YA/Teen continues to dominate

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    USA Today rankings on hardback, paperback, and digital sales show 12 of 25 best-selling books so far this year are YA/Teen. That's an impressive number in and of itself. To make it more relevant to Mythic Scribes, it looks like all of the fantasy books that made the list are YA/Teen.

    This continues to trend of at least a decade and a half, maybe more. What do you all thing about it?

    source: Teen novels tear up USA TODAY's best-seller list
  2. Lace

    Lace Troubadour

    It's exciting to see that there are a lot of young readers out there. That makes the demand for the fantasy works increase, which is good for fantasy writers, especially those who write for that age group. I think my stories are probably more suited for young adults, so, if I ever become good enough to publish, it's nice to know there is a market for it.
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    What I'm thinking is that it's not just young adults who read YA books. Somewhere in the last year or so I read somewhere how one of the defining characteristics is the tight writing and the high pace. There's little room for distractions and passages that aren't relevant to the plot.
    From what I understand, YA/Teen isn't so much about avoiding complicated/adult matters as it is about keeping the attention of the reader. Though I guess I could be wrong.

    Keeping this in mind, I think it's probably quite likely that a lot of people who doesn't necessarily fit the "age bracket" for YA still read it.
    KC Trae Becker likes this.
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    True. I read plenty of YA/Teen novels. You're right, there is really no theme or subject matter that is off the table. A lot of very interesting writing going on in that space.
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    On one hand I think it's great because it puts books in hands and minds at an age where increasingly kids seem to be disconnecting emotionally.

    On the other hand with the sudden closing last month of Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, due to "market saturation," I wonder if it's possible to have too much of a good thing.
  6. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    I believe this is the case too.

    New Report Shows "Dramatic Drop in Reading Among Teens"

    Honestly, most kids nowadays probably prefer to get their storytelling fix from visual media like movies or video games instead of old-fashioned books. Should we writers be worried about this?
  7. MFreako

    MFreako Troubadour

    I think this trend is true across all media. If you check the top-grossing films of 2013, you'll find most of them are rated PG-13.

    In this day and age, you can get away with pretty much any subject matter while staying within the boundaries of YA. I actually think the so-called limits of YA are its strength. Graphic violence and sex have their place in fiction. No denying it. But I think there's an abundance of authors who confuse their glorification with storytelling. Perhaps, in a way, working within the (again, so-called) limits of YA frees authors from such misconceptions, and helps them focus instead on telling a good story.
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    When I was studying economics, my professor said that family films did the best, and that film companies were dummies who didn't understand their industry because they didn't make enough of them. Then when they did make family films, they would release them on the same weekend, or right after each other, and undercut their sales. Somewhere that seems to have changed.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  9. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Don't confuse a PG-13 movie with YA. PG-13 only determines who can watch a film in the theater without adult supervision - hence the translation of the rating, Parental Guidance Suggested for Children Under the Age of 13.

    YA, on the other hand, is defined by most as being aimed at readers aged 13 - 18, having a protagonist who is either ages 14 - 15 for younger, "cleaner" YA; and for older YA that pushes more boundaries the protagonist can be up to 18, but not older because then they are in another genre called New Adult. At this point in the industry almost all content except for eroticism is considered possible, and there is a lot of YA that would probably not get a PG-13 rating in book form.
    MFreako likes this.
  10. Julian S Bartz

    Julian S Bartz Minstrel

    I can say from personal experience that the YA market seems to be a lot more open to fantasy novels. When I originally released my first book it was under general epic fantasy. Uptake was slow as expected. However I noticed that a lot of my readers, especially those who were liking the book enough to contact me, were teens. I had a lot of success from selling my book at a school fete, so decided to reclassify my book and include it in YA/Teen Fantasy. Within a day I had tripled the amount of downloads I was getting. Whilst my first book was up for free, to lead up to the release of the second, I went from 3-6 downloads a day across platforms, to about 10-20 most days now.

    I agree with Mfreako in that most books are suitable for YA these days. My trilogy is a coming of age story as it is so I should have realised earlier on that it is more YA suited. Still, a market well worth tapping into if you haven't considered it.
    deilaitha likes this.
  11. deilaitha

    deilaitha Sage

    What is a viable, working definition of YA fiction? I mean, is it the age of the protagonists? I'm curious, because in my wip the two protagonists are very young (17 and 15) but in a medieval-type setting. All of the other characters are adults. There is no sex but it is extremely violent. I'm curious because on the one hand, if I can cash in on YA thing, it might be prudent to dial down the violence some. On the other hand, I don't want to really change the really realistic feel of all my descriptions, including those which pertain to violence. I don't want to be sending something to the wrong market, you know?
  12. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    The description I gave I pulled straight from the May/June issue of Writer's Digest article on explaining Middle Grade versus YA. It's not my genre, so I can't speak to it past that, really.
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    1. Maybe fantasy works with kids because kids are still willing to indulge. Grownups are somewhat less so. Their loss.

    2. Modern ideas about what's appropriate for "young people" are pretty silly. I prefer the older approach, where authors just wrote books. I'm thinking of something like A High Wind in Jamaica, which has kids in it but is otherwise quite adult in its sophistication. Heck, even Treasure Island is like that. Or, taking another angle, Howard's Conan stories have been read by many teens but weren't written for them. The same goes for many SF titles. Shoot, I read all of Wells and Verne long before I turned twenty, and I'm scarcely alone in that.

    Genres are for agents and publishers. Books are for writers and readers. Alas, the latter still need the former.

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