Friday, May 13, 2005

For Those Who Might Have Missed Nephele's Remarks on YA

Nephele said...
"Thought I'd weigh in on this. YA is extremely hot right now, far more so than I recall when I actually was a young adult myself. I wonder how much of it is a spill-over from visual media: viewers of television shows geared toward the 18-31 age group - the key demographic these days - looking for similar material in their reading. I suspected shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel helped spawn the latest craze for paranormal everything. Or it could just be a case of syncronicity. I think the key to great YA is not talking down to your audience. Most good YA is simply catagorized as such because the characters are in that age bracket. The same rules apply: write from the heart, give it your best effort, and try to find a new angle or fresh idea. On the submissions front, I've got about 5 or 6 partials in my box right now, and 18 full manuscripts. So that gives you an idea where I stand in the reading department."


Blogger Ellen said...

As someone who writes children's fiction as well as romance, I'm curious as to why so many agents represent YA but not children's books (which I'm defining as short chapter books or picture books). Does children's fiction not sell well? Is it hard to find a publisher? There seem to be vast quantities of children's fiction in my local bookstore (Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, and so forth) and yet most agents don't seem to represent it. Is YA more attractive to publishers and agents because there's a crossover market (in other words, both adults and teens read it) and thus a potential for greater sales?

Just curious:-).

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 2:31:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When does YA become Adult? In other words, what is the cut off age, or the oldest that the characters can be and still have the story considered YA?


Friday, May 13, 2005 at 4:42:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for asking that. I was about to ask it myself. I'll be interested in Deidre's reply.

Nephele's comment about a spillover from visual media is a valid one. Although I personally don't see it in my sons. The about-to-turn-17-year-old reads nothing but 4-inch-thick non-fiction volumes on Stalin, Hitler, Bush, Clinton, Chretien and the like, and has since he was 15 (no fiction unless it's required for English), whereas the 14-year-old doesn't read a thing! (despite that, when they were little, I read equal amounts to them both). But the TV entertainment available for these kids (if you have cable) is amazing. A massive variety. So that it's now spilling over into YA, yeah, I can buy that.

The most important thing to me--kids are READING. If the marketplace has finally figured out how to hook them, yippee-ki-yi-ay.


Friday, May 13, 2005 at 6:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Hi, Ellen:
Children's books--picture books or chapter books etc--are much more difficult to sell. Particulary the younger children's market is dominated by product-oriented material. Publishers want tie-ins to television shows, movies and entire "brands." It has become increasingly difficult to simply launch a new children's author--at least for someone like us, who are not specializing in children's market.

On the other hand, the YA market often these days includes the very same editors we are already working with. Example: Anne Bohner acquires for NAL romance and also for NAL Jam, their YA chick lit imprint. Lauren McKenna is buying romance and chick lit for Pocket and also buying YA for MTV Books. So, as you see, we don't have to go meet an entirely new roster of editors, and where we might want to get to know YA editors at other imprints along the way, it's not that hard to do.

Hope this helps!

Cindy, age cut off is variable right now. When I shopped out Diana Peterfreund's new book and series, we had offers on it as both adult and YA. Her main protagonist is a junior in college. I think there's a real "middle zone" right now, and it depends somewhat on tone and material of the work.

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 7:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ellen said...

Thank you for the info, Deidre. I've wondered about that for some time!

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 8:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Deidre. It will be interesting to continue to watch the market and see what happens with the ages.


Friday, May 13, 2005 at 9:47:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy, I think one of the challenges with YA is getting stuff boys will be interested in reading, too. Traditionally, it's still the girls who read fiction voraciously while the boys start trending toward non-fiction. Really, in my experience, boys tend to either adore sci-fi/adventure type books or they don't read fiction at all. I know my brother, who is eight years younger than I am, read no fiction in high school beyond Tom Clancy and what was required for class. I think a big hurdle is finding YA material that appeals to both sexes.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 3:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Barbara Sheridan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 at 8:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Barbara Sheridan said...

On the submissions front, I've got about 5 or 6 partials in my box right now, and 18 full manuscripts. So that gives you an idea where I stand in the reading department."

Would an enthusiastic request from an editor help a project get bumped up a bit closer to the top of your (or rather Nephele's) to be reviewed pile?

Sunday, May 15, 2005 at 8:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

HI, Barara:
I think if an editor is starting to make rumblings of an offer, that's when you should let any agents know of the interest. You could always drop a line, but with RWA in particular, most people usually have some kind of work in consideration.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 4:27:00 PM EDT  

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