This past week I went to the BEA (Book Expo America) conference in New York City. One of my goals for going was to get a better idea of what's hot in the YA market. I was also hoping to come home with a bag full of advance copies of the newest books. One of the first people I met was a bookseller who seemed almost pleased to be kissing the old trends goodbye.
"Vampires may be on their way out, but I don't think they'll ever die," she lamented. I joked back, "Maybe hat's because they're undead." She laughed with the delight of someone who has been at too many conferences and had too many versions of the same conversation.
While vampires were extremely present at the event, I got a real flavor for what's coming next:
- The paranormal. This includes zombies, sea monsters, ghosts. I scored a copy of the lovesick, the latest book in the Ghostgirl series by Tonya Hurley. Unfortunately, I missed out on one of the advance copies of Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
- Dystopia. I think YA fans like dystopian writing because middle school and high school sometimes feel like a totalitarian state. I've already started reading an advance copy of one of the books I picked up, Matched by Ally Condie.
- Good, realistic fiction. The Little, Brown booth was giving away two of what they are hoping will be their top titles this year: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger and The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney.
These trends were interesting, but one of the panelists (an editor) brought us back to Earth saying, “An honest voice is always more important than the genre.” For this aspiring author (or a wannabee, as I have started to call myself) that was good news. I like a good vampire novel or a story about a crazy dystopia but I'm writing Living Little Women because Alcott's (and others') books shaped my childhood and helped me form my voice.
I learned a lot at the conference. I also picked up a lot of free books. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be giving them away here through a summer reading contests. Keep checking my blog or my space on YouTube for details on how to enter.