Q. Why is it so hard to break into the young adult industry right now? I would think that after JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer’s books being released, that there would be agents that would love to get more young adult novels published. And even an agent told me specifically that even though I’m a good writer (I write young adult books) that it is really hard to get into that industry right now. So I wanted to know why.
A. I’m not sure who told you this, Larissa, but the fact is: the children’s market (specifically, young adult and middle grade novels) is one of the only sections of the publishing industry that is doing well. A while back, an agent summed up the recession by saying something like this (paraphrasing here): “When the economy was good, somebody would walk into a bookstore and get a book for themselves and one for their kid, too. Now that times are tight, they skip the book for themselves, but still get the book for their kid.” And, look, agent Susanna Einstein just said in her GLA blog interview that “the children’s/YA market is flourishing and expanding in terms of subject matter, kinds of books, and sales.”
This could just be a simple misunderstanding between you and the agent. First of all, speaking generally it is really hard to get books published. They may have been speaking about the industry as a whole. OR – perhaps they believed you wrote picture books, which falls under the children’s category, and is a very, very tough nut to crack.
Want more on this subject?
- Got a burning question about agents, writing or publishing? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Interested in that interview with agent Susanna Einstein? See it here.
- Like interviews with children’s agents? Check out Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Literary.
- Like interviews with children’s agents? Check out Jessica Regel of Jean V. Naggar Literary.
- Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
- Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
- Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they’re looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!