Monday, July 20, 2009

Swetky Agency Seeking Contmporary YA

Literary agent Faye Swetky of the Swetky Agency is looking for new, well-written contemporary Young Adult titles to consider for representation.

"The YA market remains fairly strong, even in this sluggish economy. Did I say 'sluggish'? So, we're expanding our representation of YA authors who have a continuing supply of books or solid outlines that we can pitch to our publisher clientele.

"As with all of the material we represent, the writing must be of the highest quality, the story line must be timely, and the characters have to be believable with at least one of them--the protagonist--also being likable."

Swetky is seeking material in both fiction and nonfiction categories, leaning more heavily toward fiction. All genres are open. "The only prerequisites are that the material be strong, the writing be solid, and the story be marketable. As if that weren't enough!"

If you're a YA author looking for representation and think you may have what the agency is seeking, visit their site at and follow the advice for submissions. The agency is a respected professional literary agency that adheres to the practices of the AAR and does not charge fees of any sort.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harlequin Eyes YA Market

With an eye on capturing some of the tremendous following behind the Harry Potter and Twilight series YA books, Harlequin Books announced recently a new imprint, launching this fall, that will target the lucrative Young Adult market. The new imprint by the Canada-based publisher will be called Harlequin Teen and include genres such as mystery and science fiction/fantasy. The news is sure to please YA authors everywhere, since it stands to increase the outlet for their works, if only slightly.

Although Harlequin–which is best known for its flagship Harlequin Romances–has been planning on the new imprint for several years, its approval wasn’t officially green shirted until 2008. Senior Editor Natashya Wilson will helm the new line.

“I’ve always been a YA reader,” said Wilson. “I never stopped reading it since I was young. I’m familiar with a lot of the authors […] and I’m also probably one of the three biggest Twilight fans in the whole company.”

Support for the new imprint will come from employees at both the publisher’s U.S. and Canadian offices. Additional editors may be brought in as sales figures are evaluated.

The new program will feature in its inauguration three urban fantasy novels–My Soul to Take (August 2009), Gena Showalter’s Intertwined (September 2009), and a reprint of a 2004 Harlequin Luna work, P.C. Cast’s novel entitled Elphame’s Choice (October 2009). Print runs have not yet been determined. In total, Wilson said she is planning on adding 17 books in 2010 and 18 – 20 books the following year.

In addition to marketing the new releases through teen-popular social Websites Facebook and MySpace, the company has created an online focus group of young adults who will be asked to vote on potential covers and story lines. A free e-book and audio book of the imprint’s first title, My Soul to Take, will be released in July.

YA writers interested in sharing their works with Harlequin might want to consider literary representation first, since agents have a much easier time accessing acquisitions editors than do writers. For more information on literary agents, check out AmSAW at the link below.

Christian Fiction Expanding Bounds

An article in The Washington Post points to an encouraging trend among Christian authors and publishers. "The Christian book business, optimistic that a little literary escapism might be an antidote for readers in hard times, is turning to bonnets, buggies and bloodsuckers," wrote AP's Eric Gorski.

"Even as Christian publishing suffers during the recession - one study found net sales for Christian retailers were down almost 11 percent in 2008 - several publishing houses are adding or expanding their fiction lines with both the tame (Amish heroines) and boundary-pushing (Christian vampire lit).

"The undisputed industry leader is so-called Amish fiction - typically, romances and family sagas set in contemporary Amish communities. They're a surprise hit with evangelical women attracted by a simpler time, curiosity about cloistered communities and admiration for the strong, traditional faith of the Amish."

The success of the genre is promoting authors and publishers alike to yield to the temptation of spinning off new series about other cloistered communities. "If you want to sell it, as one literary agent put it, put a bonnet on it."

Could there be a book somewhere down the road entitled The Ephrata Cloister Meets the Taliban Anti-Christ? You tell me. - D. J. Herda