Welcome to WWW where every week a guest will offer some insight into the world of writing and publishing.
Today I'm thrilled to have Emi J. Gayle, published YA author of The 19th Year series, share about publishing for YA readers. You definitely WANT to look into her kick bum series - be sure to check out the latest release at the end of the post! Check out my 5* review of book #2, Day After, HERE.
But onto the goods ...
Publishing for Young Adult readers ... who are we really marketing to?
There's a designation in publishing for young adults that says a young adult is 14-19 years old. I'm pretty sure, though, that voracious 14 year old readers aren't actually going out and buying the books we're writing. Sure, they may be getting them from their libraries, or maybe in some small cases, from school. In reality, it's Mom (or Dad) who's plunking down that money for that book.
That makes me wonder ... first, are mom and dad reading these books? Second, are mom and dad approving of these books? Or are kids doing the, "Buy this book and I'll read it!" thing while holding the covers tight up against them?
In all honesty, I think it's a mix. Moms in particular, are reading YA books, not necessarily with their kids, but as something enjoyable too, which makes marketing to the YA crowd, not the only way to go. We reach Moms, we might reach kids and if we reach kids, we might reach moms. No, that doesn't mean 2 copies and 2 sales, it means a wider audience and hopefully future fans.
So what does that mean to the author? To the publisher? To the marketer? It means a cover has to draw in more than one kind of person. No, kids and parents are not the same, despite the apple not falling far from the tree. Parent = tree. Kid = apple. Different being, same flavor. So a cover has to draw in both people. How does that happen? Well, have you noticed the 'sex appeal' of some YA novels? There's one way. How about the intricate design and attention to detail? It seems these facets are even more pervasive in YA books than in adult books (not always, but sometimes). These are things all the people working on a book have to think about.
Of course the cover isn't all of it. It's the story inside. What's most popular with adult women? Translate that to younger adult women, and downplay some aspects (i.e. sex ... or in some cases, don't - that's the author's call). What story lines catch the most attention? Mirror them in YA. It's like good animated films both amuse kids and keep parents happy to, right? Pixar is wonderful at this ... there's adult humor that kids won't 'get' and the kids are super happy too. Same concept applies. A YA book isn't just for the YA audience, it's for the parent(s) too and marketing to them both should, in theory, reach a wider audience than just marketing to the 14-19 crowd alone.