Thursday, February 11, 2010

Market and Trend Thoughts: What's Selling and What's Sold

First, Kate has won a copy of Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER! I'll be emailing her later today to catch up and get an address.

Last night I dragged my butt into #YAlitchat at Twitter (it's a hashtag chat run by @Georgia_McBride --if you're into YA and capable of staying up past 9PM EST it's definitely worth joining). The discussion last night--trends in the YA market.

Here's what I was noticing as the conversation zipped by:

  1. Some folks wondering if vampires are finally dead. No, I did *not* jump in and make a snarky comment about them being "undead." ;-)
  2. Some misconceptions about the definition of paranormal. No, you don't have to have zombies or something dead reanimate (or something undead) to write a paranormal. 13 TO LIFE is paranormal and frankly, I could yank the werewolves out of book 2 entirely and it would *still* be paranormal because of the other craziness going on.
  3. Things people claimed young readers are tired of: undead hot guys. (I was like: Whew! Pietr and the others--not undead. Not even dead. Still hot. Close one! ;-)
  4. Lamenting a lack of good ole YA fiction. I've actually read more YA fiction this year than last year (or the year before) because of Class of 2k10 releases like OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS and THE SECRET YEAR. It's there, just not as prevalent in the current market. It doesn't mean you shouldn't write YA fiction if that's the story that calls you to write it.
  5. The same general advice I give: Don't try and write to a trend or catch a trend because publishing moves so slowly you won't succeed. (My addition to that line of thought--UNLESS you e-publish. You wanna piece of the current marketplace and have a story that's unfortunately timely for NOW? Seriously, seriously think e-publishing. Of course, if your story's amazingly powerful, it doesn't matter if it's perfectly timely. But think on that--the schedules of e-pubbing versus trad are waaaay different when it comes to lead time).
Now I've said that...Tomorrow's blog topic: HOW TO SPOT TRENDS (and my lousy predictions ;-).

LOL. Okay. You know I'm a fan of history--well, maybe not so much a fan as a "student of." Our species (like many others) repeats things. Elephants (birds, etc.) return to the same migration paths continually (until we arrogantly disrupt their paths--but I digress). We also do things predictably and in cycles. Most of us will return to within an hour's drive of where we grew up to raise our own family. Not because it's the best place ever, but because it's familiar--comfortable. We're still a species that goes with "the devil you know" instead of coping with "the fear of the unknown."

So, let's think a bit about what was hot over the past ten years and tomorrow we'll toy with what the next ten hold (unless the world ends in 2012 and then...*sigh*). ;-)



Indigo said...

My thoughts are if you're writing for a trend you won't stand out. If you tend to write something worthwhile that resonates a great story, it will stand out. That same factor works for you if somehow everyone decided to write about the same topic you did around the same time. Life is unpredicatable you can't possibly see ahead to that.

In the end simply write a story well and that you believe in. (Hugs)Indigo

Sara McClung ♥ said...

ooo thanks for the summary... I missed it, and I always try to read the transcripts on Georgia's site, but my eyes get so lost, ha.

I totally agree about trends. You need to write what you're driven to write, otherwise you'll never end up with as great a story as you could have.

Heather said...

That sums up the chat pretty well. It was a very interesting chat though I would have liked to see more talk of trends in what teenage guys are reading. I couldn't agree more that paranormal doesn't have to include vampires!

Shannon Delany said...

Hi Indigo! Yep, if you're writing FOR a trend, you'll definitely face big issues. But being aware of future trends can give you a heads-up (plus it's fun to see if your predictions are right ;-).

Sara, it was a good chat, but I agree--it's tough on the eyes (and people are so fast!). Absolutely write the story and characters you can't avoid writing.

Heather, I'm curious about what the teen guys are reading, too. I think there's still a big difference in what's being offered to them in terms of voice. One of my DH's old pals asked me if 13 to Life would be liked by guys like his nephew and I said as far as action and adventure, yeah--but I honestly don't know how uncomfortable it is for a guy to read from Jess's POV. I mean, my agent and editor and a couple betas are male, but... Anyhow, that's one of the reasons one of my future projects is split POV. Boys deserve a voice, too.

Thanks for your input, girls!

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