Subscribe to The Horn Book

>Pirate ships have lowered their flags.

>In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, we’re proofreading the next issue of the Horn Book Guide, and the Intermediate Fiction section is crawling with Greek gods. The pirates seem in retreat. As are the faEEries.

I wonder when publishers find out that they’re all doing the same thing, and how they feel about that?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. GraceAnne LadyHawk says:

    >I have often wondered about this: when we get a handful of novels about Shakespeare’s daughter; or six titles called The Last [insert noun here]; or a spate of YA fiction with terrific librarians (OK, I like that part).

    As a reviewer, sometimes this makes me crazy. As a writer or publisher, it must make one crazy, too. Is it in the air? In the pixels? In the Zeitgeist?

  2. Anonymous says:

    >surely the publishers know what their colleagues are doing BEFORE the reviews appear? it can’t be such a surprise at this late date!

  3. Anonymous says:

    >surely he publishers know what their competition is long before the reviews appear?

  4. Anonymous says:

    >Methinks marketing and editorial folk should restrain themselves from discussing work in progress whilst dining in public restaurants. Or yakking about them on their cell phones at the airport.

  5. tefwlwfg says:

    >Anyone who can do anything about getting people to stop yakking on their cell phones in airports gets a gold star.

    You all make it sound like the common-thread ideas originate with the publishers, though. Isn’t it more likely the authors in their writers’ groups and at their conferences and on their blogs who are diffusing the ideas?

  6. ladydisdain says:

    >I think this time the publishers all got together and decided that fantasy for boys is no longer necessary. The spring lists are a wasteland. What the hell these boys are going to read, I have no idea.

  7. Roger Sutton says:

    >You know, I’ve just finished proofreading the YA fiction section, and the faEErie(s?) are still much amongst us.

    The Boy Books are tending toward the Alex Rider model–spies and gadgets. I love grownup spy books but these junior variants tend to be too gimmicky for me, affecting a James Bond gloss without understanding what was actually, in Fleming, a pretty complicated world view. I’m not saying kids’ spy books need to get all John Le Carre on us, but if you can’t take the conspiracy seriously, there’s no point.

  8. rindawriter says:

    >Ah…the mysterious world of publishing just got even more mysteriouser…methinks.

    Perhaps it is all due to something vibrating at the subatomic level…what’s that one called? Oh, string theory…I THINK.

    And maybe THAT explains emergence theory…you know, why all the same books on the same topics mysteriously emerge, season after season…

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind