100% freeware to create electronic flash magazines, catalogs, newspapers, brochures, documents from Rich Text Format (RTF) or text book. Flipping Book Publisher (freeware) allows you to build stunning flash flip books for both online and offline use in minutes. What is quantifiable is the direct feedback you receive from readers and listeners, and some of the data — such as when a person stops listening to a podcast, which is available from services such as Stitcher. About the AuthorEdward NawotkaA widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. When I wrote my 2011 post that broke down the statistics on LGBT young adult books, I was relying on data collected by other people for other (equally valid) purposes. This year for YA Pride, I’ve decided to look at the data again, but with a different, more specific focus. Since 2011, I’ve realized that the data I used then, which mostly came from Christine Jenkins’s bibliography of LGBT YA and additional information provided by researcher Michael Cart, did not fully align with the goals of my own research.
The Heart Has Its Reasons catalogs any and all YA titles that mention LGBT characters or issues. Over the past few years I’ve come to believe that it’s important to define “LGBT YA” more narrowly, at least in the context of my ongoing counting1 of YA titles with LGBT characters or issues. As a lesbian reader, this makes sense to me because if I’m looking for a book about a lesbian character, I don’t really want to read a book about a straight character who has a lesbian best friend. However, this restriction means that many of the titles included in Cart and Jenkins’s data do not qualify under my narrow definition of “LGBT YA.” In earlier decades, I do think it was important to count all of these mentions, even if they were peripheral, because there were so few representations that eliminating all but main characters could often lead to erasing many books that paved the way for today’s LGBT YA. That’s why today in 2013, I think it’s high time for “LGBT YA” to mean YA books about LGBT main characters. In addition to narrowing the definition of LGBT YA that I’m interested in, over the past few years I’ve also become more interested in how major commercial publishers publish this LGBT YA. In part, it’s the rise of self-publishing and the increasing number of LGBT publishers that publish LGBT YA that has fueled my interest in major commercial publishers. What I do know is that teens — who rarely have the disposable income of adults — still get their books from school and public libraries. I chose these three because they are larger than other non-Big 6 YA publishers by a significant degree.
In some ways, I see the largest YA publishers as analogous to the broadcast networks on television. From 2003–13, an average of 15 LGBT YA novels were published by major commercial publishers each year. As you can see by the chart above, the number of LGBT YA novels varied each year, beginning with 13 titles in 2003, and peaking at 25 titles in 2007. I suspect that the dip in 2010 reflects the results of belt-tightening in the wake of the wider economic crash in 2008, which was felt well into 2009. I’m not sure why there was such a high number of LGBT YA titles published in 2007, but given the lower numbers published in each subsequent year, it seems to have been an anomaly. An analysis of the LGBT content of the books published between 2003 and 2013 reveal that, unsurprisingly given my other analyses, there are more books about cisgender male main characters than about cisgender female or transgender characters. Looking at the genres that LGBT YA falls into, contemporary is the clear leader here, with 83% of LGBT YA being contemporary novels. Finally, I examined the average and median number of LGBT YA books published by each publisher from 2003–13. The results show that Simon and Schuster has consistently published more LGBT YA than any other major commercial publisher. If a publisher is not overtly homophobic — and I truly believe that none of the major commercial publishers are — then you might expect a list to include a number of LGBT YA books that fit within the publisher’s broader vision, simply because some books happen to be about LGBT people. What’s interesting about the results above is that I don’t think Simon and Schuster is the largest YA publisher in the US.
I think I can safely conclude that Simon and Schuster does not publish the highest number of LGBT YA titles annually because it publishes the highest number of YA titles overall.
I also want to note that publishers are usually divided into smaller entities called imprints.
Looking into the numbers of LGBT YA being published by major commercial publishers in the US today, I can only conclude that yes, major commercial publishers do publish LGBT YA — but not very much of it.
Heteronormativity, even more than homophobia, can limit the ways that non-LGBT people view LGBT books.
The pervasive belief, delivered to me every time I do an interview or an event, that LGBT books do not sell. The word on the street is that publishers are struggling to figure out where they fit in a new book market that includes ebooks, and part of that struggle is looking carefully at their lists and figuring out where to put their money. If you look at the LGBT YA novels that have gotten big marketing pushes from their publishers in recent years, they’ve all been marketed as award-worthy. For authors who want to write LGBT YA, I think it’s important to go into this knowing that there can be obstacles in your path that books about straight characters won’t face. For readers who want to read LGBT YA, don’t forget to look outside the major commercial publishers. For publishers, I think it will always be difficult to balance between good intentions and financial reality.
Despite the struggles that go into publishing LGBT YA, I don’t think the prognosis is entirely grim.


The list of books LGBT YA books published by major commercial publishers from 2003–13 that I used for this post is available here at Google Docs. Don’t forget to enter the Great YA Pride 2013 Giveaway to win lots of wonderful LGBT YA books. Customized Viewer Interface : Customized viewer, allows you to change background and toolbar colors, add or remove graphics and features. Background Image: Allows you to insert any image directly on the background of your edition.
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Easy Navigation - Online publications look and read like traditional magazines with turn page. It’s not a bullet point or marketing strategy, says Anshuman Iddamsetty of PRH Canada.
He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016. I wrote the post in one long, late night of number crunching, and I always hoped that I’d have the opportunity to revisit that data because I was pretty sure I’d gotten some things wrong. My conclusions echo what I’ve concluded every year since 2011: There aren’t a lot of LGBT YA books being published, and there is definitely room for growth and change in the kinds of LGBT YA being published.
This makes sense for their book, which was a survey of the representation of LGBT characters and issues throughout the entire history of YA publishing.
That best friend — even if she’s important to the main character — is marginalized in the narrative. But starting in the early 2000s, which saw the publication of David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy, Julie Anne Peters’s Keeping You a Secret, Brent Hartinger’s Geography Club, and Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow High (all in 2003 — a watershed year for LGBT YA), LGBT YA began to definitively turn away from the problem-focused novels of the past. Even though there are many new ways for authors to publish their books these days, the fact remains that distribution is still key in getting those books into the hands of YA readers. Although there are always exceptions, books published by major commercial publishers are generally more likely to be found on those library shelves.
Disney Publishing Worldwide, which includes the Disney Book Group and the Hyperion young adult imprint, is “the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines with over 700 million products sold each year” (source). Broadcast networks have historically had the widest reach, even though much quality programming happens these days on cable channels that have smaller distribution in the television marketplace. Those issues include same-sex sexual abuse, bullying, and a straight character coming to terms with a gay parent or gay friend. An additional 4% were poetry or novels-in-verse, which could also be categorized as contemporary. For example, Tor Teen publishes science fiction and fantasy for young adults; you’re unlikely to find a contemporary realistic romance on the Tor Teen list. You might also expect a larger publisher, which publishes more YA books, to publish more LGBT YA books simply because it’s putting more books into the market.
I’m not certain about this because I’ve been unable to determine how many YA titles are published annually by each of the major commercial publishers.6 However, I did have data on the overall size of the major commercial publishers, both from the publishers’ public statements about the number of titles they publish, and data from John B.
These imprints have their own vision, their own list, and can vary in terms of gay friendliness, even within a publisher. Among those titles, 15 of them are Pretty Little Liars books, some of which address the character Emily Fields’ bisexuality, and some of which do not.
An average of 15 LGBT YA titles per year from the US’s nine biggest publishers is very low. No publisher is going to put all their eggs in one basket because nobody can truly predict which books will take off. I see this throughout all aspects of publishing, from acquisitions through reader reviews online. It’s true that there have been few bestselling LGBT YA novels, but people often overlook the fact that certain bestselling series do include LGBT characters: Pretty Little Liars, for one, and The Mortal Instruments, for another. I’ve heard — and take this with a grain of salt because it’s clearly gossip — that publishers are focusing more on potential bestsellers and potential award-winners. In retrospect, I see now that my first novel, Ash, received significant support from my publisher, Little, Brown (Hachette), because of its award potential. They emphasize the novel’s significance in tackling a serious, controversial issue, or they note the book’s groundbreaking status. This means being savvy about which publishers are receptive to these books, and recognizing that the very low number of LGBT YA books being published annually means that you’re fighting for a tiny portion of an already pretty small pie. That means when you’re at the bookstore and you don’t see LGBT YA on the shelves, don’t assume it’s not out there.
The number of LGBT YA books has been rising, albeit slowly, and the kind of LGBT YA books being published has been changing.
However, this means their data includes books that in some cases have only secondary or peripheral gay characters, or passing mentions of homosexuality as an issue. By distribution I mean whether books are available in bookstores and school and public libraries. Smaller publishers vary in their distribution3, but self-published books are rarely found on library or bookstore shelves.


According to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s media kit, “HMH has led the pre-K–12 publishing market since 2007, maintaining a market share of approximately 40% in the K–12 addressable space.” And Scholastic also claims to be “the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world” (source).
An analysis of the broadcast networks — or the major publishers — doesn’t negate the contributions that smaller networks (or publishers) can and do make, especially in representation of minorities, but I do think the major networks (and publishers) have a greater responsibility due to their greater reach. In the last few years the number has risen once again, though not as high as it was in 2007. While these titles address important issues and may be excellent ways for straight readers to engage with LGBT stories for the first time, it bothers me that the LGBT characters in these books tend to be othered, if only so that the straight main character can ultimately accept or tolerate them. Among its authors who have written multiple LGBT YA books are Alex Sanchez, Ellen Hopkins, and Ellen Wittlinger. For example, Random House has more than 200 “editorially-independent imprints,” meaning that each imprint has its own editorial vision.
The fact remains that LGBT people are a minority, and overcoming this in the eyes of the mainstream continues to be a struggle. Whether or not this is true (“groundbreaking” can be in the eye of the beholder), it can contribute to an atmosphere in which an LGBT YA novel is marginalized even as it is held up as outstanding. Getting published by a major commercial publisher is already really difficult, even without LGBT characters or story lines, so it’s also important to look outside those major commercial publishers for opportunities. It does exist, but you may have to look elsewhere — and today, “elsewhere” is in many cases the internet.
This is the best way to create digital ( electronic ) editions such as any type of publications, magazines, brochures and catalogues. Although ebooks have made many books more easily accessible to adults, and many adults do read YA2, it’s unclear whether teens themselves are interested in or want to read ebooks. I also chose these publishers because in my years of being active within YA and getting to know the business, it became clear to me that these are the major players. Additionally, in 2007 Hyperion (Disney’s YA imprint) published two LGBT YA titles (Dramarama by E.
I’m not saying these kinds of books aren’t valuable in their own way, but I also admit I’m glad to see that the number of LGBT issue books have declined over the past decade. Additionally, while I didn’t count books about secondary LGBT characters in my analysis, I do think that secondary LGBT characters can contribute significantly to LGBT representation, especially if those characters are part of a bestselling series of many books.
LGBT YA has a problem in that few decision-makers seem to believe it can sell well (see previous point). It’s not fair, but the only way to make it fairer is to keep pushing for more inclusivity by continuing to write LGBT YA and trying to get it published. There are many online resources where you can find LGBT YA books, and you can ask your local library to order them. From the outside, publishing seems like this huge, murky thing, but decisions are made one person at a time. When you look outside the major commercial publishers, there are many more ways to get LGBT YA published today than there were ten years ago. The most recent survey I found was from 2012, and indicated that 66% of 13–17-year-olds preferred reading paper books. That doesn’t mean quality books aren’t published by other houses — they are — but these are the biggest ones, and I had to cut things off somewhere because I don’t have a research team behind me. One of those series, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, is published by Simon and Schuster’s Margaret K.
If an LGBT YA novel has book award potential, that may help it get published, but this creates different kinds of problems.
If you drill into that data on which publishers and imprints are publishing which books, I bet you’ll find that certain editors have been consistently championing LGBT YA for years. Flipping Book Publisher output can be easily integrated to any existing design and brand style.
McElderry Books imprint, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard teens mention those books as the first time they encountered gay characters.
Among those four imprints, Knopf has published the largest number of LGBT YA books by far — 15 — in comparison to 9 at Delacorte, one at Random House Children’s, and zero at Wendy Lamb Books.
In 2013, David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing has been heavily promoted, and was long listed for the National Book Award.8 Also in 2013, Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine has been promoted significantly by its publisher, the new, independent Algonquin Young Readers, as an award-worthy book. For example, David Gale at Simon and Schuster has edited Benjamin Alire Saenz, Alex Sanchez, and Ellen Wittlinger alone.
The gay characters in Clare’s series have become so popular that one of them now has a New York Times bestselling series of ebook-only short stories, The Bane Chronicles, which are counted in my 2013 numbers. One of Knopf’s star authors is David Levithan, who accounts for 8 of those 15 titles (some of them co-written). I can certainly see the success of those books contributing to an environment at Simon and Schuster that is welcoming to books about LGBT characters.



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