To anyone that’s been paying attention to recent trends in young adult (YA) over the last four or five years, the line-up of books slated for 2019 is both timely and highly anticipated. With the push for diversity in literature and media still going as strong as ever (perhaps even stronger than ever), it seems that publishers have finally started to seriously answer the call. Young adult (and middle grade) lists are heavy with POC leads and the number of books about LGBTQ characters has doubled since the last few publishing seasons (and that’s just looking at books coming out—pun intended—between January and April! The list for May through June is even longer!). This is extra important when you consider that as recently as 2012, just over 1 percent of YA books had any LGBTQ content at all.
Book reviews are nothing new, and any author will receive the advice that they must accept the good with the bad. Some readers point out that a book with zero bad reviews feels fake to them, which makes a sprinkling of negative reviews actually a good thing. But not all bad reviews are created equal and there are limits to what any person should have to endure. First, there are obviously fraudulent negative reviews. All books deserve a chance, and a negative review before the book is out hinders its chance. Then there are some extremely malicious reviews to watch out for; no author should be told to give up writing and die. These so-called reviews rarely include anything specific about the book and are clearly a form of harassment that must be stopped.
It might sound odd if you’re not already an editor, but the differences in style guides at publishing houses can be a tedious affair if you’re not at least a bit fluent in the main English-language house styles.
Young Adult literature, or YA, has been a genre dominated by white authors and characters, but this is changing. In the past couple years, two debut novels by African-American women have taken the YA world and bestseller lists by storm: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017) and The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (2018). If you haven’t read them yet, you should.
Microcosm, an independent publishing house in Portland, announced in July 2018 in Publishers Weekly that it will be taking back control over its distribution for the press. The book and zine publisher, which was previously distributed by PGW/Ingram, decided to keep distribution efforts in-house and off the shelves of the large chains, starting in 2019. In the spirit of self-distribution, as inspired by Microcosm, here are some tips for hand-to-hand sales in publishing.
One of the things editors look for in a pitch is publishing credits. A great way to get them is to submit your work to literary journals. Literary journals or literary magazines are periodicals devoted to publishing literature. There are many literary journals. Some focus on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or all three. Some focus on concise nonfiction, flash fiction (a few hundred words or less), nano-fiction, and so on. The one thing that all the literary journals have in common is that they are looking for well-crafted material.