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  1. Ahen

    Ahen Member

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    Target Audience/Market Segment

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Ahen, Apr 10, 2016.

    I'm putting together a query letter and one of the items I've been advised to include is mention of the target audience or market segment. I've tried to get information about market segmentation in the fiction book industry, but I can't find anything refined enough to know exactly where to play my book.

    For instance, "Young Adult" doesn't seem appropriate given some of the themes within the manuscript. I think the manuscript/book would appeal to anyone from ages 13 and up. But what is the name for that demographic?

    Perhaps, this might help. What would one say is the target audience for A Song of Ice and Fire? The protagonists are young adults, but the subject matter is very much adult.

    Is it a simple matter of just stating "13+" or borrowing from the MPAA's film rating system to say "PG-13"? Or is there a specific name for that segment that I'm missing?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ahen

    Ahen Member

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    It seems this is a bit of a pickle for everyone. 20+ views and no one seems to know. I think I will just put "Ages 13+".
     
  3. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    ASoIaF is not 13+ >.>
    Too much incest and backstabbing to be kid friendly.
    If it was a videogame, it'd be rated M (yes I know there ARE videogames of the series)

    And YA is 13-18
    If you're book is too mature for 13 year olds, maybe it's a MG (middle grade) novel.

    Say something a YA romance, or a YA coming of age story.
    Or MG, if you prefer.
     
  4. Ahen

    Ahen Member

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    Thanks. I've never read R.R. Martin's books, so I only know them from the TV series. Being an American, my book steers clear of sexual taboos, it's more about violence in certain scenes (The type of blood-letting Americans will show on TV while being prudish about the pink bits on people's chest).

    It's probably YA Coming of Age or Middle Grade then. I there a delimiter? Such as, stabbing "ok", decapitation "move up to R-rated"?

    Armed with the proper terms, I've come across this excellent site, which seems to clarify what I needed to know: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-key-differences-between-middle-grade-vs-young-adult

    Thanks for your response!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  5. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    Ahen likes this.
  6. Ahen

    Ahen Member

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    Perfect!
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is kind of flipped around - MG is for younger kids than YA. So if the book is too mature for YA, it's probably just adult fiction, slotted into whatever genre makes sense, or no genre if none fits.
     
  8. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    Middle grade is... Apparently, I am insane.

    Bay is totally right.
    I, for some reason, thought middle grade was 8-11 (as in the school year)
     
  9. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

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    What exactly makes a book classified as YA? My WIP could easily be read by a high school student but I never thought about it as a YA novel.
     
  10. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    YA novels involve teens and teen problems (regardless of genre. ie: you can have YA epic fantasy)
     
  11. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    New Adult is the genre age group a tad older than YA. But you should consider which market is hotter. You are looking at marketing issues as much as you are looking at which genre fits you novel.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    New Adult seems to be exclusively romance, and almost always with a very rigid set of character expectations. It's not an age category the way YA or MG are, unfortunately. (There was talk a few years ago about busting NA out of the romance mould, but it hasn't happened yet and I'm not sure it's going to).

    So for non-romance, you go from YA to the broader adult market, no NA mid-step. (Also, I'm not aware of a link between NA books and readership age. 50 Shades was classed as NA, and it wasn't extra-popular within the 18-25 age group, as far as I know.)
     
  13. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    With all this ambiguity, perhaps it's better to nail down a non-age-specific genre and let the agents worry about that other stuff... or is this too simple?
     
  14. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    Not understanding where your book fits in a shelf is a big red flag for agents.
    It means you either don't understand your genre, the genre is too ambiguous to sell, or you have no idea what you're doing as an author.
     
    ToDandy likes this.
  15. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    And that's why novels (and movies and TV) are getting more stale by the minute. In order to get representation or to get published, the author has to pre-slot the work so the marketing department can hire pretty idiots. If this attitude had prevailed during the 1940's, there would be no such thing as a science fiction genre.
     
  16. Ahen

    Ahen Member

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    Thanks, everyone!
     
  17. ToDandy

    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    Here is a simple break down of the target audience and their usual age groups.

    Middle Grade (8-12): Usually involves protagonists within the target age group, rarely exceeds over 85,000 words and involves no romance because that target age group really isn't interested in the opposite sex yet. Think of it in terms of being "PG"

    Young Adult (13+): Usually involves a protagonist of a younger teenage years or college age. Typically features heavy "anti-authority" or kids against adults stories. More descriptive and often considerably longer than middle grade. They are also less opposed to violence. Romantic interests and sexual tension can be a thing in these, but no graphic sex. Think of it as PG-13

    Adult (16+): Features protagonists of any age shape or size. Features any themes imaginable. Tend to be VERY descriptive in comparison to the first two and often slower paced. Adult themes can be explored such as graphic violence, sex, torture, language, and more. You can include R rated material but that doesn't necessarily mean that there has to be vulgarity, sex or violence. It's just targeted to more mature readers with patience and appreciation for more complex ideas.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  18. HallowMan97

    HallowMan97 Member

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    I'd say ToDandy has it all wrapped up!
    Be sure to know what you're writing, or you can be sure the agent will pass you up!
     

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