A popular question I get in my inbox or on social media from people is how I find and keep track of book releases. I thought rather than keep answering that question, I’d write about it so more people can keep tabs on upcoming YA releases. My method isn’t perfect and it’s not consistent, but I can offer the wheres and leave the hows up to how they work best for you.
There are three main sources from which I collect YA release date information: publisher catalogs, YA Lit/Bloggers/Goodreads, and Tumblr. There are a couple of other places I peruse, as well, which I’ll note at the end.
I spend a little time every single week going to Edelweiss. From there, I look at the center column to see what the most recently added catalogs are. If there’s a catalog from a publisher I like to peruse, I’ll make note and spend a little time with it when I can allot an hour or so.
It’s really easy to remember the big five publishers, and all of them — Hachette, Macmillain, Simon & Schuster, Penguin/Random House, and Harper Collins — are on Edelweiss. They each do a good job of separating out their children’s catalogs from their general and adult catalogs. Generally, though not always, the catalogs come out during three seasons: winter, summer, and fall. Some of those publishers do four catalogs, one for each season, and some do a spring catalog instead of a winter. They tend to come out about six months in advance, if not more. That means, I can look at Fall 2015 catalogs now for most of these publishers and it probably won’t be too long until Winter/Spring 2016 catalogs hit.
Mid-size publishers are recognizable on Edelweiss, too, though they’re not all there. Publishers like Scholastic are easy to find, as are Abrams, Candlewick, Chronicle, Disney, and Sourcebooks. Smaller publishers, those which are ensconced within bigger houses, can be more difficult to find because you have to know the name of the bigger house. For example, Carolrhoda LAB books are found in the Lerner catalog, Algonquin Young Reader books are found in the Workman Press catalog, and sometimes Harlequin Teen is within Harlequin. I find the Harlequin catalogs very difficult to figure out on Edelweiss, so I tend to instead go to their website and do a search there.
Not all publishers are on Edelweiss, so I know that I will have to do some searching elsewhere. Amazon publishing, Switch Press, and Flux, for example, don’t have a presence on Edelweiss, so I have to go to their sites specifically to look. Flux, I should note, is finally getting onto Edelweiss, but I still like to cross check.
Edelweiss catalog use is a time investment, but I am okay spending the bulk of my research time here. I can, as noted in the link above explaining Edelweiss, be efficient in my searching by release date or keywords. That makes an hour or two there not feel overwhelming. Likewise, I find looking at the available digital review copies helpful, too. But that’s more for immediate information rather than long-term planning.
One of the best non-publisher resources, one that I tell every single person to keep tabs on, is YA Lit. Kari and Stefan have been running this site since 2006, and it’s a straight up compilation of YA books by release dates, with links to appropriate retailers. You can see upcoming releases for a few months ahead of time, as well as look through already-published titles. It’s that simple and straightforward. Since it’s curated by a librarian, I trust the information being correct. If I had to direct general readers to one place for book release information or those who have little time but want to stay ahead of the game, it would be YA Lit.
I don’t read as many blogs as I used to and a number of blogs I used to read aren’t running any longer. But there are still a few that do excellent round-ups of books that they’re excited about and looking forward to. The Book Smugglers do this in their weekly “On the Radar” feature and Leila at Bookshelves of Doom does this through her “By The Catalog” posts, her “New Books” posts, as well as her previews over on Kirkus.
I don’t tend to use a lot of Goodreads lists, since they’re crowdsourced and people don’t tend to keep them well managed, but I do peruse the 2015 YA books lists periodically. This is especially useful for smaller press books AND for being conscious of what books look like they’re going to be extremely popular. There’s also a nice list of diverse YA/MG titles out in 2015 and debut 2015 YA novels (though sometimes this one in particular isn’t always correct).
I love Tumblr’s book lists. There are some really solid ones, and there are some that come out each and every week. Though I often know about the books from the publisher’s catalogs, these do tend to fill in some holes or cover some titles I miss. And what’s great about Tumblr is I can share the lists easily and return to them when I need to do some research.
Two of the best Tumblrs for book lists: Paperbacked’s monthly new releases post andRich in Color’s weekly roundup of new diverse books being released. I read a ton of other Tumblrs too, including Diversity in YA and Disability in Kid Lit, though they don’t tend to offer up regular new/upcoming books features.
Another really solid Tumblr is the Pickerington Public Library, which regularly does reader’s advisory for brand new or upcoming YA titles, which helps me sometimes place who a book might be for before I’ve even read it. They do some excellent graphic reader’s advisory, too, with flow charts and read alikes.
A few other resources I take advantage of, but to a much lesser extent, include trade reviews and the handful of debut novelist websites.
I don’t tend to love trade reviews. They’re often reviewing things I know about already or that are already published, though not always. I like to peruse Kirkus in particular, in part because I love the honesty of the reviews (though I sometimes think they love and pan the same authors/styles over and over) but more, they’re reviewing well in advance of publication. They pick up on a lot of mid size and smaller presses I might otherwise miss. You can read the reviews by those recently posted, those which have the books out already, or those books which are coming soon. That ease of navigation works for me.
For monthly debut YA novel roundups here at Stacked, alongside the other tools above, I make sure to check the Fearless Fifteeners site and the Class 2K15 site. I use their author profile/book links on site, then I do a search by month. As a side note: if you run a site like this, either now or in the future, the best thing you can offer to those who aren’t insiders is a way to quickly find relevant information about publication dates. I’ve seen sites in the past where the publication dates haven’t been easy to find and I don’t spend time trying to figure it out. This is my last stop, so by this point, I’m only picking up what I’ve missed and double checking what I’ve got.
Once in a great while, I do look at the previews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but since those tend to be the biggest books of the season or are paid for by publishers, I generally already know about those books.
How I Organize Information
I have a really good memory for book titles, release dates, and especially covers. So when I read catalogs or blogs or reviews, I’m able to make mental notes that get them on my mind well enough. Things I am personally really looking forward to reading or that I think I might forget I tend to pop onto Goodreads in my “to read” shelf.
When I know I’m going to write something specific relating to book releases, such as a big roundup on Book Riot or the monthly “on the radar” posts here, I write book titles, authors, and month of release down (see the photo above). Usually it’s in a notebook dedicated to my notes about books or reading, and sometimes, I’ll open up either a draft email or a draft blog post and take notes. Sometimes, perusing catalogs leads me to seeing a thematic trend, and I note those things down, too, to think about later. Since migrating from post-it notes to using a bullet journal for my day-to-day planning, I’ve made use of one specific notebook for taking these notes and returning to them at a later date to think about.
I know of folks who use spreadsheets to track book releases, particularly when it comes to the books they’re receiving from publishers. I tried to do this, but I found it overwhelming and ineffective for me. It would take me more time to do that than it would to do research when I can dedicate time to it and it keeps me from actually reading the books.
So what about you? Do you have any sources you frequent when organizing information about upcoming YA releases? Anything I should know about?