I am wondering: Have series fallen into disfavor? Is it currently better to write a stand-alone book when writing middle grade fiction? From your recent post and your state of the market keynote at the SCBWI Summer Conference last month, I would guess that our current tight market, although showing signs of improvement, would favor stand-alone books. Is this correct? I would love to have your opinion on this.
It’s more accurate to say that the current middle grade fiction market is more open to stand-alone books than it’s been in recent years. I interviewed seventeen industry insiders to create that market keynote you’re referring to, including agents, editors, sales and marketing managers in both the trade and the school & library markets, independent marketing experts, and experts in digital books. I asked every one of them about the state of series in each of the various children’s book categories. I came away from those interviews understanding that the inclination toward trilogies and series in MG and YA fiction in recent years seems to be shifting a bit, with agents and editors more actively seeking stand-alone books that can stand out thanks to distinct, marketable concepts and that can hold up thanks to strong craft.