Saturday, June 10, 2017

Did Someone Say YA?

Joy Writers met for our final Spring workshop in May. We discussed a longer work by Carolyn Sidd. In the current draft, the female protagonist is in her early teens. Carolyn didn't intend for this submission to be considered YA, but was worried that it would become just that. This launched a great discussion concerning YA fiction in today's market.
The main distinction for me is not so much audience and who's buying. In middle-grade fiction, parents, grandparents teachers and gate keepers, control the purse strings. But, once we step into teen fiction, authors are vying for the bit of gold in teenage pockets. It's not just what mom and dad want their kiddos reading. Not unlike the less-than-savory lyrics audible even through a youngster's earphone, books also come into hearth and home without censorship or vetting.
What makes a teen pick up a teen book and actually spend limited funds on it? It is interesting and engaging to that young shopper.
When the fourth book in the Ranger's Apprentice Series came out, my husband and I were traveling. My husband is a veteran and not so young, but he enjoyed the series and was excited to get the latest book. He walked into a bookstore in Austin and searched for it. He couldn't find it. After a mild panic set in, he finally asked a clerk if they had the new release. The clerk replied that it was shelved with YA, but she didn't know why because the only folks buying the book were old warriors like him.
I love this story about my husband and a book. It reminds me that even us elders have imaginations and enjoy feeding them. But it also points to a change in the market, that the clerk knew. Teen readers were choosing their own books, and maybe marketing needed to catch up.
One of my favorite posts on the subject is Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds Blog from 2013, not least because it is Chuck Wendig and he begins with a threat to the reader about using the word genre. Chuck Wendig does use foul language. Consider yourself warned. It's still a great article and funny. He wraps up his thoughts with the topic: Good Story is Good Story, No Matter the Age Range. I agree, and on that note, here's a plug for good story time in our neck of the woods.

Tickets available at:
Main Street Arts, Pecos Flavors, and Hippie Chicks
Tickets for Bookish Affair:
Friday 23rd June Matinee                                                $12
One Tale, Two Mediums a special showing of a Room with a View with tea and talk lead by Eva McCollaum.
            Bondurant Room Library 2:00pm
Friday 23rd June Smarten Your Tote                            $40
Potter, painter and all-around artist, Konii Carpenter will help you paint your own book bag with a fabulous unique design. Munchies and stories included. (BYOB) (Limited seating)
            The Main Street Art Gallery 6:00 pm
Saturday 24th June Brunch and Discussion               $20 (cash bar)
            The World of Word Craft presented by local authors.
            Pecos Flavors Winery 10:30am
Saturday 24th June, the “readers panel”                    Free (donations accepted)
Local book club leaders discuss their methods and plan for the coming year.
Bondurant Room Library 1:00pm
Saturday 24th June, Keynote Speaker                       Free
            Robert Wilder
            Bondurant Room Library 2:00, followed by book signing.

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