1. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    How do you Work Out your Novel's Age Range?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Mask, Mar 8, 2013.

    Been thinking about marketing, as my work gets closer to completion. But, I'm not sure what age range to advocate it for.

    Does anyone know about picking an age range?


    I'm fine with this being a general discussion. But if anyone wants more details: The work has some violence, with swords. I don't describe the injury or death to a graphic extent, but there is a lot of blood... and later in the story, there are some questionable moral implications (there's quite a bit of killing, and a lot of it is rather senseless). There is also some mild cursing, occasionally (but I'm thinking of removing it in later drafts). Depending, it might be suitable for all ages who are willing to read a novel.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If your work is near completion, wouldn't the market be defined by the work?
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Is your intended audience young adults? Does your book have characters and themes young adults can identify with? If yes, then your book is YA fiction and not adult fiction.
     
  4. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    @Ginger: Well, I know which genres would make sense for it. Just not sure about how to measure suitability for kids, and the like.


    @Wind: "Identify with" is a tricky question. It's a fantasy story in a middle-ages setting, where the characters are involved in guerilla warfare. The youngest characters are likely still in their twenties, so there isn't much "coming of age" type of stuff either.

    Of course, I wrote that with the idea of being exciting--so it probably is relatable in that it's something young readers would like to do, or at least read about.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds more like YA to adult-aimed to me... what's the word oount?

    re cussing, many YA novels are full of both cussing and sex, so not someting you need to worry about...
     
  6. Mask
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    I recently hit over 12,000 words. Need it at about 25,000 words before I can submit it to a publisher I have in mind. Just wondering how best to pitch this part of it. If you think you might be interested in it, I did post the first chapter in the writing critique forum: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=59612
    Hope you find that draft palatable.

    re Cussing: Indeed, I have found that YA novels have a wide range of explicitness--but many of them seem to fall on the "edgy" side of things. Considering I talked to some people, and they gave me the impression I was worrying too much... I probably am. Will stop worrying.
     
  7. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    If you really want to find out I would suggest finding a friend who has a son/daughter around the YA age range to read it and ask their overall opinion.
     
  8. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    You can sell to people older than your protagonist, but it's a tough sell to go younger than your protagonist.
     
  9. Mask
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    Willson and live2 make good points. I'll try to find some young readers to tell me what they think of my story.


    Willson's comment is particularly worry, and is a good example of my fears. I'm trying to aim as broadly as possible with my audience, both for market reasons and because I feel the story would be enjoyable to a variety of ages. Still, can't overdo it--teenagers and adults won't read a story you describe as suitable for six year olds.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what publisher have you found that will take on a 25k book [that's a novella, nowhere near a novel] for the adult market?... that's way too short even for the lower age range of YA...

    80-100k is the most preferred size for a first adult market novel from a new and unknown writer... and 40k is the general low end for YA books...
     
  11. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    It is for serial work.
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could very well be mistaken, since I don't write or have much interest in YA, BUT I've heard that the age target for your reader is roughly the same as that of your protagonist. (Although for MG, there seems to be an exception -- although the books indicate they're for ages 8 and up or 8-12, the protag often seems to be early middle school, so around 12, which is on the high end of this reader-age target. I'm really mostly noticing this since I have an 8 year old.) So I'm not so sure that your story, with the youngest characters as twenty-somethings, even though it takes place in another time, would be YA. I suspect it might be Adult, although still with significant appeal to teens.

    And Maia is right -- your word count is way too short if you're planning on selling this as a novel. It's a novella or maybe even a very long short story.
     
  13. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    Yeah it does sound too short. Hell, I just hit 12k words today, and it feels as if the story is just getting started
     
  14. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    @TimHarris beleive me, i know how that feels, my novel is over 122K now and im still not done... oh well epic fantasy is epic and this is only the first of three books!!!
     
  15. Mask
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    Mask Member

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    I know that feel.


    The 25K words is to evaluate my ability to write. The final product will end up at around 100K words.


    Does fantasy normally fit in the YA category? I was under the impression it often did, but I could easily be mistaken.
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    In that case, you are getting a bit ahead of yourself. I would concentrate on writing it first.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could have either one -- adult fantasy or YA fantasy.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Here's a little writing trick I use often, which could solve this problem for you in future (might be hard for this particular work, because you've finished it).

    When you write your story, pretend you are telling it to some person you know. If you want to write Y/A fiction, pick a person whom you know well who is in that age range, and pretend you're telling the story to him/her. Same with a child, or an adult. Male, female. Pick a real person you know well, and tell the story to them. It will automatically end up with the right tone and content, and will make your pre-publication headache a lot less painful.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    meaning what?... book publishers can't publish a serial... are you wanting to sell it to a magazine?

    even if it's meant for magazines as a serialized novel, you still have to have it completed and 12k is still not a novel...

    no publisher is going to accept your book on the basis of a 'sample' if you don't have the completed ms ready to submit... you need to learn what the publishing process consists of... there are many threads here on the site that spell it out...

    and for a novel, you should query agents first, if you want to maximize its chances of being published, as most publishers don't accept unagented fiction submissions...
     
  20. Mask
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    Those were the guidelines stated for the particular job I'm applying for. They want a sample of the serial, as well as a synopsis.

    Thank you for your instruction, though. While I am familiar with some of the workings of getting published from books, it's always good to have the take of an experienced writer. I should, within the near future, receive a copy of the 2013 Writer's Market book. I am supposing it will tell me which publishing agencies don't accept unagented manuscripts, and help me to decide which publishing firms to approach first if the job I am trying for falls through.

    Thank you again for being concerned for me.
     

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