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View Full Version : How should I describe my book (and target age group) when I pitch it to agents?



Edwardian
12-06-2016, 06:03 PM
I am not sure what age group to specify for my novel when I approach agents. I would class it as Young Adult SF (say starting around 15), but it is also very suitable for adults. It's quite a complex book but the two main characters are 18 years old. I would categorize its intended readership as similar to The Hunger Games or Watership Down or The Hobbit or the later bigger Harry Potter books, and I'd say it is more sophisticated than many "pulp" adult SF books I have read. It's suitable for younger readers but it's complex and suitable for adult readers, too.

How should I describe it when I pitch it to agents?

Old Hack
12-06-2016, 06:17 PM
I am not sure what age group to specify for my novel when I approach agents. I would class it as Young Adult SF (say starting around 15), but it is also very suitable for adults. It's quite a complex book but the two main characters are 18 years old. I would categorize its intended readership as similar to The Hunger Games or Watership Down or The Hobbit or the later bigger Harry Potter books, and I'd say it is more sophisticated than many "pulp" adult SF books I have read. It's suitable for younger readers but it's complex and suitable for adult readers, too.

How should I describe it when I pitch it to agents?

So many people say their YA novels are also suitable for adults: if it's well-written then that's pretty much a given.

Your main characters are 18 years old which make it a little unlikely to be YA, but not impossible.

Don't be so dismissive about the SF books you've read: that is off-putting for me, and for a lot of agents.

Edwardian
12-06-2016, 06:40 PM
I do not mean to dismissive about pulp SF. I am a great fan of Edmond Hamilton, for example, who wrote a lot of "pulp". But I see your point.

I have previously read that readers like to see a character about three years older than themselves. So a 15 year old would enjoy reading about an 18 year old, which I thought would make it YA. If my book has characters of 18 years old, what category would that make it?

Aggy B.
12-06-2016, 06:53 PM
I do not mean to dismissive about pulp SF. I am a great fan of Edmond Hamilton, for example, who wrote a lot of "pulp". But I see your point.

I have previously read that readers like to see a character about three years older than themselves. So a 15 year old would enjoy reading about an 18 year old, which I thought would make it YA. If my book has characters of 18 years old, what category would that make it?

That might make it New Adult (NA), but some agents are wary of that as a category. It does well as contemporary or contemporary romance, but hasn't found a really strong footing in just about any other genre as that specific category. There are agents who are looking for SF/F that is also NA though, so keep that in mind when you are researching agents to query; those folks might be a good fit.

Marissa D
12-06-2016, 06:57 PM
If the main themes of the story are YA-focused, then it's likely a YA. I think in certain genres like SF and fantasy and historical, the age lines can be more fluid. You can always say something like "YA with cross-over appeal".

And, um, a great deal of YA is complex and sophisticated--don't fall into that trap of thinking a book is "simpler" just because teen readers might like it (sorry--that's one of my pet peeves as a YA author and I get itchy when I think I'm seeing it. Mea culpa.)

Edwardian
12-06-2016, 07:07 PM
How would you categorize The Hunger Games? YA SF?

Aggy B.
12-06-2016, 07:41 PM
YA Dystopian SF

Edwardian
12-06-2016, 07:41 PM
Many thanks.