The blogs are abuzz with chatter post-Bologna 2012 Children's Book Fair from agents and editors alike talking about what the upcoming trends in YA will be. The truth is, it almost seems like it's anyone's guess, which is refreshing, and feels like it evens out the playing field for all. Perhaps there is a sense that today's YA readers are diverse, and not necessarily just young adults, but like young adults, their interests can vary and change. One minute they may want a good sci-fi novel and the next, curl up with a good mystery, and then get swept up in a good romance. Good news all.
If you watch the listings on Publisher's Marketplace as of late, there seems to be a plethora of books still being bought in the paranormal, dystopian and fantasy realms. However, buzz suggests that psychological thrillers and even science fiction are of particular interest, as stated in informative articles like this one from Publisher's Weekly Online. According to William Roberts, who handles foreign rights for The Gernert Company, dystopian has become "the d-word" and paranormal "the p-word." And agent Sarah Davies tweeted from Bologna that people want melty - as in make you melt into a puddle of goo - romances. Great news for people like me who write contemporary humorous romantic YA! Is the door at last cracking open with an interest to revisit this timeless genre??
Agent Kristin Nelson blogged today on her blog "Pub Rants" that she also didn't know what the next trend was, but she heard lots of people on the plane ride over that the next hot trend could be geeks in young adult fiction, which, of course, would be amazing. I mean, hello? My book is called BAND GEEK? Does it get geekier than that? And there's romance! Did I mention the romance?
On the other side of the fence, as an avid reader and lover of YA, I am excited that my reading choices will be broader. And as a writer, it reinforces in me more than ever the importance of writing what I love to read, because trends constantly change, and eventually what I write may have it's moment to be the flavor-of-the-month. Because I write contemporary romantic YA, it's timeless, and there are always teenagers looking to swoon and fall in love, even if it does not involve vampires, werewolves or zombies.
There's never been a more exciting time to write young adult. Even best-selling adult novelists like Phillippa Gregory and Jodi Picoult, to name a few, are diving in, according to USA Today.
So don't give up because you're feeling discouraged that what you write isn't what is "in demand." Right now, everything is wide open, and what is selling, at the end of the day, is quality writing. The stories that make you curl your toes, stay up late and keep turning the pages. A solid story with memorable characters, a strong voice, and a unique take on events stands out regardless of genre. Remember who you are writing for - yourself and your audience - NOT agents and editors. Write the story you want to tell, and believe that the reader will appear.