1) As I’ve established on this blog before, I am a voracious YA reader. I probably go through 2-3 three books a week. Over this past year I’ve begun to notice a trend. Many of the books marketed as YA have a significant literary bent to them. Gone are the days of lines like “he was so hot.” Now the prose goes something along the lines of “he was cloaked in a luminous shock of light that modeled his frame.” Ok – so I made that up – but you get the point.
I don’t have anything against this, in fact I learn a lot from contemporary writers who go over the mountain and through the woods to give literary detail, but I wonder if it’s being twisted and bent to capitalize on the only percentage of the marketplace that is growing: YA.
Why am I bemoaning this? Because I question whether a 13,14 or 15 year-old has the education and/or the attention span to read a long list of adjectives and metaphors and still keep reading. Is this adult literary fiction being cloaked in a character who just happens to be 17?
Are you a fan of YA fiction? If so, I’d like to know your opinion on this topic.
2) Do you ever read a novel and become completely envious over the writing? I’ll admit it’s happened to me quite a bit. For example, the first chapter of HUNGER GAMES. Suzanne Collins builds an entire dystopian world in one chapter – completely brilliant.
So this is the part where I segue into the fact that I want to be John Green when I grow up. Yes, FAULT WITHIN OUR STARS, PAPER TOWNS, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, John Green. The man is brilliant and when he puts a pen to paper it’s like listening to a beautiful song – it is pure magic. If you have not read one of his books, drop what you are doing and go get one. Now. They are simply AMAZING (Yes, I’m shouting that one).
3)I once read a great article (which I can’t find now or I’d add the link) about your chances of getting an agent and/or getting publishing. It went something like this:
80% of queries sent are to an agent who does not represent that specific genre.
The next 5% have grammatical or spelling errors or are sent with the salutation “Dear Agent or Dear Sir” which doesn’t work, of course, if you’re sending to a female.
The next 5% either claim they are the next “Grisham, Kerouac, or Rowling,” or they completely forget to include their premise altogether, only telling the agent they’ve written the next NYT bestseller and need to be signed right away.
If I’m doing the math right that means a meager 10% of all queries sent to agents are done correctly. What does that mean for you and me? Well if you do your research, follow submission guidelines, and send to an agent who actually represents your genre, you have a 90% chance of actually getting noticed. I’ll take those odds any day.