Writerly news from around the ‘Net.  This edition of Snippets focuses on the latest trends in publishing.

Are you writing in the young adult genre?  Publishing Trends has a must-read article on the direction of the YA market for 2010.  The big news is that series books are stronger than ever for that market, and contrary to the rest of genres, hardcover is making a comeback.

Take a look at BookScan’s bestselling juvenile titles for the week ending April 25: an astounding 73% were titles from one of several series.

But these are not your Baby-Sitters’ Club of yesteryear: “Harry Potter turned the whole paperback series notion on its head,” says Megan Tingley, SVP, Publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers. “The strategy used to be predicated on the idea that these were the kinds of books people wanted to read once, read quickly and move on. Harry Potter and Twilight created a market for hardcover series with more complex, substantive storylines where readers could live in the world a bit longer. I think people came to want something different out of their reading experience, and it became more about depth than speed.”

The perception of what a book is has changed, agrees Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “The same way kids watch a movie they love many times, they read the books they love over and over, and I don’t know if that was the case with [series like the Baby-Sitters Club].”

“Series were and still are a great way to market a property and to engage readers,” says Dan Weiss, Publisher-at-Large at St. Martin’s. However, he says, today “the main impulse is to try to make the books as distinct as possible because they need to stay on the shelves longer. We’re publishing in more expensive formats and the monthly cycle we did back then is no longer driving it, so the books have to be a little ‘bigger.’”

Building reader loyalty is the goal; it’s a positive development in an industry that sometimes looks for a quick buck.

WU guest blogger J.A. Konrath has always been a visionary.  Well, now he’s taking the publishing world by storm.  Check this out (via Galleycat):

Amazon Kindle bestselling author, J.A. Konrath just signed an exclusive deal with AmazonEncore for his latest book. We had the opportunity ask him about the new deal and what he had to say about rejections from legacy publishers, why his agent Jane Dystel was instrumental in the deal and his booksellers’ support of his Jack Daniels series.

Congrats on your Amazon deal. Did you try to pitch the book to publishers?

My agents, Jane Dystel & Miriam Goderich, tried valiantly to sell the newest Jack Daniels series after I left Hyperion, my original publisher. No one was interested in picking up a midlist series, even though I have a decent fanbase and respectable numbers. AmazonEncore approached me about one of my self-pubbed novels, and I pitched them a brand new novel instead. I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from fans waiting for the seventh book in the series, so I’m thrilled by this opportunity.

We couldn’t be happier for J.A. and we’ll be watching closely to see how he charts a new course for authors looking for alternative means of publishing.

Amazon isn’t the only bookseller jumping into the publishing fray.  Barnes & Noble is also giving it a go.   Via Publisher’s Marketplace:

Barnes & Noble Launches Online Self-Publishing Program, PubIt!

BN has finally announced an electronic self-publishing program via BN.com and their ebookstore to compete with Amazon and others, “coming in summer.” The company announced scant details, but assures independent publishers and individual authors that they “will appreciate PubIt!’s simple and competitive royalty model and compensation process.” As described on their placeholder web page, they will convert digital files to EPUB. The program is pitched for both ebooks and broader “digital content.” Director of digital products Theresa Horner is the BN executive quoted in the release.

Book Expo 2010 also starts this week.  Keep checking Barbara Hoffert’s Guide to Making BEA your Bitch for updates on the latest gossip, author sightings and scuttlebut on commercial fiction.

Write on!


About Kathleen Bolton

Kathleen Bolton is co-founder of Writer Unboxed. She writes under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ani Bolton. She has written two novels as Cassidy Calloway: Confessions of a First Daughter, and Secrets of a First Daughter--both books in a YA series about the misadventures of the U.S. President's teen-aged daughter, published by HarperCollins, and Tamara Blake, for the novel Slumber.