Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fear Is So Old-Fashioned, Right?

I'm curious of how the horror genre is holding up in the children's market. Is there room for another R.L. Stine, or is that era past? If not, who would be the best publisher to approach with a middle-grade horror story? Any ideas?
Is that era past? Have you not noticed the hordes of zombies currently overrunning the shelves?

Horror, like any genre, is fairly perennial. Little Brown is doing very well with its Cirque du Freak series. Simon & Schuster just got a Printz Honor for Monstrumologist. Harper could certainly be doing more with the popular Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, but maybe they're satisfied with those sales. Etc.

I would suggest you do some more market research, and try one of the few publishers who don't currently have a strong horror title or series on their list. And then try the rest of them.


Anonymous said...

I point the questioner to Joseph Delaney's very readable if lamentably misogynist "Last Apprentice" series.

Lindsey Carmichael said...

As a bookseller, I'd love to see more horror titles for teens. Darren Shan's fans are both hungry and legion, and they're desperate for new authors.

Michael Grant said...

There's a bunch of horror out there. What's missing is the monthly series horror Stine used to do so well.

A monthly series is a perfect match for an e-book original series. I've thought of doing it myself but I'm a bit committed for the next 18 months or so, and I'd have to go to ghostwriters quicker than I'd like.

But there is a hole in the market there. Middle grade, say 90 pages, some illustration, geared for iPod Touch and iPad and Kindle with a straight-up web version as well, maybe on a subscription basis or with sponsorships. (Yeah, yeah, advertising to kid readers is the Apocalypse, the end of innocence, blah, blah, blah.)

I know the standard response: not enough of a market there yet. But that's because there's no product geared for the market. Sometimes you have to create a market. And every kid in an up-market middle school has an iPod Touch or iPhone. Why publishers aren't all over this -- and quick before individual writers move in and do it self-pubbed -- I will never understand.

5 Kids With Disabilities said...

I may be wrong, but it seems as though the horror stories these days are more graphic and leave less to the imagination. It takes one type of writer to describe gore, it takes a far different writer to create suspense. I miss the suspenseful thrillers.
Lindsey Petersen

Lindsey Carmichael said...

Interesting to hear your opinion, Michael - I often recommend your books to the Shan fans (the older ones, anyway).

Abby said...

As a librarian, I have to second Lindsey's request for more horror stories. Even though they're not new, we can't keep RL Stine or Scary Stories to Tell... on the shelves.

Abigail said...

Of course we need more--and we need them for mid-late elementary. The series you mention are all in the teen section. certainly teens need good stuff but the younger kids are looking for more scary things too. RL Stine was super popular when I was in 6th grade and that was too long ago. His stuff still goes but we need something new.

Michael Grant said...



Michael Grant said...



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