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Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Author Insight: An Expanding Audience

What's the biggest consistent obstacle in your writing process? How do you overcome it?

"I don’t think it has. I love that YA has a wide readership, but I write with teenagers in mind. It’s a welcome bonus if other age groups enjoy the stories." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"Technically I write middle grade, though various agents and editors have been like, “This is so not middle grade.” I'm not sure whether it is or not. I didn't write my first book for a specific audience. Once it sold it ended up being classified as middle grade, but I do hope adults will read it, too, and teenagers. I actually think they might enjoy it more than younger readers." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"The weird thing for me about being published is knowing some of my coworkers and family members are reading my books, when before my imaginary audience was a nebulous group of teens. But I still write stories that I wanted to read as a teenager, stories that I still want to read now." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"In the business, since adults have always been the gatekeepers, having adults read my books hasn’t impacted the way I write at all. That said, the fact that adults are reading young adult fiction has changed the way I think about marketing. Teens are not the sole market anymore, so authors need to be creative and find ways to reach their adult audience as well." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

"It hasn’t impacted my writing at all, actually. Adults who look for YA are looking for the same things younger people are: fantasy, frustration, the search for identity. I write for whoever wants those things, no matter their age." - Lara Avery, author of Anything But Ordinary.

"I try to ignore my adult readers. I mean, I love that they exist. But come on. They're adults. They don't get nothing." - Adam Gidwitz, author of In a Glass Grimmly.

"Not a bit, since I’ve never specifically written for “teens.” I write for people, young or old, anyone who loves story. Which is exactly why I think adults are gravitating to the genre, for the quality of the stories." - Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding.

"Not one bit. I write the story for myself, first and foremost. If I don't enjoy it, then how can I work on it for six months?" - Suzanne Selfors, author of The Sweetest Spell.

"I think that I've always had a significant adult readership, because I came into YA from my previous career as managing editor at AfterEllen.com, which is sort of like an Entertainment Weekly for queer women. I already had adult readers there who then read my first novel, Ash. A significant portion of my reader mail is from adults who discover my books because they're interested in reading about lesbian or bisexual characters, regardless of whether or not the book is YA. So, more adult readers reading YA hasn't impacted the way I write at all. I write the way I write regardless of the age of my readers." - Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation

"I love that adults are reading YA novels and of course I’m an adult who loves to read YA and have long before I began writing. But I really don’t think about the adult readers when I’m writing or developing a story. The YA voice and characters are what come most naturally to me as far as writing goes, so I don’t have to overly-focus on the teen readers either. Writing for them is almost instinct for me.

When Tempest first came out, and right before it released, when reviewers had advanced copies, I did get a little distracted by some of the reviews from adult readers. And don’t get me wrong, I so proud of the broad audience Tempest has been able to snag as far as male and female readers and fans from twelve or thirteen years old all the way to seventy or eighty years old.

But some of the adults who reviewed Tempest early on had issues with the main character not always being nice or making choices that they didn’t agree with. Basically they wanted him to be, internally and externally, a very good person from page one to the end. It took me a little bit of time to realize that the teen readers had no problems with the main character. They got him just fine. And that’s because they understand and can relate to the fact that he was still growing and learning and essentially going from being a carefree boy to a responsible man. That, in my opinion, is the essence of young adult fiction and sometimes adult readers forget what it’s like to be that age and I understand those concerns from adults, but I believe in my heart that I wrote an authentic teen character and that’s the number one priority over any opinions from adult readers." - Julie Cross, author of Tempest.

"I don’t think teens were ever the sole audience for young adult fiction, and I don’t write my books with any “sole audience” in mind. So, for me, nothing has changed due to the media’s discovery that readers can and do read widely. I just keep writing books and I hope that people, no matter their age, will keep reading them." - A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers.

Next week, learn what the authors believe makes a book iconic. 

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