Sunday, May 16, 2010

Straight YA vs. Paranormal -- Which do you write?

I was reading a recent blog post by my agent last night.  After a rather lengthy tit for tat about the number of aspiring authors referencing, or rather comparing their books to some highly reputable, award-winning manuscripts, some of us got to wondering what the most common query words/themes were. Being efficient and as curious as we were, she went ahead and did a quick search of her query database. Below are some stats she posted on her site
  • Harry Potter: 73 (13 were just "J.K. Rowling" without mention of title)
  • Twilight: 111
  • Eat, Pray, Love: 104
  • Vampire: 118.
  • Werewolf: 35. I imagine most people do not use this much except when referring to the moon-inspired beasties.
  • Angel: hundreds. Seriously hundreds. But keep in mind that one often uses the word "angel" or "angelic" without directly referring to their own work. Some even have the name of Angel, and it pops up, too.
  • Demon: 113. Subtract a few (probably 10) for writers simply referring to something non-paranormal as "demonic."
  • Dragon: 98, though a number of these referred to dragon statutes and other dragon objects that were within the story and mattered but did not refer to living, fire-breathing dragons.
 I am curious to see which, if any, of these words/ references you utilized in your own queries. I’ll start my saying that I used none. Then again, I write straight YA with a dystopian feel so angels, demons, etc . . . didn’t apply to me. I asked her to do another quick search for me . . . determine the skew between straight YA and Paranormal. I’ll let you know those numbers once I get them.


  1. The YA I queried last year had a paranormal twist, but didn't involve any of that stuff!

  2. That's a fascinating search result. And I'm glad to say my query doesn't have any of those in it. It would be interesting to know how those shift with time.

  3. Fascinating! I write straight MG, so I don't have any of those elements either.

  4. Hey Trish, you know I was interested in this post by AG. My query didn't have any of those keywords in it thank goodness, but it did have the words "paranormal connection" in it, which gets dangerously close.

  5. I write paranormal and admit to employing angels and demons in my query, because *stands up and proudly announces* that's what my story is about! lol

  6. I have none of those key words, but I do have some paranormal key elements in my story. I am so new at this that sometimes I don't know hoe to classify my work. heehee! Oh well.

  7. Dang! I had a drangon on an Eat, Pray, Love quest to save a vampire! It's exactly like Harry Potter, but nothing like Twilight. I hope that didn't hurt my chances.

    Straight YA, but my MG novel is a fantasy novel. None of those things in them

  8. I'm writing a straight MG novel, and my previous book is a chapter book -- none of those words {phew} appeared in any of my queries for previous work -- and won't in queries for my current WIP.