I have absolutely no idea. I do know that the market is currently overflooded with YA paranormal romance, so that probably won't be it. Since the current hype is also YA dystopian, that won't be it either.
I'm not a big fan of science-fiction, so I'm hoping it doesn't go into that direction. However, what I would love to see are YA mysteries, thrillers and horror novels. There are a few coming out this year, like The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Meyers (it's supposedly a thriller, but not scary at all, more a mystery/suspense novel in my opinion), New Girl by Paige Harbon (thriller) and some others. However, I'm a bit dissapointed in the thrillers and supposed horror novels for young adults, considering that they aren't scary at all. I'm hoping that to see some actual horrors and thrillers in YA soon.
Steampunk seems to be on the rise as well, and zombie romance, like Pride and Prejudice with Zombies and The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I'm not a big fan of zombie romance though. Not at all, actually. So I'm hoping the next big thing isn't zombie romance.
Superheroes and pirates, those two sound great too much. I actually find it odd, with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies being immensly popular, that we haven't seen more pirate-themed books as of late.
I did indeed. I hit the tail end of the pirate trend (I was quite lucky). Pirates were huge there for a couple years (2007-2008 especially). Pirate festivals were popping up everywhere, people were hosting pirate themed parties etc. But like with every trend it waned. I'd love to see a resurgence as the reason I write about pirates is because I love pirates.
But you know, I'm cool with both superheros and Steampunk becoming the next big trend, considering, you know, my YA out this fall is a Steampunk Superhero book . So yeah, I don't mind at all . . .
I'm finding superheroes hard to sell to agents.
But sometimes they tell me it's because they have a current client already working on a superhero novel, so it could be that they expect superheroes to get big.
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I don't think I've ever read a superhero novel. Well, unless it was a graphic novel. Is it already an established genre in print?
There are some, but it's not really a packed genre. The first one I think of is HERO by the late Perry Moore which is about a gay superhero: http://www.amazon.ca/Hero-Perry-Moore/dp/1423101952
What I've heard about superheroes is that they are a niche market. While a lot of people will go to the theater to see a superhero movie, the number of people who want to read about them in considerably smaller. So for now, there may be room on any given pub's list for one or two superhero novels--if that. But if the right book came along, all that could change very quickly.
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This may be more of the current thing, but I'm seeing a ton of books lately with dead people reflecting back on or watching their lives.
What about retellings (and not just of Greek myths either. I've been seeing a lot of Shakespeare retellings, especially Romeo + Juliet, coming out in YA lately)?
Which reminds me if I should attempt to do a YA retelling of The Divine Comedy (but at the same time, the original is so flawless, so I don't know :/)....
Also, I hope that really edgy, really dark YA contemp is the next trend. Because I have a partially finished ms that's really dark (though it's set in the late 1980s, but I read somewhere on some agent's blog that a few editors like stuff that's set in the 1970s/1980s - granted, you have to have a specific reason for setting it then, which I do).
I've noticed a lot of retellings on the YA shelves lately. Everything from Sleepy Beauty to Jane Eyre and Alice in Wonderland. This seems to be a current trend with television and movies too (Once Upon a Time and Grimm on tv and two Snow White movies coming out this spring). If you have something done in this genre, now might be a good time to try to sell it. Personally, I see it being like the pirate thing and sparking briefly before winking out though.What about retellings
Are ghosts played out? Because I'm currently querying an MS that has a ghost (though there's no romance between the ghost or any human characters), but at the same time, it has unique aspects, like the setting, plot elements, etc.
For some reason, I feel like I have to write to some type of trend, since I feel like the fact that I don't set my books in the US/implied US already counts against me (as in, "we can't sell this"). Maybe I'm wrong/have no confidence, but it's how I feel :/
Oy, please don't feel you need to write to trend as you will then likely never finish anything. You'll be halfway through writing something and someone who thinks whatever you are writing about is dead in the water will mention that fact and then you'll want to quit.
You really truly need to write what you are passionate about. That's the only way to deal with all the crazy stuff we can't control. Not a single one of the mega blockbuster books was written to trend:
HARRY POTTER: children's books at that time were not profitable. It is because of JK Rowling that both MG and YA are are popular as they are now.
TWILIGHT: People were sick of Vampires, no one thought after the 90s with the huge Anne Rice stuff that there was going to be another upswing in their popularity for a long time.
HUNGER GAMES: Everyone else was writing paranormal romance. Trying to write to the TWILIGHT trend.
You really can't write to trend. And you can't predict what will be the next big one. Almost everyone in this thread has talked not of what will be the next trend but what they hope will be based on their own personal tastes. We all have a vested interest (either as readers or writers) for what becomes huge next. And so far almost every genre has been speculated about. So what are you going to do? Write every single genre?
Write what you want to. Truly. Yes you need to know what's going on, but honestly, in the end, the only thing you can control is the quality of your story.
Also stories not set in the USA get sold all the time. Mine's set in the UK, for example.
I can always hope for secondary world fantasy to become the next big thing, but I suppose it never will. I guess that's a good thing because it ensures that publication remains steady, if rather smaller than I like.
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One of the weird things about writing is that a ton of people will independently write the same thing. The original explosion of paranormal romance that hit in the wake of Twilight wasn't bought because "OMG -- TWILIGHT!!! MUST WRITE PARANORMAL!" It was bought at the same time as Twilight.
A few years ago, fae books were everywhere. People who liked those kinds of stories, wrote them and sold them around the same time.
From my own experience, I can tell you I hit the vampire phenom (and stopped querying because of it) without knowing Twilight was vampires. Then I hit the zombie phase. Then the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood right when two other such series were out. The book I sold wasn't intended to be dystopian (and I still think it's more sci-fi, but that's what marketing departments are for). The same thing with Steampunk. I wrote it because we did the Steampunk'd here last April, not because I thought it was going to be "hot".
A fair number of the people who hit and ride trends are the early-comers who weren't "writing to" that trend at all.
And as far as ghosts go, I hope they're not played out because my MG WIP is ghosts (<--- see what I mean?)
But at the same time I feel like the stuff I'm truly passionate about and want to write about is just really, really far out of the mainstream interests of most agents or editors (the settings and plot points are kind of obscure/not things you see every day for the US market).
At the same time, I agree with what you said with regards to at least making your writing and your story itself the absolute best it can be.
I would love to see more quirky, high-concept, philosophical contemporary. It feels like a lot of contemporary YA these days is staying close to home, with really intimate, relationship-centric stories. That's not really what I'm trying to say though, since contemporary YA is all about relationships, but I just mean... contemporary should really shoot for the stars.
I wrote a superhero sci-fi YA a few years ago for NaNo. I've been thinking lately that maybe I should get it out of the trunk, because I think it could hold a lot of appeal right now. Hmm.
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It's definitely not good to write to trends, but it does make sense to shy away from glutted markets. If you have several ideas you're considering and one is much less likely to sell, you should think strategically.
I saw a few agents tweeting about things they currently have a lot of. I can only remember two: "girls with powers" (usually of a psychic variety. she can see or sense something others can't) and "wiped memories."
I actually have a "girls with powers" MS that's halfway through a re-write. So like someone above said: sometimes a bunch of people independently decide the write the same concepts.
I'm still in a bit of doubt about steampunk because it seems to be such a narrow niche. Though with the recent talk about "steampunk flavor" and crossgenre I can see how it can be made more mainstream.
As for thrillers and suspense and mysteries: I wonder what will become of the (in)famous concept of "YA trilogy." There is, of course, quite a series potential in those genres, but such series tend to be episodic aka case stories.
Pity dystopia is ded so ded, I came late and I'm enjoying it now, not all of it, but those futuristic stories that are dark and Sci-Fi without the whole space-and-aliens thing.
By the way, what do you think about sword-and-planet and planetary romance? Basically Sci-Fi with a heavy fantasy bent, where you have all kinds of exotic cultures, magic-like powers, quest type adventures, pseudo-feudal societies and so on, only it's set on another planet and sometimes gets contrasted against a group with better developed tech.