Monday, August 13, 2018

Cli-Fi novels are in the air for sure now in 2018, but publishing execs and literary agents don't want to talk about the genre.

''With more and more cli-fi novels and movies on tap, I cannot stop thinking about how it is now possible to mine affecting, resonant drama out of the certainty of climate change catastrophe. It's no longer science fiction. What I'm saying here is that living through the twilight of humankind is gonna be worth it for future cli-fi novels and movies.''

-- Stephen Kelly, UK culture writer in London

Cli-Fi novels are in the air for sure now in 2018, but publishing execs and literary agents don't want to talk about the genre. Not in public. Not for being quoted. Cli-fi? Their lips are sealed: the acquiring editors, the marketing mavens, the PR departments , the book tour promoters and organizers, the sales reps, the bookstore sales buyers, the publishing CEOs, nobody wants to go public about cli-fi 's future in the book biz. 

The world is on fire? Who cares? So what? The summer of 2018? 

Try to get any of the movers and shakers in the book industry on the phone or by email to talk about cli-fi you won't hear a peep from any of them. Radio silence. Dead phone lines. Podcasts that never get aired. What's the problem?

If you know any agents or publishers or editors who are willing to talk, give me a holler. I am all ears. I am planning to interview Morgan Entrekin, John Freeman, Pamela Paul, Alexandra Alter, Dwight Garner, literary agent Nicole Aragi and 20 other movers and shakers in the book world. Until then, happy reading.

And: Meanwhile, those of you who writing cli-fi novels, or planning to write a cli-fi novel, don't give up. The publishing world is waking up, slowly. Your work can help! Will help! Will make a difference!

AND:  Most people in the book world won't talk publicly about cli-fi novels. They won't talk cli-fi. Don't know why. Video Cats got their tongues? They won't talk climate. The won't talk apocalypse. Why? Ask them.

Ask the literary agents if they are getting more cli-fi submissions for books, they won't talk. Ask the pr people if they are setting up national book tours for cli-fi novelists. They won't talk to you. Ask the editors if they're actively looking for cli-fi manuscripts now. They won't talk to you. Not in public. In private at the Four Seasons sure. But not for the public record.

Why? You have to ask the gatekeepers in the book biz. You have to ask the book reviewers and literary critics. Nobody wants to talk about cli-fi. Not in the book business. Not for attribution. 

So what if the world is ending and Nat Rich is to blame? Publishing is about profits, not causes or prophecies. Call any major publisher for a quote and they'll hang the phone up right to your face. They ain't taking. They could care less. They're dining on fine fish and lobster wine at the Four Reasons. No time to talk. One publishing exec said two words point blank -- ''not interested.'' I won't say his name . He's revered in NYC and London.

''Is that in America? Australians are happy to talk Cli-fi. Why wouldn't they? They'll talk about whatever literature the market is interested in.''

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