The other trend I’ve noticed relates to platform, and more
specifically, taking one form of entertainment and engagement
and turning it into a book. You Tubers, animators, Instagram
celebrities—these content creators are extending their brands
into books in really fun and creative ways.
Our YA export sales have increased across our titles, in both
hardcover and international paperback editions. Our authors
now directly engage with fans all over the world on a daily basis,
and those fans don’t want to lose out on getting the book as
close to release as possible.
Folio Literary Management
These days I think it’s not so much about
what’s trending—it’s about what’s
good. It’s about the novel they actually
want to read on the plane home, not
the one that feels like homework. You
can’t fake that kind of enthusiasm for
a book; publishers know when we’re passionate about something and take note.
We’re also more and more open to tailoring certain titles to
particular foreign markets. I have conversations with foreign
publishers who love most of a book, but want to know if edits
can be done to suit their market in certain cases. We’re always
happy to discuss that, with the author’s approval. If a proposed
edit is true to the author’s vision for the book but will make it
more appealing to a particular foreign readership, then we want
to make that book as accessible as possible.
The Chudney Agency
In the U.S., I’m finding that dystopian isn’t in demand, and
there still lots of interest in all kinds of middle grade. For YA,
I can’t say I’m being asked for anything in particular, but realistic contemporary is still selling well, though I am noticing
lots of YA deals where the plot has some kind of otherworldly
element to it. I’m selling a smattering of everything across the
board—and my submissions are also reflecting that. Many editors are mentioning diversity, of course, yet I’m still not seeing
as many deals to match publishers’ rhetoric.
In Europe, we’re also seeing an uptick for middle grade
Molly Ker Hawn,
novels, especially in Italy and France. YA in France has to have
a strong topic and good characters. In Germany, emotional
novels are very attractive now: friendship, family, and love are
hot topics in all genres. Emotional, moral, or social issues are
really heating up, as long as they are woven into a convincing
story with strong, real characters. Fantasy and adventure still
work, but only with established authors (i.e. Rick Riordan).
Middle grade editors are always looking for good fantastic sto-
ries in a world that feels real.
The Bent Agency
We’re seeing more submissions from
diverse voices, which is really gratifying. Our agents have been very vocal
about wanting to discover more projects from underrepresented communities, and I think we’re being heard.
And overall, we’re seeing an uptick in
short rhyming picture book texts, middle
grade fantasy/magical adventures, YA high fantasy, and YA
“issue books,” especially the really heavy ones.
I think middle grade is getting a little harder, because so
many publishers filled up on it over the last year or so; conversely, there seems to be more openness to YA than at this time
last year. I’m seeing more willingness to look at YA science
fiction, as well as nonfiction across all ages.
We’re doing really well with YA and some middle grade in
Europe—Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have been very
robust for us, and we’ve seen a rise in Eastern European sales.
Middle grade is trickier, because every territory has its own
cultural taste, and English-language writers don’t always write
to those tastes. But we’ve had some success internationally with
middle grade fantasy and contemporary recently, and when a
foreign publisher does go for an English-language MG project,
we know they’re willing to splash out.
Jill Grinberg Literary Management
I’m still looking for—and selling—what
I’ve always been drawn to: original voices
and authentic stories. Beautifully
written, of course! I have always loved
creative nonfiction as well as fiction,
and categories like narrative nonfiction
and memoir would seem a direct follow-on from the industry’s focus on building
a body of literature that is as authentically
diverse as the world we live in. I’m wary of specific trends
given that by the time they’re named they’re on the way out,
but I think really breaking open the whole category of nonfiction for a younger readership would be exciting and have
staying power. ■
These days I think it’s not so much about what’s “trending”—it’s
about what’s good. It’s about the novel they actually want to read
on the plane home, not the one that feels like homework.
—Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management