I’m currently pitching a Sci-Fi kid’s novel to agents, so I headed over to my local branch of Waterstones in order to try to identify comparison titles. (Similar books that I can reference in my covering letter to give prospective agents an idea of where on the shelves my story would fit.)
This particular book of mine is aimed at the 10+ market, the same market as Red Rock. It’s quite sciency but not science heavy and I’ve made sure that the science in it is accessible. It’s probably best described as a Girls in STEM story.
So I started searching in the 9-12 age section for similar types of books – and you know what – nothing. I couldn’t find a single book even remotely sciency or Sci-Fi! Nothing! Diddly-squat!!!
So I came home and searched on Amazon. I found a couple but nothing that would really work as a comparison title!
I did the same for YA and guess what? Yup. Apart from the hangovers from the Dystopia boom a while back – and yes, Dystopia is a type of Sci-Fi – but my book isn’t a dystopia, so they weren’t a good match either.
It’s puzzling. There’s a huge drive to encourage STEM subjects at school, and particularly to encourage girls into STEM – it’s nothing new – it’s been going on for a while – so why isn’t this being reflected in kid’s literature?
Then, yesterday I spotted an agent commenting on this very thing. Her inbox was full of YA Sci-Fi – which suggested to her that there were plenty of readers and writers of the genre out there - but editors simply don’t want to buy it.
Clearly there’s a mismatch here. There could be many reasons for it, but as a humble writer rather than an industry insider I wouldn’t know.
All I can say is it doesn’t bode well for the story I’m pitching. Or for my current WIP which has a definite YA feel to it – Maybe I’d be better off pitching it as Adult instead!