What’s in the Sub Pile: April 2017

Once again I thought it might be helpful to take a look at some trends and patterns that I’m currently seeing in the submission pile. Of course I won’t discussion any submission in specific detail, but I hope that examining the trends in the submissions I see will be useful to writers.

(Note that I read submissions for a YA imprint of all genres and adult romance imprints–both category and single-title–so those are the only types of manuscripts I see unless someone seriously disregards the sub guidelines,  in which case I don’t read their submission anyway. So those are the categories/genres I’ll be discussing.)

Here’s what I’m currently seeing in the sub pile:

  1. YA paranormals

I saw a slight uptick in the number of YA paranormal submissions so far this year, which is interesting. YA paranormal is still a really hard sell, but I do think it’s possible if they’re really unique and have a great hook. Unfortunately, this is what most of the paranormals I’m seeing lack. I’ve had multiple submissions that could be summed up as: “Girl moves to new town, girl meets mysterious boy, girl finds out something paranormal is going on, bad guys close in, then the boy and girl defeat them.” If you’re writing something similar, your manuscript has to offer something new and fresh.

  1. Sports romance

I’m seeing more sports romance submissions right now, in both adult and YA. (By “sports romance,” I mean a romance where one or more of the main characters is an athlete or heavily involved in sports.) This isn’t a bad trend at all—sports romances can do really well, and the market doesn’t feel over-saturated with them right now. But, as with anything else, they still have to be unique in order to stand out. I’m particularly interested in seeing something with a sport we don’t see as often—say, soccer or hockey or swimming or gymnastics—as opposed to the usual football and basketball books. Also, I’d really love to see more female athletes, as opposed to always having the male love interest be the one involved in sports.

  1. Modernized retellings

This isn’t exactly a new trend—it’s been popular for years now—but I’m seeing a lot of modernized retellings of classic stories in my sub pile right now. What I mean by “modernized retellings” are adaptations of familiar stories (be it fairy tales, classic literature, etc.) set in the modern world. I’ve seen a number of retellings of Jane Austen novels, Peter Pan, and of course the ever-popular fairytales. Again, this isn’t a bad trend—some of these retellings can do really well—but it depends on how original and fresh the idea is. (I’m sensing a pattern here…) Also, modernized adaptations have to be clever, offering new twists on classic material that feel both fitting and unexpected. It’s a hard balance, but can be very successful when done well.

Have any general questions about the submissions process or sub pile trends? Let me know in the comments!

Interested in professional editorial services for your manuscript? Check out my Services page for more information about what I offer.

Related Links:

What’s in the Sub Pile: December 2016

5 False Publishing Myths

What’s in the Sub Pile: August 2016

Getting Attention with Your Query Letter



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