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Old 05-08-2012, 12:28 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Waffles View Post
My comment had nothing to do with young people reading.
I completely sympathize. I'm a curmudgeon who gobbled up classics as a teen, so I have some resistance to this separate YA genre, or target audience, or whatever it is. Yes I know, the entire reading universe shouldn't be forced to follow my tastes, but I did say I'm a curmudgeon.

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I had some interest expressed in my novel, but only if I made it YA. Instead of my adult protagonist looking into the events of her mother's death twenty years ago and falling into an ill-advised relationship with the homicide detective working the case, make the protagonist a teenager trying to solve her mother's recent murder while falling in love with the son of a homicide detective.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:57 AM   #52
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I dug out my old (1973) copy of Eagle of the Ninth to see if it gave an indication of the age range for which it's intended, but it's only described as a children's book. Given that back then the Teen/YA category probably didn't exist, that's not much help. Marcus is however young for his rank, so I suspect Sutcliff did have the younger end of the readership in mind.
I think it's a good example of how publishing has changed. Of course, the book is getting on to 70 years old . I have also seen older jacket designs where Marcus looks more like 15, than 22.

But I believe it was intended for 12-14 year olds. Where Sutcliff also wrote other titles for younger readers [The Witches Brat.]
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:39 AM   #53
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I remember in the backs of Puffins, you could read about other books and the short blurb would include an age range. But this is an Oxford. The back cover is green and I'm sure that colour means something wrt age but I can't remember what. Although I think blue was for younger readers? Eh.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:57 AM   #54
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Well, considering Harry Potter released almost, if not over a decade ago, probably not anytime soon.

However, I'd really hestitate to call it a 'trend.' I think a lot of the reading public has just come to terms with the fact that reading YA as an adult doesn't make them juvenile, and this has actually served to make the books deal with more adult oriented themes.

I would also hestitate before saying Erotica is the 'next big thing,' considering I'm farily surprised the first cave paintings weren't of nude chicks. Yesterday's erotica is today's romance as people get less and less offended though, so you could be right!

Just keep writing what works for you, and eventually it'll find it's time. Don't be the one to ride the wave, be the one who makes the splash that starts it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:38 AM   #55
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To the OP, it does seem like a lot of agents are seeking YA, but you need to concentrate on what you wrote and how to pitch it at that conference. I have a YA book coming out in August, but I love all books and would imagine most agents are looking for a wide range of well written material.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:46 AM   #56
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/Sorcerer's Stone was released almost (give or take a month and a couple of days) fifteen years ago. Holy crap.

Uuh, on topic, I really hope that the YA trend doesn't die off soon--it's what I write, too. Something I've wondered, though, is that...and I'm going to show my industry naivety here, I'm sure...but, paranormal romance has been at saturation point for essentially as long as I've been on this site, and it seems like for a good couple of years before that, too, going from the older threads that I read for research. Now we're moving on to dystopian becoming saturated, and we're still not seeing much of an improvement in paranormal romance, it seems like? So...how long, exactly, do we think it would take a saturated genre of YA to...desaturate? Or is that rather like asking how long's a piece of string?
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #57
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/Sorcerer's Stone was released almost (give or take a month and a couple of days) fifteen years ago. Holy crap.

...

Or is that rather like asking how long's a piece of string?
Fifteen years? Sweet mother of god, I feel a little older this morning thanks to that.

I'd have to think it's rather like the string - but hopefully some of the more industry-wise folks may have an answer!
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:34 PM   #58
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I don't agree agents are just looking for YA. I think you just need to hone your research skills. I usually write YA but had an 'adult' idea that completely enraptured me and queried that this year to different but just as amazing agents. My adult book got a much better response from these agents (my YAs got a great response too but this was even better and got me an offer of rep within 2 weeks). Agents are VERY much looking for adult stuff, you're just not looking in the right place. I personally wouldn't bother going to this conference if it's mainly YA agents who'll be there if that's not what you write.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:14 PM   #59
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Serious, though. Don't begrudge a generation of eager readers. They'll hopefully grow up to remain eager readers, and their tastes will change as they grow.
Hopefully. Mostly what I see, though, is kind of like movies and TV shows marketed to kids - more of the same please, no need for anything new or challenging, and not a lot of readers who move from vampire romances to Pulitzer and Man Booker prize winners.

YA isn't particularly guilty in this regard: military SF and epic fantasy, in particular, have been marketing mostly books with interchangeable covers (and characters, and plots) for decades now. But YA is a growth area in publishing, so of course it's highly attuned to trend-chasing.

Where I differ with the OP is that I am not sure there's any evidence that the large number of agents looking for the next dystopian teen romance means it's actually harder than it was before for someone writing something else to get published.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:50 PM   #60
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Hopefully. Mostly what I see, though, is kind of like movies and TV shows marketed to kids - more of the same please, no need for anything new or challenging, and not a lot of readers who move from vampire romances to Pulitzer and Man Booker prize winners.
I do in a sense agree with this, although we always tend to think of the present as being particularly bad. I also agree that reading YA is no guarantee that the reader will read outside of that genre. Some people are just casual readers and so will stick to what is familiar and comfortable.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:16 PM   #61
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All the attending agents are looking for YA (other things too, but YA is the one common genre among them).
If they're also looking for other things, why is there a problem?

If YA is selling well, it makes perfect sense to me that an agent would be looking to represent YA. They gotta make money, too.

All agents wanting YA to the exclusion of everything else would be worrying, but...open to YA? Looking for YA, among other things? That just seems like good business. And open-mindedness. Which I find rad.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:46 PM   #62
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This thread makes me wonder if my WIP, about a young lady between the ages of 16 and 21 in the book, could be considered YA. I hadn't really thought of this before because the register is pretty high and the subject matter is mature (near-rape, marriage, slavery). As written, I wouldn't consider it YA; but I guess it could be reworked that way.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:28 PM   #63
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I thought HP was MG not YA?

YA is a market, not a genre--no?
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:34 PM   #64
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Harry Potter grew as its audience grew. The first few books were MG but then as the characters became older and as its audience became older the later books moved in YA territory. I think it's a great example of a series that evolved and changed with its audience, and also a great example of how it transitioned smoothly from one market to the next.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:44 PM   #65
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If they're also looking for other things, why is there a problem?

If YA is selling well, it makes perfect sense to me that an agent would be looking to represent YA. They gotta make money, too.

All agents wanting YA to the exclusion of everything else would be worrying, but...open to YA? Looking for YA, among other things? That just seems like good business. And open-mindedness. Which I find rad.
This is what I'm wondering too. I've been researching agents a lot recently, and it seems like the ones who only do children's books (which typically includes YA) are the only ones who don't want adult fiction. Most others seem to handle a range, and if they say they're also looking for YA, it doesn't mean they won't give your book equal consideration.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #66
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QueryTracker is genius for this kind of stuff, especially the premium account, which is so worth the $25 a year.

I'm querying a downmarket literary novel, and have been researching the bejeezus out of agents. Yeah, there are a lot of agents on my list who rep YA, but if they haven't sold a lot of adult fiction or seem to only request YA, I don't query them.

If you're querying a non-genre adult novel, search for agents who rep commercial, literary, general fiction (and if applicable) contemporary fiction. If you're a lady who wrote a book with women in it, go ahead and query agents looking for women's fiction.

Writing to publish requires constant research and education, not only regarding the craft, but regarding the market, the industry, and the individual agents themselves.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:01 PM   #67
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I thought HP was MG not YA?

YA is a market, not a genre--no?
Yes, it's not a genre but a market. The first four HP are considered MG and the last three are considered YA, although AR considers them "MG+" which means upper MG.

Tastes change, but not always. I have two boys who read right along the edges of upper MG to YA books. My 14 yo reads whatever is current and hot. He just recently became a big reader of fiction, so I'm just happy to see him reading. He loves Paolini and Collins. Fine. I buy them for him. My 11 yo prefers more classic lit. He loves Madeline L'Engel and Anne MacCaffrey. He also loves the Hardy Boys, but he prefers the original books from the 20s and 30s. We gave him some of the new Hardy Boys novels and he pronounced them "not as well-written." He likes newer stuff as well, notably Rick Riordan, but he gravitates toward classics. I don't try to steer either boy in their tastes. I offer some ideas, but they hear about books from other kids and teachers and that probably has more impact than whatever mom thinks. Ultimately, they like what they like.

My point is that there is a market for the newer books and as the mom to two YA readers, I'm super glad to have a wide selection. If you don't care for YA (it's not my cup of tea either) then don't write it. But don't begrudge the popularity of the market. I'm glad that books are still being written, published, and read. The YA popularity can only help keep publishers and authors in this tough economy.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:10 AM   #68
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Hopefully never.

Writers of *all* genres should want young people to read.
Yes, but I would like them to more often read about something other than just other young people.

I certainly read some "young adult" literature as a "young adult," but I probably read about 70% "adult" literature at that time (i.e. literature with adult protagonists).

Does the rise in YA literature suggest youth are reading more than before, or are they just reading more narrowly than before?
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:16 AM   #69
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I'm querying a downmarket literary novel, and have been researching the bejeezus out of agents. Yeah, there are a lot of agents on my list who rep YA, but if they haven't sold a lot of adult fiction or seem to only request YA, I don't query them.


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Educate me. I've heard of upmarket, but I don't know what downmarket is.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:47 AM   #70
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Yes, but I would like them to more often read about something other than just other young people.
What makes you think they aren't?

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I certainly read some "young adult" literature as a "young adult," but I probably read about 70% "adult" literature at that time (i.e. literature with adult protagonists).
This is what the majority of teen readers I know do, even in 2012.

Quote:
Does the rise in YA literature suggest youth are reading more than before, or are they just reading more narrowly than before?
I think it just means a bigger percentage of young people (and even older people) are reading for fun now. When I was growing up there were a lot of kids who didn't read at all outside the classroom, and from what I'm seeing, it's these people who will pick up a YA novel when nothing in the literary section interests them. And yeah, those types may never look beyond the teen shelves, but so what? There's still a huge community of teenagers (and adults) who want to read everything you put in front of them. And there will always be people who prefer the deeper stuff. The complicated books. The books that win literary awards. Write for that audience if YA isn't your thing.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:06 AM   #71
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Yes, but I would like them to more often read about something other than just other young people.

I certainly read some "young adult" literature as a "young adult," but I probably read about 70% "adult" literature at that time (i.e. literature with adult protagonists).

Does the rise in YA literature suggest youth are reading more than before, or are they just reading more narrowly than before?
I don't think it should be of any ones business what anyone else enjoys reading, whether it's childrens books or adult literature. I like to read about characters that have similar ages and mindsets to me because I can relate and dig myself into the worlds, and that happens to be Y.A. and I really love reading Y.A. books. Reading shouldn't be a chore, it should be fun.

C.S. Lewis once said something relating to this:

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:06 AM   #72
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I personally disagree. I think the reason so many adults read YA is because we DO relate to it. I am 36 with two kids and I can't imagine ever feeling completely grown up on the inside. Genre books for adults often have fewer emotional ups and downs and focus on action, but literary novels don't. So I don't believe that adult characters can't explore the themes of first love, first betrayal, etc. with realistic and rewarding intensity.

I think people do tend to hear those themes and think YA, but I think they are short-changing the possibilities in non-YA books.
Whew, thank you for this. I was starting to panic a little reading this thread because my WIP deals with love and betrayal but the themes and characters are very much adult. I have nothing against YA, but it's not what I do.

I think the crossover aspect is a bit of a problem; sort of like kid movies that appeal to adults, or having to have adult movies appeal to kids (ugh, Jar Jar). Stories shouldn't have to be all things to all people and cover every single market out there. That's what irritates me about it. I read YA now and again but if that's all the market is concerning itself with, I will not be happy. Not just as a writer but as a reader too.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:08 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by fireluxlou View Post
I don't think it should be of any ones business what anyone else enjoys reading, whether it's childrens books or adult literature. I like to read about characters that have similar ages and mindsets to me because I can relate and dig myself into the worlds, and that happens to be Y.A. and I really love reading Y.A. books. Reading shouldn't be a chore, it should be fun.

We talk all the time here about what other people enjoy reading. There's a difference between examining (and questioning) trends and telling you you shouldn't read what you want to read.

As for "reading shouldn't be a chore," actually, I don't agree with that, as an absolute statement. Sometimes reading should be a chore - in that people should read works that are challenging and difficult. Reading difficult books and reading "fun" books is not mutually exclusive (and sometimes difficult books are fun books).

I don't dislike YA as a genre. I read a few YA books every year. Some of them are even good. I do make squinty-eyes at people who read little or nothing except YA... especially if they're adults. And I don't like the YA marketing juggernaut which is pushing the same banal homogeneity and blandness in publishing that is so prevalent in pop music, network TV, and Hollywood.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:51 AM   #74
Susan Littlefield
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Originally Posted by HoneyBadger View Post
Hopefully never.

Writers of *all* genres should want young people to read.

Don't want to write it? Don't. It's that easy. Don't write to trends; write what you want to read.
This.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #75
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And I don't like the YA marketing juggernaut which is pushing the same banal homogeneity and blandness in publishing that is so prevalent in pop music, network TV, and Hollywood.
In what way is way YA is marketed different than any of the other genre-specific marketing formats that are prevalent in various parts of the industry? YA is no more cookie cutter than any other section you'd find in the bookstore. Every section/genre of literature is rife with its own duds, tropes, and wince-worthy material. However, there are also gems as well.
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