2/25/09

Holes in the Market?

One of the things I get asked often is where is there a need in the LDS fiction market? Are there areas or genres that publishers are looking for but not getting?

A simple trip to an LDS bookstore will help answer this question. Imagine you're shopping for the Christmas that just passed and you've decided to gift everyone on your list with a fiction book. (I'm going with gender generalizations here so don't jump all over me for this.)

The women are pretty much covered with romances and general or women's fiction. There are also quite a few romantic suspense novels out there. You can get the men a historical novel or suspense. (Not much in the way of westerns right now but maybe somebody's working on the next Stom Testament..?) You have some choices for teen girls. And you've got a great selection for anyone who likes fantasy.

But what about the boys on your list? If you've got a boy aged 10 to 18 that doesn't care for fantasy, you're out of luck. Girls in that same age range that don't like romance are kind of out of luck as well. I'd like to see some fun realistic (as in, non-fantasy) fiction for these ages, maybe some spy or adventure novels, sports books, humor.

The downside, though, is this is a harder area to sell. Adult books sell better than books for kids. But still, that's where the hole is and I'd like to see it filled.

4 comments:

Annette Lyon said...

That's the problem right there. I had a series of kids' books I was *asked* to write by my publisher, but then they decided that the financial risk was too great and didn't do it.

Since the market is so small, the cost per book stays pretty high (you can't do the Scholastic thing and print so many thousands that the per unit cost is really cheap), and then you can't sell a kid's book for four or five bucks--and who's going to want to pay ten or more dollars for a kid's book when they can get one for their child from a book order at school for $1.95?

It's a hole, but I don't see how it can be plugged. The only remotely successful books like this have been Shadow Mtn's fantasies--and they're targeted to a different market.

Josi said...

I'm with Annette--I wrote a non-romance, non-fantasy YA book and had embarrassing sales on it. I also think the hole exists outside of the LDS market--MOST kids read fantasy, so that will be the bulk of books in the YA market. I don't think it's one of those "If you write it, they will come", what we need is to find readers that want it and build from there--but it's an uphill battle, for sure.

Paul West said...

I too have written a non-fantasy, non-romance novel for teens. It's not an LDS novel but I haven't been able to find an agent who is interested in that genre. I agree, it's a tough, uphill battle.

Lucy said...

I actually did buy a lot of books for my family for Christmas. For my sixteen-year-old brother, I bought him one of my favoite books -- Freefall by Traci Hunter Abramson. He loved it (even though there is some romance in it.) Since then he's even read a few other LDS suspense novels (mostly by Abramson and Clair Poulson) and enjoyed them.

I definitely think there is a hole in the LDS market, but mostly for the middle grade boys that don't like fantasy. I know it's not from a lack of good writers, but rather from a lack of enough people willing to buy books in that genre.