Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Can a YA Author Successfully Move to Adult Fiction?

For a young adult author to change gears and write for an adult audience is not always easy. Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote the timeless classic Goodnight Moon, tried for years to do it and could never make the switch.

Some are able to make the move. Judy Blume has been successful with her adult books.

Author Stephenie Meyer is now trying to make the leap. She’s the mega-selling author of the Twilight Saga vampire series. In that series, she’s got three out and a fourth on the way. (I’ve read the first two.)

Now she’s publishing her first “adult” book. It’s a science fiction called The Host.
Her publisher hopes it will be successful, but doesn’t seem to be expecting it to be an immediate mega hit like her vampire series.

According to The Canadian Press,
The publisher has announced a first printing of 750,000, huge for most authors, but not so special for Meyer. She has more than 7.5. million books in print worldwide, according to Little, Brown, and is currently enjoying a Harry Potter-like presence on Amazon.com.

Oh, that we could all be that “not so special.”

In the article, Meyer admits that she started The Host as a “side project.” She did not “consciously write ‘The Host’ for an older audience and did not think of it as an adult book until she had completed it and showed the manuscript to her agent, Jodi Reamer.”

But a lot of adults, like even moi, picked up her YA vampire series and read them. Her publishers are hoping they’ll continue reading her as she makes this foray into adult fiction.


  1. Interesting. It seems that Meyer's success with adult readers of her series may be the reason her adult novel was picked up? Or am I being too cynical?

    I'm also curious about going the other way as I'm a writer of adult mysteries now writing a YA.

  2. The two Meyer's books that I read, to me, were verging on the adult line. True, the characters were teenagers, but the subject matter sometimes crossed into adult. So, it doesn't seem like a big leap to me.

    I don't usually read YA. I picked up hers because I wanted to see how she handled introducing vampire characters. Since I don't usually read YA, I, personally, wouldn't know whether an author was an established YA or Adult writer so their writing background wouldn't influence my decision to try them.

    If we assume that their writing background would influence a publisher, then the editor's decision would be based heavily on the writing, to overcome any prejudice they see of readers not making the switch with them as they move from one category to another.

    It always comes down to the writing. But I can see a publisher not wanting to crack the golden egg in any way.

    And, no, I don't think you're being too cynical Conda.


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