Monday, July 27, 2009

Current Events in Steampunk

I'm currently at the intern level, but have big dreams to enter the publishing industry after I graduate next spring. I subscribe to a fair amount of industry blogs, and do my best to stay current with news and trends within publishing. One of the most common pieces of advice that I read online is to always keep an eye on the NYT bestseller list or the stacks of new books at the big bookstores in order to figure out what's hot in publishing. However, I also have learned that it takes months, at the very least, for a book to go from submission to shelf.

Is it just a Catch-22 that in order to stay current, I have to be at least a year behind what's actually being accepted and published, or do you have any advice for other ways to keep up with current trends?
re: Catch-22
No. Still very much worth it.

re: Current trends in acquisitions
Steampunk, steampunk, steampunk.


Cecelia said...

Yaay! Scott Westerfeld's right at the cutting edge, then.

Lily Cate said...

Holy cats, that's exactly what I was about to start querying
And I am never, ever on the edge of the trend. Ha!

Amara said...

Hahahah, sweet. My friend and I were just discussing the trends right now. I thought it was steampunk last month, with superhero stuff still big but on the way out.


Anonymous said...

Am I the ONLY one who had to google 'steampunk'?

Literaticat said...


moonrat said...

you mean you read a fair NUMBER of industry blogs?

i'm sorry. i can't stop myself.

Weronika Janczuk said...

Oh, good, because the more I hear about the changing market, the less I want to sit down and read books in my genre that are right off the press (while ignoring everything else).

I hope to someday be an intern out there, too, and this is great advice. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, really! Are there any sites you or anyone else can recommend on the latest in 'Steampunk' lit ... ?

Vacuum Queen said...

Hmmmm...nothing like old technology and romance for that odd couple killer hit.

Thomas Taylor said...

I thoroughly approve of steampunk.

Thanks for introducing me to a new term – I've never heard it used in the UK. I've encountered 'counterfactual history' before, and maybe others, but I much prefer 'steampunk'.

Anonymous said...

If you're only just starting your steampunk novel right now, you are still too late. If they are being acquired now, they'll come out probably before you can complete yours and then, lo and behold, you will be in possession of a book no one wants.

This is why you shouldn't follow trends, people.

Plus -- I'm betting steampunk has a very short shelf life, so to speak, as a whole.

Anonymous said...

How about superhero with a splash of steampunk? A little atmosphere can go a long way, right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, moonrat. That is one of my grammatical pet peeves. Shouldn't an almost-college-graduate aspiring to a literary career know better?

Sam Hranac said...

Really? I stopped reading steampunk a year ago. And I'm like, all 1908 'n' stuff.

Karen Duvall said...

I'm eager to read some new books in the steampunk genre! Everything I've read so far has been around for a while, so I'm glad publishing is recognizing how fun this genre can be, especially when crossed with other genres.

I completed one recently, a steampunk urban fantasy set in NYC, but it's adult, not children's fiction. My agent is getting some interest and it recently won first place in a contest, so my fingers are crossed that a sale is right around the corner! Though I've said that before about other projects. Pffft. :)

Those thinking about trying it on for size, if it's a genre you like, go for it. We should all write in the genres we're passionate about regardless of trends.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was excited to get my question posted. I'm sorry I made the error - I'm not going to make excuses, because I do feel rather stupid upon another read of it. I don't mind moonrat's remark because it wasn't rude. But thank you, Anonymous, really.

Peevish remarks aside, thanks for answering my question. I really do appreciate it.

Bailey Thomas

Michael Reynolds said...

If it's a trend it's already over. The trick is not in finding the current trend but in guessing the next trend. Or creating it.

When we were doing Animorphs the trend was horror. No one was buying middle grade sci fi.

Then, suddenly, horror was over and sci fi was the trend. We rode that for 5 years. Having become the trend, we killed the trend.

We guessed it (the market) would go to fantasy next. We were right, unfortunately for us, it wasn't our Everworld series it was a modest little thing called Harry Potter.

Now I'm in a YA trend called "apocalyptic" which is being defined by several people, most notably Suzanne Collins and Cory Doctorow.

I'm trying to guess what's next. I've put my money on middle grade comic adventure. But you never know. If I could tell the future I'd have shorted Lehman.

Anonymous said...

What is 'superhero' stuff? YA or adult? I know a reader who'd consume that stuff. And I've been looking for a gift ...

Recommendations? Other than that 'Invincible' one, that I already know about.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Michael, you're married to KA Applegate! (In case you didn't know.)

Would you do me a favor? Just reach forward and tap the place where this comment appears on your screen. Maybe some of the vibe will transmit through the e-ther.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:05 --

YA superhero... DULL BOY, by Sara Cross is a newer one. I think it's going to be a series?

Anonymous said...

celi.a mentioned Scott Westerfeld. I, too, am looking forward to "Leviathan". But in the meantime, I've been enjoying Kenneth Oppel's "Airborn", "Skybreaker", and "Starclimber".

Michael Reynolds said...

Hi, Bingol:

I did better. I read your comment to Katherine who laughed.

BTW there's much fairly serious talk from Scholastic about a relaunch and spin-off of Animorphs. Nothing definite yet.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I win the day! I'm a big fan of Katherine's (and the first chapter of Gone ain't too shabby, either!).

On the other hand, Scholastic rejected me last week. So if there -is- a relaunch, please pee in the lobby.

(And good luck!)

lisav said...

The Westerfeld was amazing, kid readers are going to be nuts for it but it will be very hard to find "more like that" for the voracious readers. What's really important is how little steampunk there for the ten and up age group. Write faster.

Emilie said...

I've got a feminist steampunk novel if anyone wants to take a read. Point me in the direction of an agent that reps SP and I will gladly come by and wash your car every day for a month!
Google Chenda and the Airship Brofman.

Anonymous said...

The Anachronism Steampunk NYC Part II: Expedition to Candyland! is an awesome, friendly Steampunk event happening tomorrow. It has a candy mountain's worth of talented entertainment including Voltaire! cuter than a gum drop button and smarter than a licorice whip. and dont forget No Human Intentions fashion show! See you there?

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