1. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Young Adult - The Hot Market?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by guamyankee, Feb 26, 2011.

    With the recent successes of J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and the Twilight series, it seems that Young Adult is the recent genre of choice; the place where the goose has laid the most golden eggs. I am considering marketing my book as Young Adult, rather than Historical Science Fiction. I would only need to make some minimal changes. Also, the length is now around 66,000 words, and I anticipate it to be 70,000 words on completion.

    Anyway, just looking for thoughts on the Young Adult market right now, versus the Science Fiction market. Seems to me like YA is where it's at.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think part of it is YAs are the ones with the time to read. Added to that the books are shorter so people have realised that they can read a book faster and usually the stories have to be better. To fit within the average word count you don't usually have chance for fluff etc

    I have read many amazing YAs but I don't think it is new Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Railway Children, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit etc many of the famous classic stories are junior fiction or YA.
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I'm writing young adult fiction/fantasy, and I read them too, and Elgaisma seems to be right, that they are short. I suppose that the YA genre is a new genre, but I don't know if it is really that successful in the publishing industry, because I don't often read YA, although I did write one about a 17-year old teenager and his 28-year old brother.
     
  4. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    A side question: Does Young Adult necessarily have to focus on young characters? My story focuses on evolution, and while there are youth mixed into the tale, most of my main characters are adults. The focus is on good story-telling, but there is an educational side as well. I could see science teachers wanting their students to read educational scientific fiction.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually yes - the only exception I can think of is Dr Who which is usually found in the YA section of library and bookshops. Even the spin off the Sarah Jane Adventures for younger ones has a middle aged lady male character but she has teen side kicks,
     
  6. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I edited my post just as you responded, please read again.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt education will enter into it, it is a fiction book. How big a part do the youth have ? I have never read a YA where they are not at very least major characters and play a very close roll to the main character.
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    The youth don't play a big role. I guess I can't really call it Young Adult, even though I think young adults would like the novel.
     
  9. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    Okay, let me give you the opinion of someone who is sixteen.

    I read a lot. I've been an avid reader since 2002 when I got into Harry Potter. While there are still bookworms and book lovers out there in the teen world, most kids don't like reading. Take it from me; my honors english class has three people who consistently get A's (myself included) and the other 18 gets C's to F's. Why? They hate reading. They can't stand having to sit down and read a book. There's always something better to do. Facebook, TV, sports, twitter, tumblr, texting, shopping...I'm not trying to be stereotypical. I'm telling you as it is. I know at least 60 people in my school who spend more time on Facebook than they do talking to people face to face (and my school only has 370 kids in it).

    That's not to say that there aren't kids who love reading - look at me. I'm a writer, for heaven's sake. But reading for pleasure is not something kids like doing. You wouldn't believe how many of my peers ask me why I am reading a book that's not required for school. It's remarkable.

    I have found, though, that teens will read the commercialized fiction - Harry Potter, Twilight, Percy Jackson, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries (a.k.a books that are turned into TV show/movies). The peers I've mentioned in the above paragraph are these such teens. They won't read on principle, but some of them will read the 'popular' books. One girl I know hates everything English/reading/literature related, but she's obsessed with Twilight.

    Which brings me to another point; vampires. I can't walk into a book shop today without seeing vampires, vampires, vampires. I hate it. It's so aggravating. None of the plots are original, yet publishers eat them up because the fad is vampires. The entire YA shelf was filled with books with either black covers, veils, red lips or blood. Every single one was the same. Vampire Academy. Vampire Kisses. Vampire Diaries (although I love that series/TV show, which goes to show that even I find guilty pleasures in vampire fiction). Everything is vampires. So if you're targeting YA? Try vampires. Publishers will eat it up.

    Also, I hate to say in fear of sounding sexist, but it's pretty clear to me that teen boys are less likely to read than females. Just look at the shelves. Most of them are targeted at girls. They're all bildungsroman's for girls. Ugly girls becoming pretty. Pretty girls wishing they were less material. Pregnant girls. Depressed girls. Fat girls. Model girls. On the rare occasion you find a male protagonist, he's either emo, gay or a vampire. Or all three.

    What I've found is that a lot of teens actually 'grow up' from YA. You'd expect the main audience of YA to be 14-18 year olds, but it's a lie. I was addicted to the YA shelf from age 10 to 13, but once I got into high school, it was off to the fiction section. I just recently bought a five hundred page book about a girl in Victorian England that was written by a man; loving it so far. And it wasn't on the YA shelf. My brother's ex-girlfriend did this as well. She loves reading too and she never goes near the YA section. She always sticks to the fiction section and has since she was 14 as well.

    My advice is don't start a project intending on it being popular for teens. Unless it had a chance being the next hit show on ABC or the CW, it most likely won't do well.
     
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  10. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh gosh, you're list of books is quite brief. There are many more YA books that have been successful of late. The YA market is indeed hot, though any book with great commercial appeal is hot. Writing such a book, regardless of genre, would seem to be the wiser goal.
     
  11. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I also believe that the YA market is the "hottest" market right now. You only need to check the "story request" pages on agents' websites and you will find that is the genre most requested at the moment, and has been for some years.

    ellebelle - awesome post, and I am glad to find I am not the only one [on this forum] who is not too eager about vampires.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have about sixty teenage boys on my email list who read - it's thanks to three teenage boys that my first MC works so well. Without their encouragement I would never have got my first novel finished they were amazing.

    Teen boys do read - Harry Potter I think increasd those numbers but I do agree they are woefully under represented in stories why I was so determined to get Angus right - I am hoping my male characters are good enough for boys to like and girls (and boys) to fancy lol

    Also I don't know if this is generalisation but I do know my best friend and his LGBT book group tend to read YAs they like the pace and length. His middle - to pensioner age book groups also request two a year. They are two very influential markets, if that pattern is represented amongst those two sections of society that will increase YA sales as they are two groups with disposable income to buy books. Also tend (although they can be) not to be parenting small children.
     
  13. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    I didn't mean that teen boys don't read. I meant that teen girls read more.

    I just don't really think all YA books are being read by teens, and don't think that kids ages 13-17 only read YA. If you write a book for adults and it's really good, I'm sure plenty of teens will read it as well.

    Someone said earlier that YA books have to be about kids? Eh, not really. Most are, I'll give you, but it doesn't have to be. Bildungsroman is only one type of book. There's plenty of others.
     
  14. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    I do agree that YA fiction is a very successful and booming market right now - but you have to ask yourself is this truly where my book lies? Was this what I was going for? It's true that if you're successful in releasing your book as YA, you might make a lot of money, but that might not be neccessarily a genuine reflection of your writing or where your talent lies.

    In my opinion, you have to do what is right for you.

    I have been told countless times that if I change my adult horror books into something softer (for example the Twilight series), I might be able to get richer and popular. But that doesn't interest me at all, because I am not a young adult writer. That's not what my books are. It would be forced, and not genuine.

    That's just my feelings about it though - a reflection of the way I see things.

    It also depends on how you define success: Is it a success in your eyes if it sells a lot of copies and is a big seller, regardless of the content? Or is it a success upon creation, because it's something you can be proud of and have integrity.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your work :)
     
  15. BlackScorpion
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    BlackScorpion New Member

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    I tend to disagree with that statement. More kids read than what you may think. I am in yr ten at a selective high school and I would reckon nearly everyone just about reads for enjoyment. I do agree that some people read more than others, but everyone I know would be more than happy to take out a book and read when they're bored, or even just for enjoyment. For example, our sport houses are Gryfindor, Slytherin Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. And they were chosen by us.

    @The Topic; While i do enjoy the occasional book from the young adult shelf, I tend to read older adult fiction, but when i was younger, and even now, I still enjoy reading a good light hearted fantasy story that is written for Young Adults. And although I enjoyed books like series like Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and even Twilight to an extent, the Young Adult genre is in need of a bit of change.
     
  16. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Thanks for everyone's feedback and comments. I'm not going to go for the young adult genre, it doesn't quite fit. All the same, I think young adults would enjoy the novel. I've finished the first revision, and the word length is 67,000. I'm a little concerned about that, since most science fiction stuff is at least 80,000 words. Not sure how to approach that yet.
     
  17. BlackScorpion
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    BlackScorpion New Member

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    I didn't know novels had to have a definitive amount of words?
     
  18. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    There are word count guidelines. Generally, 80,000-100,000 words is the ideal for a first time author. Certain genres have different rules though. Note though that these are just guidelines and aren't set in stone.
     
  19. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    Like I said, the popular books are usually still read by teens, a.k.a Harry Potter. But as you said, you go to a selective high school. Pardon me for being stereotypical, but doesn't that suggest that the school has generally students who excell and have brilliant minds? I'm not saying that you have to be smart to read, but generally, kids who read do better on tests and are more intelligent than kids who don't. There are plenty of other schools in the world, both public and private, that have kids who don't read. As I said, I go to a fairly selective/private school myself and yet there are kids who detest reading. There's obviously going to be exceptions here and there, like your school, but the fact remains that there are many teens who don't read for pleasure.
     
  20. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    We could sit here all day and argue about the percentage of boys and girls that like to read, but either way, the young adult market is hot right now. Regardless of the percentage, there's a large market for young adults that read. And if your book gets popular enough, adults will read it too.

    Summary: YA market is hot, there's alot of kids that read, even if there's alot that don't.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    guamyankee, you started out asking a question, and now you are making an absolute assertion on that same question.

    YA is a strong market, and it has been for a long time. It ebbs and flows, but never completely disappears, and never totally dominates the publishing market.

    Let's keep this a friendly discussion.
     
  22. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I changed my opinion based on answers to my OP. And despite the strength of of my wording, I didn't mean it to come across as the end-all answer.

    Not trying to pick a fight!
     
  23. Bright Shadow
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    That's not true at all. I've found that teenage boys actually read A LOT MORE than teenage girls. Girls are more likely to read some magazine like People or Cosmo or something while boys are the ones reading the books. Thing is, the boys aren't reading YA books. I think it's kind of a "chicken and the egg" thing as to why is it that 90% of YA is obviously aimed at teenage girls and why boys don't read YA: is it because there is little YA aimed at them or is the reason there is no YA aimed at them because they don't read YA?

    When I was in highschool, I knew maybe three girls who actually enjoyed reading and dozens of boys who did. What was the hot book in my HS? It wasn't Harry Potter, it was anything by HP Lovecraft...well, it helped that our new librarian made a big stink about banning him from the library, and hence we all picked up "Call of Cthulhu" and "At the Mountains of Madness" thinking "it can't be that bad". Little did I know I would be up for four nights straight repeating "it's only a book, it's only a book, it's only a book, it's only a book..."

    Look at how popular manga graphic novels has become in the US. I honestly don't think too many teenage girls are reading "Naruto" or "Full Metal Alchemists".
     
  24. Bright Shadow
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    I would say that, in general, you should just write what you feel you're good at writing and have a passion for, and ignore the market trends. I mean, let's say someone wrote YET ANOTHER teenage vampire story and finished on their polished, completed MS today. By the time they found an agent, and the agent found a publisher, the it could be two years later and the whole teenage vampire fad could have died out.

    Don't chase trends, but just write a good novel and all the pieces will fall into place.

    But in general, I think YA is here to stay. Many adults like YA because the passing, as a necessity of the genre, is fast. In YA, you don't get boring descriptions of sunsets and overly long prose about nothing that gets in the way of the story, with the exception of "Eragon", but I don't even want to get started on that one.


    The only markets I would say are in the stinker right now are horror and sci fi. Horror comes and goes, and will probably make a come back in a few years or so. But sci fi I don't see going anywhere any time soon. People are terrified of the future and technology has caught up with science fiction in scary ways. Come on, we ACTUALLY HAVE robotic warplanes that attack enemies using their artificial intelligence. Sci Fi comes to close to home for this day and age.
     
  25. guamyankee
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    Interesting theory on the Sci Fi market, but do you have any stats to back that up?
     

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