Saturday, July 13, 2013

YA or adult?

hi, my question is about genre. yikes!! but anyway, i'm having trouble with this. all of my stories naturally open up to me with the main characters as young adults. i say naturally meaning i don't purposely make the main characters young, the stories always unfold that way. so young adult fiction right? not so fast. my stories are not necessarily geared to the issues that 13 to 21 year olds face and thats the only reason why i cant simply call them young adult fiction. so i dont know where my stories fit (genre wise). young mc's but not young adult issues. its like they are written for adults but with young mc's. any thoughts? thanks. 

Typically, if a protagonist is 13 to 21, then it will naturally draw (mostly) a YA audience. There of course are examples with crossover, such as the Hunger Games or Twilight, and of course it is great if your novel can crossover and reach all ages. But in my view you must appeal to your core audience first and foremost, especially if you want word of mouth to spread, and that tends to mean touching on issues that are important to them. So if you are drawn to write in that age range, then it would be ideal if you can touch on issues that are natural to them. If you cannot, then perhaps you should ask yourself why you are choosing that age range, and perhaps change the age. YA is a very strong market, so if you can appeal to that market, it is a plus.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule and a multitude of classical adult literary works that feature younger protagonists. So I cannot speak in absolutes. But as a rule of thumb, it is ideal to appeal to the core audience you are drawn to writing for.


  1. I have a question more legal than anything else; I am a 16-year-old writing a noire novel and it has some adult themes including sex and just as a question for this and future books: is it legal for an underage author to write about adult romances about adults?

  2. Hello! I am a junior in high school and I am starting to look at colleges that I might want to apply to. My hope is to become a literary agent or an editor for a publishing company. Do you have any advice on how I should pick the right college for this?

  3. As an aspiriing author and lover of movies, i would like to know if an author can specify in his contract that any adaptation of his work, he may have final say. I've read of many instances where the author was not happy with the adaption. Thank you,

  4. Hi,

    my question is kind of related to Aber Traws'. Do publishers have ethical codes about what content they will publish? Do any of them have a set of rules that says they will not publish a books if, say, the violence in it crosses a certain line? How does one find out those codes? I would be more comfortable associating myself with a publisher if they DID have some such code.

  5. I was reading your book the first five pages. I noted the things I liked. But I did have some questions. Is it the first sentence that makes or breaks a relationship?

    One of my techniques when it comes to the first sentence, is to try to knock out starting in movement, starting in character weakness, and make it as short and punchy as possible. However I'm not sure if I'm going about it the write way. The first sentence is always what scares me, even if it is atypical for someone to represent short stories.

    Sorry, I wasn't sure where else to ask.D:

  6. Hello. My question is about getting your foot in the door of the publishing industry without a college degree. I left college after a year to travel & after completing two novels while living in Australia, I decided I didn't want to go back to school. I consider myself very knowledgable about writing, publishing, & the industry. While considering both the traditional publishing, and self-publishing route for my novels, I spent years doing extensive research. In addition, I'm extremely passionate about all things literary & I would love to be surrounded by it all on the daily basis. I've applied to everything from internships to secretary positions at agencies & publishing houses, but I quickly learned that not having a degree makes it wayyy harder.

    My question is, is it impossible? I don't mind difficult, as I'm extremely determined. I just want to learn more about the industry I plan to make a living in & be able to submerge myself in something that I love SO much. I have the skills & I know I'm completely capable of handling whatever is thrown at me, all I need is for someone to give me a chance to prove myself. But what are the chances of that happening without a formal education?

  7. Mr Lukeman,
    I am not a native English speaker but I write in English for various reasons. I live in the USA and finding classes/writing groups in my native language would be impossible. Furthermore, the market for science fiction is much bigger in English than French.
    My question is: should I mention I am not a native speaker in my query letter? Would that scare away agents? I have to say my accent gives me away over the phone. I don’t have the typical French accent -it’s less pronounced- but still you can tell.
    Thank you very much for your thoughts on the topic. Merci beaucoup!


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