City of Bones Trailer and the YA Fiction Industry

The trailer for the upcoming movie, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been released a few days ago.

Publisher’s Weekly Industry News: In a  recent panel called “Pop Culture Publishing: Young Adult Megahits,” industry insiders talk about YA literature and their blockbuster appeal.

According to Stimola, in these days of YA megahits, agents and publishers often find themselves serving as “gatekeepers” for an author and property, simultaneously fostering a book’s success while protecting it from being reduced to “a commodity.” Another challenge for the “keepers” of blockbuster books is maintaining a balanced focus on the other titles on their lists. Blockbuster books can change the level of expectation for new titles in terms of first printings, sales, and reader reception. However, big-selling books can also provide publishers with the necessary resources to invest in quieter properties that aren’t as likely to sell as strongly. Tingley is well aware that “series come to an end,” and that part of managing a blockbuster like Twilight means cultivating other books and other authors: “I can’t let the rest of my list go,” she said.

Katz noted in agreement how from a business perspective, “nice, steady, consistent growth” is always a benefit, as opposed to “volatile” sales. So, keeping those fires burning in the form of diverse properties – even while a megahit is being aggressively marketed – is essential.

It’s a heartening message for writers who aren’t overly influenced by genre zeitgeists. While the slush pile will continue to overflow with queries claiming a manuscript to be “better than Twilight,” the panelists continue to seek strong, original stories that don’t capitalize on a previous book’s success. Stimola said that if a book features a rebellious girl facing down a totalitarian government in a post-apocalyptic world, she’s likely to pass: “I’ve done that.” To do it again, the manuscript would have to be “really fresh” and resonate with her in the way that a book like Thanhha Lai’sInside Out and Back Again did. From a marketing perspective, Lai’s novel sounded like the kiss-of-death: it was historical and written in verse, not ingredients that typically scream “bestseller.”

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