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Undercover
10-19-2010, 03:45 PM
Just as a fluke, I sent my paranormal romance to some YA publishers and one is interested after a query wanting to see the first three chapters. (I'm surprised I got that far) Anyways...my fear is that it is too racey for younger readers.

In the book my MC is 22 and a fledgling demon. She committed suicide a year ago and now God has cursed her to live her nights out in demon form. Since she is a fledgling she is going through some horrific changes with her body. Like a period but much worse.

I talk about rape.
Incest much further on in the story. (by step-dad)
Teen pregnancy
and Mental illness (which the MC has)
and suicide (as mentioned above)
and sex too (soft and very mild)

Is this WAY TOO MUCH for YA to have?

Anyways, this particular publisher only contacts you IF interested. They take chick-lit, paranormal 14+. The first three chapts. are mild...but it gets pretty deep.

Worried, do I have a shot at this?

KTC
10-19-2010, 03:56 PM
Not too much. Read the current YA...it's all in there. I'm wondering why your character is 22, though? These topics are not too much, though.

free_cashews_on_me
10-19-2010, 04:31 PM
Here is how I determine if an edgy subject is appropriate for YA. Let's say my MC is 14. If a normal 14-year-old could have experienced that in real life, then I think it's fine. So, basically, pretty much everything on there is okay. Not many 14-year-olds get pregnant, but there's probably a few. But your MC is 22 (which, by the way, is quite old for YA), so you're fine. :)

Undercover
10-19-2010, 04:31 PM
Is 22 too old?

I talk about her past life alot and the majority of it is what happened to her as a teen.

And thanks for answering my question. I thought for sure it was too much.

kaitlin008
10-19-2010, 05:16 PM
I would be more concerned about her age than any of those things. 22 is far outside the usual YA age range. (But of course, that's my observation having not read your book. Maybe it works! Obviously this publisher thinks it might.)

Undercover
10-19-2010, 05:34 PM
Yeah, me too. I am concerned about the age thing too. But who knows, the pub might reject it after reading further into if he requests it.

This was just a query. And you and I and everyone else knows that doesn't mean anything.

It's these constint hurdles some want only queries, some want partials and others want the full manuscript in their guidelines. It's a long and drawn out process when they just want a query, then are interested and weeks goes by with the partial and so on.

Just thinking I should adjust her age before all that happens.

KimJo
10-19-2010, 05:54 PM
There has been recent buzz about "new YA" as a category, which covers the age your MC is in. (Check around here... somewhere in this section of this board is where I read about it, and I can't find it now.) New YA is intended to target upper-teenage students and even those in their early 20s, the readers who are "too old" for standard YA but may want to read about characters their age.

If you want it to be regular YA that will appeal to teenagers, lowering the MC's age might be a better idea, but I'd wait and see what the publisher says before you change anything.

And no, the content isn't too intense for YA. Not much is too intense for YA, depending on how it's presented.

Undercover
10-19-2010, 06:02 PM
And no, the content isn't too intense for YA. Not much is too intense for YA, depending on how it's presented.


I think this is a good point and important for the most part. It's how it's presented. I would say it's pretty tame as far as the topics are involved. PG-13 maybe? Nothing in there is too graphic or erotic whatsoever.

It's funny I worry about this as my 13 yr old daughter watches Jersey Shore. That I think is raunchy

Shady Lane
10-19-2010, 08:03 PM
Like others said, you have a problem and it isn't the content.

22 is a damn hard sell.

KTC
10-19-2010, 08:06 PM
Is there any way you could back up her age without changing too much of the story?

suki
10-19-2010, 08:29 PM
There has been recent buzz about "new YA" as a category, which covers the age your MC is in. (Check around here... somewhere in this section of this board is where I read about it, and I can't find it now.) New YA is intended to target upper-teenage students and even those in their early 20s, the readers who are "too old" for standard YA but may want to read about characters their age.


I think KimJo meant "new adult" (not new YA) - but it's only an experiment one publisher is pursuing - St. Martins Press. Pretty much everyone else I've talked to/seen discuss the issue thinks it's unlikely to catch on, and that books will continue to be fit into the adult or YA markets, on a book by book basis.

As others have said, 22, even looking back on her teen years, probably shoves it into the adult market. If you want it to be more marketable as YA, consider lowering her age - 18 or under would be best.

Or, maybe check out St. Martins New Adult experiment.

~suki

KTC
10-19-2010, 08:40 PM
You know what...maybe you should just send it. You said they only contact IF interested...and that they contacted you. This means they are interested. They can decide, right? Just send it...deal with everything else if need be. AND GOOD LUCK!

Undercover
10-19-2010, 08:57 PM
Thanks guys...I'll probably do that. I hope I even get that far.

Thanks everyone for your input!

CheG
10-19-2010, 09:25 PM
Try other agents too, one that take paranormal and UF. 22 is rather old. You can alternately age up or age down the character to suit agents and or editors/publishers.

lvae
10-20-2010, 04:31 AM
UF and paranormal are still pretty hot. If changing the character's age changes the spirit of your book... just ditch the YA part. It's okay. There's definitely a market for what you're writing in adult UF/paranormal.

Also, with things like, 'how edgy is too edgy' - trust your gut instinct. If you feel weird reading it, and you feel weird just thinking about it... 9 times out of 10, you may be doing something wrong. If you don't feel 'right' writing something, it will show in the story, even if you try to quash those feelings.

Sage
10-20-2010, 05:29 AM
22 is too old for YA. But if your story rocks, the publisher will possible ask you to age the MC down instead of rejecting. If she's on the fence, she might see that as too much work to offer on.

Did you mention the age in the query? If so, it's a good indication that this publisher doesn't mind.

If it's quick to fix (and it might be), you might consider fixing before sending. But you'll probably want to bring the character to the teens before sending any more queries.

Undercover
10-21-2010, 04:42 PM
you're NOT deceiving them they only want to see chapters 1-3. they have not asked you if there's anything wild going on in other chapters. just follow instructions ;D


It's funny that you say that, cause in a way I thought I was deceiving them. I already mentioned she "committed suicide" in the query so that right there is kinda edgy. But you're right, I got in a little and hopefully they will want to see more. By then you're right, they are already "into it" more. I just hope if it is too much they will say and I can possibly fix to make it okay.

I don't know why I was so worried...teens face all these problems in real life too. Which is a shame, but it's the fact of life. I am sincerely hoping it will appeal to them because it talks about the aftermath of suicide in a fiction manner of course.

I am in the X generation and should probably get up to snuff with YA readers if I wanna compete in that market. This is all new to me. I also usually only write contemporary so the paranormal thing is new too. Everyone says my story "idea" is good...but the proof is in the writing itself. Not sure if I can pull it off.

I do sincerely appreciate the encouragement on these boards. It really helps tremendously.

Thanks again

KimJo
10-21-2010, 05:06 PM
I think KimJo meant "new adult" (not new YA) - but it's only an experiment one publisher is pursuing - St. Martins Press. Pretty much everyone else I've talked to/seen discuss the issue thinks it's unlikely to catch on, and that books will continue to be fit into the adult or YA markets, on a book by book basis.

As others have said, 22, even looking back on her teen years, probably shoves it into the adult market. If you want it to be more marketable as YA, consider lowering her age - 18 or under would be best.

Or, maybe check out St. Martins New Adult experiment.

~suki

Thanks, Suki. Yes, that is what I meant... that's what I get for typing without enough caffeine. LOL

Undercover
10-21-2010, 05:23 PM
But I think St. Martin's Press only takes agented work. I don't have an agent.

I do appreciate the advice though and have sent it out to other publishers including adult pubs too.

Jake G
10-21-2010, 09:17 PM
Like others said, you have a problem and it isn't the content.

22 is a damn hard sell.

Does anyone else find this hysterical?

"Rape? That's fine."
"Incest? That's fine too."
"22-year-old protagonist? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not going to happen."

bethany
10-22-2010, 12:53 AM
Does anyone else find this hysterical?

"Rape? That's fine."
"Incest? That's fine too."
"22-year-old protagonist? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not going to happen."

Not really. YA as a category deals with teen problems. Teen problems include rape and incest. 22 year olds aren't teens, therefore they don't fit in the category.

Also, I want to add that no-one is saying it's find for rape or incest to happen to teens, just that it's acceptable subject matter because it does happen to teens. A high school librarian once told me, if we are too good to have books about the issues teens deal with, what's to keep them from thinking we're too good to help them with their problems. And I think of that both in writing and presenting books to teens.

There have been lots of discussions about characters in their early 20's, but nothing substantial, and Shady's right, anything over 18 is a very hard sell. I'm not saying that no teens would be interested in characters that age, but I'm not in a position to do major marketing research and the bookstores and big houses seem to believe that college aged stories don't sell, so...

suki
10-22-2010, 12:59 AM
Does anyone else find this hysterical?

"Rape? That's fine."
"Incest? That's fine too."
"22-year-old protagonist? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not going to happen."

Nope. It's about POV - and pretty much any issue can be handled through a YA POV, but a non-YA POV is pretty much not going to fly in YA. ;)

~suki

Cathy C
10-22-2010, 01:03 AM
There has been recent buzz about "new YA" as a category, which covers the age your MC is in. (Check around here... somewhere in this section of this board is where I read about it, and I can't find it now.) New YA is intended to target upper-teenage students and even those in their early 20s, the readers who are "too old" for standard YA but may want to read about characters their age.

A while back I asked here about a new category called "teen." It turns out that the "New YA" goes with the new "Teen". The YA/crossover is for the 17-25 set, with the Teen being the 14-18 set. So I'm being told that to approach for Teen, I should keep the language and issues in what used to be the the upper MG range.

The classifications, they keep a'changin. It's just to torment writers. I know it is. :rant:

suki
10-22-2010, 01:09 AM
A while back I asked here about a new category called "teen." It turns out that the "New YA" goes with the new "Teen". The YA/crossover is for the 17-25 set, with the Teen being the 14-18 set. So I'm being told that to approach for Teen, I should keep the language and issues in what used to be the the upper MG range.

The classifications, they keep a'changin. It's just to torment writers. I know it is. :rant:

Cathy,

I'm curious where you heard these new classifications - because this is news to me - so I'm wondering how widely they're being used.

A long twitter chat this week, and interactions with agent/editors over the weekend and recently in other ways, and no one used these term distinctions. So, I'm wondering if it's new, in some segment, in one house, etc.

ETA: In fact, the recent conversations I've had are consitent with what I understand, which is YA=14+, with the focus on 14-18. Any crossover being incidental. And I haven't seen anyone outside of bookstores using "teen" except as interchangeably with YA, but still meaning 14-18.

So, would you mind sharing your source/info, either here or via PM?

~suki

lvae
10-22-2010, 02:44 AM
A high school librarian once told me, if we are too good to have books about the issues teens deal with, what's to keep them from thinking we're too good to help them with their problems. And I think of that both in writing and presenting books to teens.

That really resounded with me. It is so true. :)