I've just returned from a weekend in Alabama for a couple wonderful book events, and some of the women I met there proved my point yet again: there are female racecar fans who read and love mysteries. I know there's a market out there for my book, because I know there are other people just like me out there ... and I met a few of them this weekend.
I tell a story sometimes about the first response I got when I sent queries out about my book to agents. It came in within 12 hours of my sending the pitch, by return e-mail, and it was a rejection. In part, it read: "Sounds too butch for women readers to be interested in. I might be interested in a romance set in racing, but not a mystery."
This because my protagonist is a female racecar driver who goes after what she wants and solves a mystery while also kicking butt on the track.
Fortunately, even at the time, I laughed. I still laugh at that, as I meet women who are not only race fans but readers all over the country. Not one of them thinks racing or my protagonist Kate is too butch. (Though one of them this weekend did ask for more romance in all mysteries.)
In fact, I made a couple new BFFs this weekend, talking racing with a number of women (and one husband), including a woman who, like me, is the bigger, more rabid racing fan in her marriage. We bonded over how our husbands would roll their eyes and say, "whatever, honey" at our enthusiasm.
I have two points to make:
1. There is definitely a market for my female, racecar-driving, amateur sleuth. It may not be as large as for some less strange occupation, but even if small, it is proud and enthusiastic!
2. Thanks to Debi, Krista (and Toby), and Karen, for the southern hospitality this weekend and for becoming new racing buddies!