Monthly Archives: June 2013

Two New Trends in Young Adult (YA) Books

Tired of vampires and other incarnations of the undead? There’s hope!

The pendulum in YA is swinging away from the paranormal back toward contemporary fiction. Yes, zombies are also hot right now and it will take time before readers completely turn away from them. Meanwhile, publishers are ramping up to focus their marketing efforts again on modern fiction.

Mysteries and thrillers are also becoming hot for this age group. This is happening because YA readers reach into the adult market for these kinds of books but the material isn’t suited well to their level. So many more adult authors are shifting their focus or revamping material to fit YA readers.

New Trend in Academic Juvenile Publishing

The No Child Left Behind policy changed publishing when it first was implemented. Now the focus is shifting away from that and toward the Common Core.

This is a hot topic with publishers right now. The focus is on helping young readers gather facts and learn how to think.

This means that there is a renewed focus on nonfiction titles for young readers, particularly middle-grade chapter books. Publishers are looking for things that are fun to read, a little quirky, and especially things that don’t read like homework.

Have something that fits the bill? Dig it out…today! Hone your pitch to this new trend and fire it out!

New Juvenile Imprint

Algonquin Books, long known for their focus on high-quality fiction and nonfiction, is launching a juvenile imprint this fall.

They will start with five titles, a substantial amount considering that they limit their adult titles to a total of 20 every year.

Their goal is to eventually publish 15 juvenile titles in middle-grade and YA markets every year.

Whenever a publisher launches a new imprint, pay attention! Your chances of being considered are much higher as they work to build their list for years to come.

Novellas are on the Rise

One of the latest trends is an increase in the popularity of novellas.

It used to be that novellas were a tough sale. Often publishers and agents would only take them if they were paired with other novellas to create one long book or were embedded in a collection of short stories.

Ebooks have had a hand in changing this for the better. Novellas now are easier to sell because the market has changed. Reading on cell phones has had a particular impact because the shorter form is better suited to that style of consumption.

If you’ve been hanging onto a novella because you heard the market wasn’t buying, take it out of the drawer. See what happens when you send it out to agents and publishers today!

Good News for Indie Bookstores

The demise of Border and the reduced presence of B&N has actually had a benefit.

2012 turned out to be the best year ever for indie bookstores. They posted an 8% increase in profits over the year, which outpaced B&N’s slower growth. Publisher’s Weekly thinks “the worst days of the independents are behind them.”

Celebrate by visiting your local indie bookstore and making a purchase!

When to Revise Your Book

Just heard back from a client about his project’s status. We’ve been working on revisions and his agent is sending it out to publishers now.

If you’re questioning whether your work is ready to send out, consider a few things first.

Is the opening as compelling as it could be?

Does the story have a rising action with one event leading readers forward to the next?

Are your characters developed just enough–deeply for the protagonist and antagonist, and in a well-rounded manner for secondary characters?

Does the pace rise and fall throughout to provide readers with enough time to process emotional milestones while still driving them forward to the next chapter?

Does the ending fulfill the promises made in the opening pages?

Before you even begin the editing process, be sure your storytelling aspects are honed. You’ll be much further along than if you simply copy edit the words.

New Life in Newspapers

Before the collapse of printed newspapers, owners could expect a 30% profit margin from their businesses. Then came the e-revolution.

Times change, and even the revolution can generate good things. After flailing around a bit to try new things like e-publishing, newspapers have returned to print.

Shocking, I know. But it’s working. Now owners can expect about a 10% margin…still very, very good in terms of a business model. Many of the bigger papers that had gone out of print or to e-models are returning to print version.

This is great news for writers. Because hand-in-hand with the rebirth of newspapers is the idea that papers, above all other news forms, are reliable, consistent, and provide quality.

Check around your local area to see what opportunities might have sprung up out of the ashes. And good luck!

Agent Info

Agent J.L. Stermer of N.S. Bienstock seeks YA and women’s fiction (no paranormal romance, sci-fi, or fantasy). She is intrigued by dark, edgy stories, as well as those with a wry sense of humor. Particularly interested in a coming-of-age story from a male point-of-view.