Today I wanted to talk about something that I've recently spend a lot of time thinking about. In my classes, we often discuss the "future" of young adult books and, less frequently, of children's books.
Of course as someone interested in going into publishing this is a hugely important topic. What's going to be the next big trend? What kind of books will sell really well? The last decade or so has been ruled by Fantasy and Sci-Fi (except for a few exceptions, thanks John Green). There were the magical boarding schools (what's up HP?), the vampire romances (lookin' at you Twilight), the dystopian futures (Hunger Games and more recently Divergent); so what is going to be next?
Well, publishers are predicting an uprise in Contemporary Romances, thanks again to John Green, but with a side effect of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. They expect books about loss (the TFIOS effect, as I like to call it) to sell well. And "quirky" books to be a trend. Retellings have recently been a big deal, and that's supposed to continue.
But from the perspective of a book blogger and a devout reader, I hate talking about the "future" of young adult books. Here's why.
1. No one ever talks about the "future" of adult books. It's considered obvious that there will always be a platform for books in adult genres. I mean, crappy adult books get published. Some of them do very well and some of them do not, but it is never about whether the genre/style/narrative/whatever is on trend or not. Adult books are separated by genre regardless. And publishers, theoretically, will publish a good book for that genre regardless of whether historical fiction is on the rise or not.
2. Good books will always sell!! I know some of you are thinking, Hayley, you cannot possibly say that after [insert book mention here]. But I can. And I will. I'll be honest, and say, I loved Twilight when it came out. I devoured those books. And if you've read my reviews you'll know that I hated The Maze Runner books. But both of those books still sell well. And better, less well-known, less "on-trend" books might sell slower, but they will sell.
3. People find their books. It might take a while. But it'll happen. I have even more faith of this since joining the book blogging world. But when I read amazing books, I now have a place, a community to share them with. Before, I would tell a few friends, maybe post a Facebook status, but becoming a book blogger has made me more of a book sales person than ever! I leave comments on other blogs, and I tell people on Goodreads, and I tell people on Tumblr. I talk to my classmates. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm talking to people at stores about random books yet, but I can feel it coming. I did recommend Jandy Nelson's books to a random mom at Boston Book Festival. Because if it's good, if I like it, I want to share it.
4. Which brings me to my final point. Everybody likes different books!! The whole concept of saying there's a "future" of young adult books relegates every young adult to one taste in books. Which is hysterically incorrect. I mean, even looking at movies and television, high school is typically represented as a land full of cliques: the popular kids, the jocks, the nerds, the band geeks, the goth kids, the outcasts, etc. etc. Now, I know from personal experience that most schools aren't that neatly boxed into categories, but I also know that every teenager has different tastes. And it's completely ridiculous to think that they'll all love the same book.
Unless it's Harry Potter.
(But seriously, I am so confused by people who don't like Harry Potter.)
Anyway, what do you think about the "future" of young adult publishing? Or kid's publishing? Or book publishing? Leave me a note in the comments!