to agents and publishers:

Please publish more fantasy novels for adults.

I understand young adult novels are selling well, and I certainly want young adults to read speculative fiction, because they are my future market. This is by no means a cry to cut-back or stop publishing young adult novels.

However, some of us crave fiction with more substance. I am gainfully employed and do spend a great deal of my disposable income on books, but not young adult. I came of age, and it was such a horrendous experience, I have no wish to relive it any form.

The other problem is simply this: there are so many paranormal and fantasy young adult books on the market, a lot of people are starting to associate fantasy writers solely as young adult writers. This is not the case. Some of us write fantasy novels for adults.

I know. You think I’m over-exaggerating the issue.

Then you need to go to Peter Cooper’s blog and read about the New Center to Investigate Evidence of Non-Paranormal Young-Adult Books.


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14 Responses to to agents and publishers:

  1. Kelly Bryson says:

    I loved Peter’s post. That picture was really blurry, but I’m a believer.

    Do they write fantasy for adults? I had no idea. Can you name one?

    • Teresa says:

      I can name two, smarty-pants: Alex Bledsoe’s The Sword-Edged Blonde and Burn Me Deadly (coming November 10, 2009).

      I quit reading fantasy for a long time because everything was aimed at the YA market. I’ve started reading the genre again, but I’m incredibly picky. An author really has to really be good to get my attention, and I don’t read YA. That makes for slim pickings . . .

  2. Jonathan Danz says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen! I don’t know about you, but I like a certain amount of gravitas in my stories. I enjoyed Harry Potter, especially towards the end. But, I’m not compelled to read those again and again.

    I echo your sentiments regarding coming of age. Once is one time too many, although I suppose I wouldn’t have such a wellspring of conflict from which to draw!

    I’m pretty sure the YA bandwagon looks much like the Clampett’s truck, with hangers-on dangling from the sides and tumbling off the back. One good hill ought to take care of that and then the next bandwagon will come around the bend and pick those guys up. All in the cycle of business and pop culture.

    Kelly – I don’t know if you’ve read it yet, but R. Scott Bakker’s “The Prince of Nothing” Series is quite adult–in a good way.

    • Teresa says:

      Jonathan, you will love Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse series. The first one is dark and moody and (it’s my blog and I can mention ARCs if I want to . . . 😉 so I’ll go ahead and recommend Bledsoe’s forthcoming novel, Burn Me Deadly, which is also great. I haven’t read Blood Groove yet, but so far I’ve found his novels to have the meat that’s been missing from lighter fare that is young adult.

    • Teresa says:

      Oh and Jonathan, there’s one more — Jasper Kent. He wrote the novel, Twelve. This was a good blend of historical fiction and fantasy/horror, although the book had some problems, I still enjoyed the read. I reviewed it for Booklove at: Twelve by Jasper Kent. I don’t know if that would be a title you’d like or not. I will be definitely watching for more of his work.

  3. Kelly Bryson says:

    I just read LeGuins YA book POWERS, and didn’t like it much. Too much wandering by the MC trying to find his place in the world. Is that what you meant, Teresa?
    The nice thing for me is that I like YA. If I didn’t, I don’t know what I’d read, because try finding PG/PG-13 adult scifi. I’m okay with topics being mentioned, e.g.- I loved the Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Leguin (rare adult sci fi/fantasy book), but I don’t want language or graphic sex. Not interested in ‘involved’ violence, either.
    I have really enjoyed the “The Bartimaeus trilogy” by Jonathon Stroud and “The Last Apprentice” by series Joseph Delaney (just read book four). Both about young men, but like Harry Potter, as the series continues, they grow up.
    Jonathon, thanks for the book. I love recommendations. 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      Kelly, yes, the main character looking to find their place or they all begin with the blurb: [Fill in the blank with a name] is a young [choose one: elf, dwarf, human, apprentice, fill in the blank] who must leave their home city of [fill in the blank] to discover [choose one: their place in the world, how to get along with others, lose their prejudice, fill in the blank] so they can work with [a mysterious adult figure who is around only to spout Obi Wan Kenobi mystical phrases] and save their world!


  4. Kelly Bryson says:

    PS- Teresa, no fair naming ARC copies.

  5. Peter says:

    I think there’s plenty of adult fantasy being published, but its the YA stuff that seems to hit the headlines – mainly because there hasn’t been a recent adult fantasy that comes close to the success of Twilight or the Harry Potter series.

    A few standout adult fantasies I’ve read (or I’m about to read) – Deborah Kalin’s Shadow Queen (Jan 2009), Richard Harland’s Worldshaker (May 2009) and Duncan Lay’s Wounded Guardian (Aug 2009). None of these are published in the US, yet – I’d look out for them closer to Christmas.

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Peter, and thanks for the list! I’ll look into some of those. Jasper Kent is from the UK, I picked up a bit about him on the Speculative Horizons blog. I’m finding I’m enjoying the UK authors very much.

      I’m tooting Alex Bledsoe, because he’s from the states. Alex has picked up on a very American theme, the hardboiled detective, and incorporated it into a fantasy setting. His character, Eddie LaCrosse, is an older man who can still kick ass with finese and grace. I do so love these novels.

      I’ll check into your picks and see if any interest me. I got the Kent novel via Amazon, so I’m not worried about waiting for the US release. 😉

      I think I’ve already said this once, but it should be said again — great article.

  6. Jonathan Danz says:

    Maybe it’s because the adult fantasy series either go on forever or take too long between books to generate enough momentum. What do you think?

    To all who’ve posted – My wishlist is getting a little bit longer. I’ve got a lot of reading planned for 2010. Thanks!

    • Teresa says:

      Jonathan, I’m willing to wait for a series (or sequels, as the case may be), especially knowing how long it takes to craft a good novel and go through the publication process. If it’s something like King’s Dark Tower series, I’ll wait until they’re all published and read them consecutively. I know that’s cheating, but when I read a book with a cliff-hanger, I want to immediately move on to the next book.

      I find that I really enjoy sequels where each book stands alone. That’s why I’m writing my novels the way I am. You can read one, and if you like the characters and world I’ve built, you can read another. I remember how much I loved Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, because though each novel concerned the same world, all the stories were completed within one book.

      So what I’m looking for in an adult fantasy is quality writing and story-telling. It’s okay to use complex sentences, and I want the characters to think like people who are beyond their teenage angst. People in their thirties and forties have a completely different perspective on life than younger people, and I want to see those attitudes reflected in the actions and decisions of the characters.

      I don’t think I’m asking for too bloody much here. 😉

  7. Kelly Bryson says:

    I forgot about this adult fantasy-the Runelords by David Farland- his concept of magic is original (kings take their powers from their subjects- their brawn, wit, endurance, beauty) and very well done. Definately a man book-wink- with the emphasis on battles and epic war, but I read a lot of different stuff. My husband just finished it and liked it as well. David Farland also has a email newsletter that explains a lot of his strategy. He thinks about things very deeply- the one today was about the resonance that Tolkien built into his names. ie- Mordor sounds like murder, more door. Mordor=door into death.

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks Kelly! That’s interesting about Tolkien’s names. I’ve read some fantasies where the names looked like a cat walked across the keyboard. I don’t think people understand that names in a fantasy novel aren’t about stringing letters together. There is a certain amount of linguistics involved.

      Thanks for sharing that and for the Runelords recommendation.

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