Thursday, April 29, 2010

From Adults to Teens

Anybody else notice that it seems more and more “adult” authors are now starting to write teen or YA novels? John Grisham, Candace Bushnell, Rick Riordan, and now Harlan Coben, to name a few.

And article in The Independent highlighted Coben’s turn to the younger crowd. As a writer of “adult” books, mostly suspense novels,
Coben has written 19 books, 47 million copies of which are in print worldwide.
And now he’s starting a new YA series, which will feature some of the characters in his adult series.

If I were a YA author, I might be a bit stressed at these best-selling authors turn to “my” territory. But as someone studying the publishing world and stats, it seems like a good idea. If you can connect with teens and young readers, you probably can hold onto them as they become adult readers. Plus, you open up a whole new world of readers.

What is your take on this?
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33 comments:

  1. I'm actually not at all stressed about it. :) The more teens read, and the more they find books they love, the wider the radiance gets for other YA books. It works the same way with sci-fi/fantasy, as I understand it. It's much less about competition in these genres than it is about community.

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  2. I thought population was ageing. I wonder why these authors all go to write YA. We should write more for people over 55!

    Really Angelic

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  3. YA seems to be exploding in popularity right now, so it's not surprising that so many people want to write it.

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  4. I agree with this comment of Miriams - It's much less about competition in these genres than it is about community.

    YA authors support each other and their genre. I'd like to see some statistics on how many agents are asking for YA. It seems to out weigh anything else.

    I think its a smart move for authors to write where the interest is. YA is great.

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  5. I think maybe I should start a YA series ... go with the flow ... hey, ebooks I gave into so why not?

    The Old Silly

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  6. From the very limited snapshot that I have (my grandchildren), it seems that they are more interested in reading than their parents' generation. I hope that the explosion of YA authors will further that love for reading. I think the genre can support the increase.

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  7. Makes sense to snag them while they are young.

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  8. YA readers don't stay in that genre for long. As with everything in their lives the progression is swift. If an author is discovered by them in YA it won't mean they will read all their adult works if they become boring repetitions.
    I listen to them discuss books they are a hard audience!
    Mary
    Giggles and Guns

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  9. I think the line between YA and adult novels is very blurred as it is. Many teens I know read adult themed books, and I know as many adults who read YA novels (Twilight anyone?)

    I think a good novel will transcend those boundries anyway.

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  10. I have never understood the need for YA or 55+ books. Good books hit all ages. I never read YA books at all, thought they were just boring (and 55+ is still into the future). At 14 yo I read western, at 16 yo I read Bagley and MacLean, and at 18 yo I read Russian classics ... and last night I read one of my good old favorites: Marquis de Sade >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  11. James Patterson, stay on your own turf!!
    Yes, it seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Which means in a couple years, YA won't be as popular.
    Laurita is right - the lines are often blurred. My series began as YA, but as the characters aged, it crossed over. Some purists say YA HAS to be about a teen in high school, but most booksellers classify YA as anything 25 and younger.
    And the older I get, the older a YA becomes! Right, Helen?

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  12. It's a good thing to encourage teens to read no matter what. Maybe in some of these cases the authors want to write their protagonists younger (can't age them too much at a time) and are afraid they might upset their current readers. This way they can say they're doing it for the teens instead (knowing the adults will read too).

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  13. I have to agree, the ages blur. I read the Twilight series, and Harry Potter and Riordan's YA series. My daughter and son as young teens read adult books (consumed is a better word).

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  14. YA is just for teens anymore - there are lots of adults who have embraced YA books.

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  15. I think it's incredibly savvy of the adult fic authors. But then--being savvy is why they're so successful!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  16. Adriana Trigiani is another author crossing over to YA. I tend to agree with the others, that the more teens read, the better. And kudos to the authors too, for expanding their genres. Why be tied to just one, and it allows them to change up their styles at the same time.

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  17. Interesting. Nothing like a talented author diversifying his talents. Roald Dahl was one such author who could write comfortably for adults and for teens/children.

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  18. Once a YA author has established his/her chops, they can go on to the adult level - and continue to write YA. So, it works both ways.

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  19. Seems like a great business model for "adult" writers. Funny, I don't remember reading "YA" books as a kid. I read adult books! Now, they get their own entire genre! Amazing.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  20. Seems like a great business model for "adult" writers. Funny, I don't remember reading "YA" books as a kid. I read adult books! Now, they get their own entire genre! Amazing.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  21. I don't really see anything wrong with it if it gets more teens to read.
    Karen

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  22. I agree, Karen. My kids are big readers, but some kids are not. Once you become a reader, you're pretty much hooked on books for life.

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  23. I'm not so sure about that last bit Helen. I read Victoria Holt and Stephen King when I was a kid but I don't anymore. Kids tastes change as they grow. If that's these folks' plan I don't think it's going to work.

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  24. Lauri, do you think it works in reverse? An adult writer turns to YA...will his adult readers try the YA books?

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  25. One of the reasons I have only limited mild swearing and one short sex scene is I want to market to teen crowd. Compared to what's on TV, my book is mild in comparison.

    Stephen Tremp

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  26. I've read some of the big YA books, like Twilight, Potter, etc. YA has changed since I was a teen. Those I mentioned are mild, but I understand some YA are not. I don't know that the book I'm working on would be appropriate for YA since I'm not really up on the "rules" anymore.

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  27. I never really stopped reading YA or middle grade books - I find the only thing that distinguishes a YA book from an adult book for me is where it's shelved in a library or bookstore! I think the more reading material kids have, the better, because there's a better chance of them falling in love with reading. And if a young reader falls in love with a James Patterson YA series, I think they're very likely to search out more books in the genre, regardless of author. That's always a good thing!

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  28. This is one thing that I love... that the publishing world has determined that there is a huge opportunity in the YA market...which may produce lots of revenue, sure...but for once I'm OK with this kind of exploitation, because the outcome is that more kids read.

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  29. It's interesting to see how many authors are turning to YA. I wonder if they will be able to create and hold an audience for years as they have with their adult works.

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  30. I think as writers we should all be thrilled with all the young people reading. On a personal note, my publisher is working with me on a YA series right now so I'm not complaining even though I'm not one of the big names.

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  31. I read a lot of YA books, and don't mind at all that these authors are moving into the field as long as they stick to high standards of quality. I've read one of Rick Riordan's YA books and enjoyed it, but haven't read the others you mentioned. Harlan Coben is such a good writer, I think he will do a YA series justice.

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  32. YA seems to be wide open and everyone is joining the party. Does make it harder for those who don't have the big name to find a publisher, but a good book will find a home. At least that's what they say.

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  33. For authors who are doing both adult and YA, I'd like to hear the answer to a question: If you could only do one, which would it be? I'm thinking of the big names who are switching age groups.

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