinkle built his fortress, using cheap Mexican labor to construct the outer steel bulkheads and gun turrets that graced his palatial mountain redoubt.
Within the protected confines of his lair, WonderWinkle, clothed in spandex jumpsuit, flowing cape and hobnailed boots, manned Odeon, his powerful supercomputer that could control every satellite in orbit and every computer on Earth. With this much vast power, Odeon became self-aware and threatened to plunge the world into a second Dark Ages. WonderWinkle responded by fighting this menacing machine. For a solid year WonderWinkle battled Odeon and his electrical minions, gigantic robots built from artificial intelligence and forged from a Japanese assembly plant cursed by dark magic. The automaton army nearly laid waste to WonderWinkle’s fortress, but he bravely fought them with his heatvision, freezevision and lukewarmvision.
WonderWinkle triumphed over the robot army and secured his mountain realm, where he rules as an absolute autocrat and protector of humanity. His steel-eyed gaze contemplates the violent whims of humanity as he sits on his golden throne, surrounded by wolverines, Bengal tigers and chained naked maidens who feed him grapes, sweetmeats and Hostess cupcakes.
Nobody will ever defeat the superhero and human god who calls himself WonderWinkle, though many have tried in vain. And these attempts, though feeble they are, make WonderWinkle smile. For WonderWinkle laps up the tears of his wounded enemies and feasts like a glutton on their misery.
That’s because WonderWinkle, despite being a living Titan, superhuman and modern marvel, is somewhat of a dick.