Hi Polly (and Sarah)! I have an idea for a middle-grade dystopian book, but I’m hesitant to start it simply because of the “dystopian” label. Is dystopian still incredibly over-saturated these days or are some agents and editors looking for it? Specifically, I’m wondering if dystopian currently has a decent shot for publication in the middle-grade category (it would really stink to write the whole book and discover the market’s too saturated for it haha).
It might also help to mention that my particular book is somewhat cross-genre. It starts out seeming like a dark fantasy with faeries and dystopian elements, but later on it basically becomes a straight-up dystopian, even if fairly fantastical, in which an elite society must be “taken down.” Don’t know if the specifics really factor in here, but does this sound like something in a too saturated market? Any help would be greatly appreciated – thanks so much! -Chris
Thanks for getting in touch. ‘Dystopian’ – in MG and in YA – is still something that editors aren’t jumping on but, of course, that may change in the time it takes you to write your novel. If this is a book that is calling to you and you feel compelled to write it (as is so often the case with the very best books), perhaps the way to approach it is to think about how vital the ‘dystopian’ label is. Could the book be pitched as something else? What other themes and ideas does will be covered? Can you get agents to read it without putting a preconceived notion in their heads?!