Tag Archives: young adult

What Children’s Books Can Teach Adult Fiction Authors

The AWP held their annual conference earlier this month. Among their other great offerings was a panel focused on children’s publishing.
One author stated that characters are paramount in children’s and YA stories. The plot comes from the characters. Who each person is in the story creates the story. Each is presented with challenges or obstacles they must overcome. From that comes the different plot points and thus the entire story.
Another point was that there are no pointless characters. If one shows up but never plays an important role, that character should be struck.
A different author noted that “rumination” is part of the story. That is, the characters have to have backstories, histories that detail where they come from and why they’re motivated to act certain ways.
Finally, in response to a question about how to write for the market, one author said to write what inspires you. From there, you can determine how best to pitch and place the work in the existing market.
All of these points apply equally to adult fiction. Characters do create the plot and impact the story. They should have backstories. No character should ever be pointless, and the author should always write what interests them rather than what they think will sell.
The only difference is that in children’s and YA publishing, the author utilizes different language, changes sentence layouts, uses less complex storytelling structures, and of course mostly will write shorter manuscripts.
Everything else is just quality fiction.

Advertisements

Numbers that Matter from Nielson’s Children’s Book Summit

Nielson’s 2014 summit offered statistics gathered for the previous 4 years in children’s/YA publishing. In addition to posting growth all those years, the categories that performed the best were YA and middle-grade books (also called chapter books).
2014 was reported to be the “best year ever” for the C/YA category. Last year, 17 of the 20 top-performing books were C/YA. A full 35% of the market for physical books is in this category for US sales.

2014 Book Publishing Up Thanks to YA

2014 was a strong year for publishing. The industry is up 4.9%, and for the first time in a while, print books are regaining their position over ebooks.
Trade sales are up 2.8% due mostly to a 22.4% increase in the children’s/YA category. I’ve been posting about the gangbuster sales YA and other juvenile titles have been seeing in recent years, rarely moreso than in 2014, so this comes as no surprise. But its impact has lifted the industry as a whole because adult fiction and nonfiction are down 3.8%. So not only did J/YA rise on its own, it also made up for real declines in other areas.
Currently 47 titles I’ve helped write, edit and pitch to publishers and agents are under contract. A significant portion are in the C/YA category. If you need help with your project, send me an email or call today.

2014 Book Sale Numbers; Children’s/YA Keeps Growing

These numbers just in from the Association of American Publishers:

In the first five months of 2014, total net book sales rose 3.9% over the previous year to $2.652 billion.

The children’s/YA categories continues to soar with sales up 30.5%, to $695.9 million.

Adult fiction and nonfiction fell 3.6%, to $1.726 billion.

Sales of religious presses slipped 0.1%, to $230.2 million.

Total trade e-book sales rose 7% to $669.7 million.

Trade paperbacks were up 6.3%, to $793.4 million.

Trade hardcover sales were down 0.2%, to $867.1 million.

Is New Adult Only YA + Sex?

New Adult became an official category in 2013 when it received its own Book Industry Standards and Communications Code. The genre is generally considered to be stories that feature primarily college-aged heroines learning to deal with life in their early twenties…with a special emphasis on romance and sex.

While I agree that this category targets primarily female readers between 18 and 25, the YA + Sex idea is too restrictive. Putting aside the idea that sex is usually tied to some emotional response (whether the characters admit it or not), NA is much more than YA + Sex.

Just as YA broke boundaries by working with content that reflected the real coming-of-age struggles of teenagers approaching adulthood, NA can have the same impact. Publishers like Atria went from producing zero NA titles in 2012 to its current goal of releasing 15-20 each year. As the category finds its readers and more publishers move into the arena, NA stories will expand to encompass much more than teen angst plus sex.

Anytime there is a new movement like this in publishing, it’s important to be part of the first wave. Yes, your entry into publishing will be more difficult because publishers (and booksellers) right now are not sure where the category might go. So show them! Send out your unique NA manuscript. Be the first, and reap the rewards by launching your career by leading the way.

 

12 New YA Imprints

Here’s a list of YA publishers that have launched recently (within about the last 5 years).

Akashic/Black Sheep Books wants stories with engaging, realistic, and diverse characters that young adults (and adults, the critical second audience for YA stories) can relate to.

Amazon/Skyscape seeks engaging stories for teens and adult crossover readers from diverse genres including contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Capstone/Switch looks for a  wide variety of genres and formats including graphic novels, westerns, romance, illustrated memoir, historical fiction, realistic fiction, science fiction and nonfiction, including how-to.

Carolrhoda Lab wants distinctive, provocative, boundary-pushing fiction for teens.

ChiTeen seeks dark, well-written genre fiction that includes science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and horror; stories that don’t necessarily have a happy ending.

F&W/Merit Press looks for a Millennial version of classic YA novels: deeply emotional stories about ordinary kids caught in extraordinary circumstances, coming of age in a complex contemporary world.

Harlequin Teen wants commercial YA fiction of all genres.

Month9Books seeks speculative fiction where nothing is as it seems.

Poisoned Pen Press/Poisoned Pencil looks for edgy mysteries and complex stories that capture “the vibrant teen cocktail of superior wisdom, immediate need, and sometimes hidden honesty.”

Soho Teen looks for mysteries and thrillers.

Sourcebooks Fire wants innovative storytelling in all genres in authentic teen voices.

Triangle Square Editions/Seven Stories Press looks for works that combine social justice and good storytelling. Tagline: “Telling personal stories of courage and commitment.”

Zondervan/Blink likes storytelling that inspires, enriches, and uplifts.

Profits Up 83% at HC Due to Juvenile Authors

Citing e-books as a major cause, operational efficiencies and higher revenue in general, profits rose 83% at HarperCollins for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. The total reached $53 million, up from $29 million the same time last year. 

Sales and profits were driven by the Divergent series, which sold more than 8 million units that quarter. The children’s division in general was also cited as a major reason for this jump, and the increase was spectacular even without the impact of the Divergent series. 

This is great news for authors writing for juvenile readers. The trend across all juvenile titles for all publishers, including the hot children’s book market and the strong chapter book market, is for increasing sales and bigger profits.

Writer’s Resource is one of the few places where authors can find in-depth, experienced assistance with their juvenile works. Email or call today to discuss how your project can take advantage of this firestorm!