Friday, April 9, 2010

Fat Vampires & Other Things.....

Hey everyone! I hope your spring break was amazing and you were able to rest up a bit. We held our first "Spa Day" at the library on Wednesday, April 7th and the feedback we received was awesome! I hope you're all enjoying your spa products and are practicing the yoga we learned!

On another note, don't forget that the next teen advisory board is on April 22nd, from 6:30-7:30. I hope to see you all there and don't forget to bring a book review for our website if you have one.

Lastly, here's an article I found on the Publisher's Weekly website that I thought you would find interesting. Have a great rest of spring-break!!

PW's "Beyond Twilight" panel looked at what teens and kids are reading
By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 4/7/2010 10:00:29 AM

The continuing prevalence of pale, sexy vampires (and the rise of related comic sub-genres), the growth of teen-focused dystopian fiction and the transformation of the children's publishing niche into a big advance—along with big financial pressure—publishing category, were just some of the topics covered by a panel of agents at Publishers Weekly's "Beyond Twilight: What's Hot in the Teen Market in Publishing and Hollywood." Held at the Random House offices in Manhattan, the panel was co-moderated by PW's children's editor Diane Roback and news editor and deals columnist Rachel Deahl. The well-attended event ranged freely across the YA and children's book and film market, touching on the growth of middle-grade fiction, paranormal genres, the use of public domain works (like Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes) and the obvious and not so obvious ways that Hollywood studios and book publishers have an impact on the category. But the panel quickly got to the overriding theme of the morning session—are book publishers only interested in signing the next Twilight-like megaseller in a teen marketplace that seems perpetually fixated on vampires?Rebecca Sherman, an agent at Writers House, conceded that, yes, indeed more vampire lit is coming—but it's vampire lit with "a spin." Sherman pointed to forthcoming properties like Blood Thirsty, a title that features "a pale scrawny kid and a rumor that he's a vampire that makes him very popular with the girls." Sherman pointed to the growth of comic subgenres, including the forthcoming novel Fat Vampire by Adam Rex and more mashups that include comic riffs on werewolfs and zombies. Claire Lundberg, a literary scout for MGM and United Artists, acknowledged that the film studios continue to see "a lot of paranormal; a lot of vampires, angels, zombies and a fair amount of werewolves are still getting optioned. I'm tired of it but I'm not sure the kids are." Of course both industries are interested in what's popular—what will sell to teens—and Stephen Barbara, an agent with Foundry Literary + Media, said that maintream YA titles were not being completely edged out by paranormal blockbusters. But he also made the obvious point that "it's easier to sell a big book with a hook than coming-of-age realism." Barbara also emphasized the country's demographics, saying "there's a huge number of teen readers," and pointed to their enthusiasm. "It's an age group that is not afraid to love a book." Barbara said he expects to see more "big across the board, multi-platform franchises." Indeed, in light of the impact of blockbuster series like Harry Potter and Twilight, the discussion focused on the growth of the children's blockbuster book and the attendant big advances and multi-book deals. At his agency, Barbara said, "I used to be the guy over in the corner doing the little kids' books deals." No longer. Later in the discussion he acknowledged what that means: "less freedom and more people paying attention to us like the adult side, and more pressure to succeed." While book publishers and movie studios have a symbiotic relationship in creating megaselling franchises, Lundberg noted that the two industries have very different needs. Studios are leery of series publishing: "they're risky if the first book doesn't do well," she said, while Sherman emphasized, "We don't push series but it's nice to sign more than one book if you're offering a substantial advance. It's hard to put everything on one book." Lundberg noted the difficulty of getting studios to pay attention to book publishing numbers that seem small to Hollywood. "100,000 copies—a thrill for publishers—just isn't impressive to a movie studio." So while Hollywood offers "possibilities," said Sherman, the potential for films should not be the criterion by which a book is judged. "Hollywood is fickle," said Lundberg without surprising anyone in the audience. The discussion also touched on the rise of dystopian novels like The Hunger Games and The Road and the role that blockbuster films like Avatar and a forthcoming Hunger Games film adaptation will have on the popularity of the genre among teen readers. Noting the depressing plot of The Hunger Games, Lundberg said the industry was "not sure how the film will do. Kids killing kids? It's a Hollywood non-starter," causing a librarian in the audience to respond, "But my teens like depressing," to general laughter.Pointing to the popularity of graphic books like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Sherman predicted a greater impact of "illustrated books for older readers that were not graphic novels," while Lundberg pointed to the continuing influence of graphic novels on forthcoming films—noting in particular the manga/pop culture mashup Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the superhero/adventure sendup Kick-Ass, both being released this summer. Indeed the discussion finally drew out Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, who was in the audience and who addressed a few topics, including big advances (they are "no predictor of success, some of our lowest advances have gone to our biggest successes") and digital publishing for teens ("We go where our readers go. If they read on their phones we go there").And she also spoke to the pressure to publish books similar to whatever blockbuster title is dominating the bestseller lists. "Be it Harry Potter or Twilight, and many other books will be written around them," Katz said. "We don't ask for these trends. What really happens is that someone writes something fantastic that hits a nerve, and word-of-mouth builds momentum."

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