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March 19, 2012

YA Deals 2011-2012, Part I

Kate Hart
The sun is shining, birds are singing, and flowers are blooming, so it must be time for...

(You thought I was going to say March Madness, didn't you? It is also time for that. But not in this post.)

So has anything changed? Last year, contemporary was making a stronger showing than expected, but paranormal was still stomping the competition in big deals. This year?

Contemporary is still making a respectable showing, but science fiction is coming on strong. Combined with dystopian and steampunk, it just about overtakes paranormal in second place.

How big are these deals? Well, as you can see, the vast majority of dollar figures aren't reported.

Per Publisher's Marketplace:
"nice" = $1-49K
"very nice" = $50-99K
"good" = $100-250K
"significant" = $251-499
"major" = $500,000

* "six-figure" deals were counted as "good" for these charts.

From the numbers we do have, we see:

Well look at that. Contemporary and paranormal are neck-in-neck for big deals, with science fiction not far behind.


Last year, I combined genres that didn't make a big showing, to keep the graphs simple. Specifically, that meant fantasy was counted with paranormal; steampunk was part of sci fi, and "other" included historical, thriller, and etc.

This year, however, steampunk was a decent chunk of the market, even though we keep hearing it's dead. Historical was more prevalent, and thriller/suspense/mystery were minor buzz words. So for comparison's sake, I've made charts using last year's divisions, and made the newly-emerging genres a different shade of last year's color.

You can see that even with the combined categories, sci fi took a big bite out of paranormal's share of the big deals. Big dystopian deals also fell. The unexpected gain, however, was contemporary, which more than doubled its piece of the six-figure signings.

Finally, you can see that debut authors are holding steady at less than a quarter of reported deals.

Tomorrow: We'll look at single vs. multi-book deals, and break those down by genre. Next month, covers!

eta: Parts two and three are up!

Margin of Error Disclaimers:

  1. The other day, my six-year-old corrected my addition. So these numbers should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.
  2. All figures were taken from Publisher's Marketplace deal reporting. I didn't download any statistics from their website- I counted the deals (not individual books) manually and assigned my own categories when necessary. Special thanks to Phoebe North and Kristin Halbrook for helping me categorize titles; a few errors are likely and are totally mine.
  3. These charts are not a full representation of YA publishing, because some agents and editors choose not to list deals in Publisher's Marketplace, nor have I included any foreign sales.
  4. Dystopian includes apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic. 
  5. "Debuts" includes deals specifically marked at such, plus any I recognized personally as first deals.
  6. "Other" includes deals with unclear or non-existent blurbs. I did try to work some Google-fu on the confusing ones.
  7. These books sold in the past year, but your local bookstore shelves won't reflect these numbers until at least winter 2012, at the earliest. See Carrie Ryan's post for more information on YA deal time frames.


    Thanks for compiling all of this and translating it into digestible pies!

  2. This is so interesting, thanks for breaking it down! New follower here, found you through Twitter! :)

  3. Go sci-fi, it's your birthday, you're once again relevant, makin' phoebe happy.

    Also megasuperhugs to Kate Hearthearthart.

    (Oh no, I've had too much coffee.)

  4. Wow Kate :D Interesting post :D (and I love the graphs!)

  5. Can the universe ever contain your epic?

    No. No, it cannot.

    Amazing infographics, love.

  6. It's not easy to make numbers interesting!
    Congrats on your creative and informative post, and thanks!

  7. very interesting! thanks for sharing!

  8. You are the Seriously. And I don't use that term lightly.

  9. This is WONDERFUL! Thanks for compiliing and sharing.

  10. So interesting - thanks for taking the time to do all of this!

  11. Wow! Totally fascinating! And I love the info-graphics since I'm more of a visual person. Thank you so much for putting this together! :)

  12. You are amazing, Kate Hart! Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to compile and share this data. It's fascinating, and the contemporary writer in me is feeling quite relieved. :)

  13. This is so amazing! You're the best, Kate.

  14. This rocks! Thanks for putting this together.

  15. Great stats... so interesting that sci fi is picking up while paranormal and dystopia are dropping.

  16. Be still my heart.

    I LOVE charts and graphs :-)

  17. This is awesome, Kate! I'm sure it too ka ton of time to put together, so thanks! :)

  18. Wow, this is amazing. Things might not be too dire... yet.

    I'm sharing this on Facebook.

  19. Thanks everyone, so glad you enjoyed it!

  20. This is AWESOME! Thanks so much. It's nice to see there's a strong showing for contemporary.

  21. hey kate - add a twitter/fb button so I can share your awesomeness with the world in a jiffy! :)

    I'm a designer and researcher by trade, and I love charts without shame. These are great!

    1. Hm, I tried to use what's available in the template and it doesn't seem to be working-- I'll have to tweak the code later. Thanks for the suggestion!


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