Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm incredibly sad having found out that my beloved TokyoPop is going out of business. Unfortunately it was something I've seen coming for years: manga and anime became so explosively huge in America. Companies popped up left and right to translate the stuff and soon, the market was so over-saturated that target audiences just couldn't keep up!

(I also think fansubs and fandubs had a lot to do with it. Fans translate from Japanese to English in their spare time and post it online for free and... well, how can the companies compete with that?)

But anyway. My main point was over-saturation. Agents and editors are saying the young adult market is over-saturated with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and - more recently - dystopic worlds, among various other things.

Does this mean if you have a book featuring any of the above, you aren't going to land an agent/publisher for it?

That depends. It will be harder, but if you have an original voice and a unique twist on things, something that sets your book apart from the thirty million others out there, you have a chance. (But isn't that true with any book subject?)

I've also been thinking (read: worrying) a lot about this because I'm nearing completion of the first draft of my new book which features... yeah, vampires. (And witches.)

Knowing such a book was going to be an uphill battle to find an agent for, then why bother writing it? Because it's the story I felt needed to be told. And I feel (hope?) the voice of my narrator/MC is distinct enough, fun enough, unique enough that her story will catch someone's eye and they'll love it as much as I do. (I won't ever write for trends, nor will I avoid writing something because I think others won't like it. I want a readership, yes, but above all else, I write the stories the little voices in my brain demand that I write. ;) )

For those of you out there sick of any particular YA trend, be it the blood-sucking variety, or shape-shifting, angels, demons, etc, what would make you stop and pick up a book anyway? What would catch your eye on a tired trend?


  1. NOOO Tokyopop! D:

    Strong characters with distinct personalities! And a nice high concept for them to explore. Anything with those qualities has me hooked.

  2. Good for you, Kelley, for writing what you can't help but write.

    I wouldn't say it's a tired trend, but I love adventure stories. Action, adventure, journeys--with a touch of romance.

    But of those you listed, I think I'd be most likely to pick up a novel with ghosts :D I love ghosts.

  3. I don't think I ever get sick of a trend, because if I don't like the genre I just won't read it. If I like it I'll keep reading it. It doesn't matter if it's part of a trend or not, the book would still have to be good for me to like it.

  4. Sorry about Tokyopop!
    I'm willing to give anything a try, trend or not. I guess things become trends for a reason, right? I guess the only trendy thing that bothers me is this need for long series. Some of those feel stretched and forced, as if the author's heart wasn't really in it. Like Kelley said, write the story that's on your heart and that love will come across to readers, trend or not.

  5. Riley, I know, it's very sad. :( I've been a reader of theirs ever since they were publishing stuff as Mixx ages ago. Their video/TV distribution sections will stay open, but bye-bye manga.

    AderuMoro, I love ghosts, too! Those ones always catch my attention. :)

    Sari, very true. I find that with 'trend' books, there are just SO MANY that sometimes I have to dig deeper in a bookshelf to find one I'm interested in.

    Wendy, I agree about the long series. I mean, series are good! I love them! But when they start feeling forced and entire books seem to be 'side stories' that really aren't necessary, I'm less likely to continue onto the next book.

  6. The book I'm starting has magic and supernatural abilities and even slight dystopian leanings... It worries me every time I see a similar theme in a new summary, but it's the story I have and I want to tell it!

    As for what catches my eye - I don't mind reading about these things. These things are trends, in fact, because people love them. To me if just has to be a unique voice and maybe a slightly different spin on things... Oh, and a unique-ish plot, of course.

  7. eye-catching? I guess doing something unexpected is always a good way to go. Otherwise, it's just more of the same, yes? It's tough. Best of luck~

  8. About the only thing that will make me read a book that has a theme I am tired of is a really good review from a friend.

  9. TokyoPop, noooooooooo! Most of manga collection is theirs! Sadness!

    I think if someone takes a trend and puts a new spin on it or completely turns it on its head will make someone sit up and read it. Good luck to you!

  10. I think love triangles one poorly are beginning to become a problem. I really liked the love triangle in Delirium as it was a very non-traditional love triangle, in fact it was more a relationship triangle than a love triangle.

    I look for Uniqueness. But sometimes I get a dud still.

  11. the only thing I'm tired of seeing is the FMC falling in love with some paranormal jerkface with no redeming qualities besides being smokin'. Anything else is game in my opinion.

  12. Sharon, Screw love triangles. I want a THREESOME! ...but that's just me.

    Sarah, SO TRUE. I love it when books switch it up a bit. Sure, the ~bad boys~ are nice once in awhile, but they at least need to be really redeeming, otherwise I can't imagine any sane girl being able to tolerate a long-term relationship with them.

  13. Tokyopop ): Ohwell, the official English translations aren't all that great and Chinese manga are way cheaper--and their translations, printing, etc, way better. Oh, and they come out a hell lot faster *grins*

    I don't mind trends sometimes... (so says the girl who has tried searching for manga cliches just 'cause she felt like reading the same story with different art over and over again). I'm sick of love triangles though. It's like, hell, choose one already -___-"

  14. An excellent storyline that's supported by good writing, strong characters and passion will always make me pick up a book. Trends are something I don't believe we'll be able toget away from and I don't think it's fair to penalise a writer just because their choice of topic is overdone.