View Full Version : The Kidlit Market

11-06-2015, 08:20 PM
I look forward to reading the Rights Report in every mailing of the PW Children's Bookshelf newsletter. It's encouraging to see so many debut authors being picked up for publication! However...

Reading through all of the blurbs for MG/tween/YA titles, I constantly see descriptions of bullying, divorce, tragedy, illness, and death of friends and loved ones. So much heavy, serious stuff. Yes, of course, kids deal with such things in real life, and reading can give them insights into others' experiences. But is there no room in publisher's lists for zany, madcap, non-issue oriented FUN anymore? Yeah, I'm chewing sour grapes because the latter is what I write, and I often feel as though I'm spewing pointless words into some gaping black hole with no hope of ever being picked up by anybody (agent, publisher or reader).

Has anyone had luck finding a home for purely lighthearted, all-for-fun kidlit? Is there a market for it at all?

11-06-2015, 08:29 PM
I sold a three book MG series in March and this is how it was described in PW: "Krista_Marino at Delacorte has bought Adrienne_Kress’s The_Explorers _Club, first in a middle-grade series. The story follows a precocious boy whose life is sent spiraling into adventure after he discovers a pig in a teeny hat and returns it to its home at the mysterious Explorers_Club."

So hopefully that answers your question. I'll also say there's been much international interest, and we've already sold rights to Finland and Italy. I say that not to brag but to point out that clearly the interest in publishing my book isn't an anomaly, that there are many people it seems out there who are looking for fun exciting adventure type books. I'll also point out that you can't really tell just from reading the blurb, but that the tone of the book is light and funny and absurd.

Now that being said, my two main kids still are facing real challenges and there are real emotions throughout, and I think regardless of the kind of book, readers in general really want to connect personally with the characters. They still want three dimensional characters who feel many emotions, not just wacky fun times. And honestly I can't think of a single MG book I've read that didn't have its serious moments even if the story was intensely goofy.

But yes, a fun whimsical story is absolutely wanted from my personal experience. Just go for it! Write what's in your heart, people will appreciate it :)

11-06-2015, 09:06 PM
I've been looking at Publisher's Marketplace lately and seen that an overwhelming amount of children's book imprints are acquiring realistic contemporary novels by the boatload. The only place that where I saw fun, goofy books and fantasy being acquired in abundance was Bloomsbury Children's and Little, Brown.

I have a fantasy being subbed at the moment that although contemporary, makes me fear that no one will want it because of this realistic MG trend. :cry:

ETA - Not a bad thing. Just leave us fantasy/goofy writers some room. LOL

11-06-2015, 09:34 PM
Maybe stop following PM then? Seriously. What good does it do you? Are you going to write to trend? Can you even write a book that quickly before the trend changes?

Honestly, ignorance is bliss. I had no idea about this trend until this thread. For all I knew, people were looking for funny absurd Magical Realist adventure stories, at least from my personal experience.

My very first book was sold in complete ignorance. I had no idea how stressful people found writing queries, I didn't have many people look at mine, just my parents, I even once called an agency. I am SO glad I didn't have the knowledge I do now, I'd have been second guessing everything. I say stop reading it, especially if it's stressing you out. Just be you. Write your book. Make it awesome. And see what happens.

11-07-2015, 02:43 AM
Maybe stop following PM then? Seriously. What good does it do you? Are you going to write to trend? Can you even write a book that quickly before the trend changes?

As they said, don't be the trend, be the trendsetter. But trends do in fact make one feel a bit out of place. When Fantastic Beasts comes out next year, watch how quick the trend goes back to fantasy. It's weird, because the book I have on sub with my agent features 1920s magicians and now I see that Fantastic Beasts takes place in the 1920s with, well, wizards. I can't help but feel like I should have gone on sub next year. LMAO. :roll: Awe man, good times.

11-07-2015, 04:18 AM
I totally appreciate feeling out of place, hence my suggestion of just stop following the publications and living in happy ignorance of what is trendy and what isn't. Honestly I really don't see the point in following deals. I don't. Unless you are the kind of writer who can whip out something trendy in a couple weeks, there's not much use the information gives us. And like I said, numerous times, my book isn't contemporary serious fiction and it found a home and quickly too. There's room for all stuff.

And hey, I think it's great your book is before the trend starts, get in there first! :)

11-07-2015, 07:03 PM
I really would hate to see MG fall into trends. The diversity of the category is what has always appealed to me, both as a writer and a reader.

8 — 12s are such a wonderful group. They're old enough to have a (more or less) solid grasp of complex concepts, but at the same time, they still hang on to that sense of wonder... that little voice inside whispering that maybe Santa Claus is real (though they'd never admit it to anyone!)

I suppose, on a more positive note, being outside the current trend (whatever it may be) does at least make one stand out from the pack a bit.

As much as I peruse the Rights Reports and lament all of the realistic contemporaries that are getting picked up, I have to admit that if I ever saw mention of a deal for a humorous low fantasy involving livestock, I would probably throw up in my mouth a little and run flailing through the house screaming like a wild woman. :gaah

So, um, yeah... I guess keep the contemps coming for awhile... (Heh, there's no pleasing me!)