Monthly Archives: January 2014

Great News for Debut Authors

Elise Parsley went from query to book deal in 72 hours.

Her work is a picture book called If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! Little, Brown made a preemptive offer (meaning one that was intended to eliminate other bids and a potential bidding war).

The story sparks with creativity and chaos. In juvenile publishing as in other forms of fiction, that creative spark is critical! And yes, quality still sells!


Publishing Trends: Christian

Texts that deal with Biblical information and themes have long been popular with readers. In fact, publishing a Bible often anchors a publishing house with a text that continues to generate sales year after year.

This leaves the arena wide open for authors writing Christian-based works. In addition to novels that deal with spiritual topics, the nonfiction area is strong. Topics can be academic in nature or geared toward mainstream audiences reading at home on their own.

Keep an eye on titles that are coming out to determine which publisher is best for your Christian work.

Book Agent Info

John Weber of Serendipity Lit is looking for middle grade and YA fiction with universal themes and unique settings. Interested in realistic historical fiction, well-researched science fiction with no fantasy elements.

Publishing Trends: Middle Grade

More great news in publishing. Amulet paid a seven-figure deal for a new middle grade series. The four-book deal is for The Terrible Two, which follows two pranksters.

Middle grade books are alive and well. In fact, some chatter has been overheard lately about adults purchasing these books for their own reading pleasures. They’ve been doing that for YA titles for some years now. Although the numbers likely aren’t the same for middle grade, the fact that some folks are admitting to reading the books rather than only buying them for their kids proves that the story counts.

More on YA Trends

Yesterday I discussed the latest trends in YA, and noted that everyone is looking for a YA thriller right now.
It seems that Finland has hit the mark. A YA series has come out and the rights have been sold in 33 territories. The first book, As Red as Flood, was released in Feb 2013. Book two came out in August and the third is scheduled for spring of 2014.

Don’t wait! If you’re finished with a YA thriller, get your pitch together now!

Publishing Trends: YA

Agents are reporting that the number of submissions they’re receiving in the YA category can average 10,000 every year. To ensure your work stands out, consider the latest trends.

The market these days is more sophisticated. Your story has to be sharper and smarter than ever before.

Paranormal elements are fading rapidly; they’ve been overdone.

Contemporary realism continues to be a mainstay.

Stories that offer a hook that allows the book to rise above the masses of other available titles are always in demand. Hone your pitch pieces (the query letter, book proposal, synopsis, etc.) so that your project has the best chance in this area.

Deep emotional topics are in demand because they help guide readers who might be dealing with the same issues.

Thrillers are a big area set for growth. Everyone’s looking for the YA version of Gone Girl.

How Publishers Determine the Bottom Line

Pitching your book to a publisher has always involved more than simply the book itself. All along, publishers have been interested in the author as much as the author’s ideas. That’s because readers want to purchase a specific person’s books more often than one from someone they don’t feel like they know.

Additionally, the publisher runs calculations about the book when deciding whether to make a contract offer. The calculations include typesetting, cover art and printing costs, the interest they’ll pay on the money they’ll spend until the book begins to generate revenue, the projected revenue, and subsidiary rights. All that calculates the potential or projected return on investment.

The desired ROI, by the way, is about 8 percent. Less than that and publishers don’t want to bite.

Book Agent Info

Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Lit Agency is looking for middle grade works in contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical. In YA, she’s open to any genre but is looking especially for YA with a strong romantic element. In New Adult, she seeks romance and adult romance but is open to any genre.

Book Agent Info

Katie Reed of Andrea Hurst & Assoc wants areas of YA fiction. Especially interested in commercial works with a compelling hook and a protagonist who battles real life issues, soft sci-fi, and fantasy.

Also accepts commercial and literary adult fiction for book club women’s, soft sci-fi, fantasy, suspense/thriller, and contemporary romance.

Nonfiction needs: memoir/biography, self-help, crafts/how-to, inspirational, and parenting.

Great News in Publishing…Finally!

Simon & Schuster said that the publisher is on track to deliver “record profits” and will see its best margins ever. The success is being credited to the publisher’s award-winning titles as well as the sophisticated ways they’ve been reaching out to readers.

The publisher’s digital revenues are at 27% of their total sales, providing that they’re working hard to keep pace with new trends in technology and reading habits.

After so many years of sad tidbits, it’s great to see that one of the legacy publishers still knows how to get the formula right…even when the formula keeps shifting.