I noted a while back that there was a gap in the traditional publishing shelf. I also noticed that Carina Press recently added a category called “New Adult” that focuses on 18-28ish protagonists. Clearly Angela James pays attention to digital trends (it’s her job to do so, of course, but it also means she’s savvy enough to make that leap quickly).
At any rate, the idea that there are endless niches that are being neglected by print publishers is no surprise. As Jessica Park noted in her screed against traditional publishers: “What they did pay attention to were their totally misguided ideas about what would and wouldn’t sell.”
So among the things publishers and agents currently do not think will sell are portal fantasies. This blog posts digs deep on it but my overall takeaway is that publishers are ignoring good stories because they just don’t care enough to bother trying to come up with a new sales pitch.
And that’s a shame–but one that self-publishing will fill.
In fact, I read a couple of chapters from a friend’s new novel recently that was a YA portal fantasy (though the characters were coming from their enchanted place to our world). It had funny, smart characters, a solid romantic element, and a fully realized fantasy world.
She shelved it to go in a different direction with another idea she had (and perhaps that’s a good thing, given its chances of getting past the query stage).