Sunday, February 10, 2013

YA Short and Sweet…and Now, Potentially Profitable

About five years ago, I attended a children’s writing conference during which the editorial panel launched into a discussion of how it was a shame there wasn’t a stronger market for short fiction. After all, many of us writers begin honing our craft with short pieces of work, some of which harbor just as much emotional impact and tell as strong a story as longer, novel-length manuscripts. Most of those stories never found publishing homes and were slipped into drawers and computer folders without hope of being presented to a market.
Five years ago, of course, there were and still are short fiction contests, which are fabulous for writers trying to get their name out there. Also, literary journals and a handful of children’s magazines catering to teens are great avenues for YA short fiction publication. But now, with the digital shake-up of the publishing industry, a fresh and lucrative market for YA short fiction is emerging – the YA short fiction digital-only imprint. It is new. It is awesome. And it is a huge chance for many of us to pull out those short fiction pieces, dust them off, and see what kind of impact they have on a very eager and voracious YA market.
At the end of 2012, both Random House Publishing Group and HarperCollins announced the launch of their short fiction imprints catering to the ever-growing young adult market. Along with two adult lines, Random House introduced a New Adult digital-only imprint called FLIRT. The submission page for these digital imprints states, “There is no strict word count limit for submissions” -- a very refreshing statement, for sure, in an industry where writers often cut or add words fervently, knowing each word counts when it comes to editorial consideration.
HarperTeen Impulse also launched at the end of 2012 and currently publishes short stories and novellas from established, high-profile authors but will branch out to lesser-known authors once the imprint is more established. Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books says, “Readers of YA have embraced digital reading in a big way… and HarperTeen Impulse allows us to experiment with new concepts and deliver content quickly.” With short stories ranging in price from one to several dollars per story, readers will have the chance to get a smaller but still fabulous taste of great writing from established and new authors.
As Gina Centrello, President and Publisher of the Random House Publishing Group, states, these imprints offer writers the chance to create and readers the chance to read “compelling characters and great stories published frequently at an affordable price.” For writers trying to snag every piece of the market they can, this is a very beautiful and welcome trend, indeed! So, here's to more publishing houses looking to buy manuscripts that may be shorter but are just as sweet! 


Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great news, Heather. Thanks for sharing. It's great to see how many options are opening up for authors who want to take advantage of them. It's about time!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this! I had heard about something like that, but I didn't know for sure! Anyway. Let me know as soon as you get your twitter account so I can follow you. :)