Hunger Games, Young Adult Fiction – What The Readers Already Knew

Are you writing frantically for NaNoWriMo? Are you trying to write the next dystopian bestseller?

Charlie Jane Anders’ article at io9 recaps discussions with publishing industry experts at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto about the state of Young Adult publishing. The entire article is worth a read, especially for aspiring and published novelists. Here are the important takeaways:

The dystopian market is flooded, which isn’t that surprising considering everyone tried to produce the next Harry Potter, and the next Twilight.

“I do think the YA market is very tough now if not impossible for novels that are girl or boy vs. corrupt government,” says Sara Crowe, a literary agent with Harvey Klinger, Inc. And after the many, many dystopias that Hunger Games inspired, this book wouldn’t have the same feeling of originality it had back when it first appeared. At the same time, the darkness in Hunger Games “would be less of an obstacle than when it was first bought.”

Adults read YA for escapism. Trends are leaning toward action adventure for this reason.

Samantha Shea, a literary agent with Georges Bourchardt, Inc., brings up a startling fact: some 55 percent of buyers of young adult novels are 18 or older. In fact, the biggest share of total sales goes to people aged 30-44. And these books aren’t being bought as gifts for kids — 78 percent of them are for the adults’ own reading.

This isn’t shocking to the readers who buy these books. I’ve been saying this for a while on FANgirl. Life is tough, and there is nothing better than a nice read that takes a person on an adventure, which The Hunger Games did. That doesn’t mean readers want to sit down with The Hungers Games Retitled and Repackaged, or that they want another book about kids killing kids or another story in a dystopian setting. They just want a good story that isn’t a rehash of another story, especially if it’s coming from the same author.

Which brings me to the last point from the article:

Good writing will always win out.

Anders uses several quotes from industry insiders to support this conclusion, which seems so obvious as a consumer but has at times been sacrificed in trying to feed the Get It Into Print frenzy. Undoubtedly, though, quality and originality are what actually sell books to the readers I know.



Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to

3 thoughts on “Hunger Games, Young Adult Fiction – What The Readers Already Knew

  • November 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Oh I have things to say about rehashing… things to say!! If only the time to write them all down too.

    Although we can circle logic this and say if Hunger Games hadn’t come out when it did would we have so many dystopian kid vs corruption stories that Hunger Games wouldn’t be able to be bought now. :p

    • November 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      The irony is that if you wrote them all down you’d be rehashing

  • November 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Point. :)

Comments are closed.