Anyway, I wanted to do a quick-- and hopefully encouraging-- post about what editors are excited about, looking for, etc.
First the elephant in the room: Yep, there are more vampires and werewolves coming. Actually, the majority of the editors I visited had at least one "big" Vamp or Werewolf book they were hyping. Every one of them stressed the "fresh" aspect-- the new plot twist/angle or the sarcastic voice or the crazy character.
Which brings me back to that thing I always say-- As long as the writing kicks serious ass, it will rise above-- whether its overly trendy or the exact opposite of trendy.
So now that that's out of the way, what else did I hear?
I kid you not, nearly Every. Single. Editor. wants middle grade. Humor is a huge bonus-- humor does REALLY well in this age group. But of course, humor is tricky, and doesn't always come across well. If its middle grade for boys, please, they all want more than fart jokes.
But aside from that-- they want a HUGE range of middle grade, whether girl or boy or funny or sweet or serious. Hooks are very, very important in middle grade. It can be hard to figure out how to market to this age group (parents/librarians are so often the gatekeepers) so the better the package (hook + cover) the better it does.
Graphic hybrids are increasing too, a la diary of a wimpy kid. Several editors showed me upcoming books with drawings incorporated throughout the text. These seem to be a hit with reluctant readers.
On YA: Editors see a metric ton of YA come across their desks. There is more than ever before (hence the new emphasis on MG-- they jsut dont see as much of it).... and yet there is always room for new and exciting projects. And if there's not, they make room. :-)
Many editors still love and want paranormal romance-- in fact for newer imprints, their bread and butter is the paranormal that is selling so well. And in fact, I met with an editor at a brand new imprint (hasn't even been announced yet!) which will be focusing 100% on Paranormal Romance for the forseeable future. But of course, they all say it has to be fresh, and the execution/writing has to be better than ever to rise above. So if paranormal is where your heart is, its not impossible-- but make sure you're putting your absolute best work forward. Push yourself to be better and stronger than ever.
On other YA: Boy YA , in general, is struggling. Teen boys just dont read in the same volume as girls do. Editors are conscious of that and often package it to be more gender-neutral. Your book can be from a boy's POV, of course, but if you can make it appeal to boys and girls, you'll be that much better off. Not just for selling your work to agents/editors, but for selling it to readers.
Another thing I heard over and over-- editors love books that manage to be both literary and commercial-- the writing is literary, the issues are real, but it has a commercial package/hook. Think: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.
A few times I heard people are loving YA sci fi, or epic fantasy, or whatnot. In general-- there's just a huge range of tastes and interests-- and plenty of room for every kind of book.
In all, the trip was very encouraging-- such wonderful people, all very excited to find that book that strikes a chord with them.
If anyone has any Qs on specific subsets of the YA/MG genre, ask away. :-)
I'll post more this week about some of the fun touristy things and such, but I know y'all want to know about the trends/market first. (And of course-- REMEMBER WHAT I SAY ABOUT TRENDS!)