We're almost three weeks into the New Year and I've already broken all of my resolutions. Mind you, I didn't take a solid oath or anything, so I don't feel too bad (at least I'm still going to yoga). It's just…well, time flies by way too fast!
Just as time seems to flash before our eyes, so do trends and I've seen a lot of predictions for 2014! So I thought I'd list a few of them here. Perhaps, we'll revisit them at year's end and see how many exploded and how many fizzled before the snow melted.
There was a time when every query letter contained a promise of a trilogy. That time has long passed. Publishers want stand alone books that pop! They aren't willing to invest in a project that they may be hand tied to - especially if the first book isn't a star. This year, we're seeing the end to many successful trilogies. Jessica Lind compiled a list of the top eight including Veronica Rossi's Into the Still Blue, Tahereh Mafi's Ignite Me, and Michelle Hodkin's The Retribution of Mara Dyer.
There are a few trilogies entering the stage in 2014 including the much lauded These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner but time will tell whether these projects live up to the hype or become part of the minority.
You can't tame the literary train that is John Green. His books have touch readers in a way that many cannot. It feels real and gritty and mature which is probably why so many teens can relate to them even if they aren't dealing with tough decisions like a terminal disease in their own lives. Be prepared to see more of this in 2014, although if we're honest, it's not like contemporary realism just popped out of nowhere, it's been around since writers began writing (it's just been overshadowed in recent years by wizards, vampires and anything not of this world).
I have to admit, I love a good thriller and it seems a lot of people feel the same way. While some agents are not as hell bent on it, others are more positive. Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management notes in Publisher's Weekly "Everyone is looking for a YA Gone Girl." Thrillers can be combined with contemporary to kill two trends with one stone. As Michael Bourret of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management notes thrillers "can be the kind of book people are looking for when they say they want contemporary fiction." I think I can get on this bandwagon.
YA or MG?
Finally, we can talk about all the trends within YA but what if YA is dead? James Dawson of James Dawson Books notes "The 'word on the street' is that YA authors are taking aim at a younger market and that publishers are looking for 'New Narnias'….say what!?!
So does that mean we should all throw out our YA projects, kick those fantasy ideas to the wayside? At the end of the day, I think most of us need to take all trends with a grain of salt. A good book is a good book no matter what the label. So I say, write what you love and what you're passionate about. If you feel excited about your projects, others will feel your excitement as well and that in turn will make them turn the page.