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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Writing for the Young Adult Market (Guest Post)

Today I am pleased to welcome to my blog science-fiction author LM. Preston.

Ms Preston writes books for the Young Adult (YA) market. In this guest post she reveals what the YA market is, and offers a few tips for writers hoping to break into this field...

What is YA Fiction?

YA is the young adult market, which ranges from ages 12 to 18.

If you plan to write for ages 12 to 13, realize that parents may be heavily involved in their child's reading selections, so in most cases if you want to promote your book to this age group, my advice is - keep it a bit clean. You also have to consider the rules of most middle schools, especially if you want to tour in schools.

Ages 14 and upward will usually mix it up a bit between reading YA-focused books and adult books. You can use all of the taboos that you can't for the younger age group with kids of 14 and over.

There are also many sub-genres to consider when writing YA. These include adventure, romance, humor, mystery, historical, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, and so on.


Prepare to Write YA

Take time to observe the group you are writing about. When writing for teenagers, realize that they are very picky about sounding old or goofy.

This is easy for me, because I have four kids, and two are within the age group I write for. They are the best resources for information on language, what's interesting, what not to say, how far to push it, and so on. Not to mention, I also observe their interactions with their friends, siblings and adults. It is enlightening, and has given me great material.

Use Kids to Beta Your Work

The best feedback I have ever gotten for my work came from my kids' friends. I allowed many of them to beta for me. I even bribed some with free movie tickets in order to get them to do it.

Getting feedback from this group is invaluable. I gave them a checklist to fill out, and a Facebook page to update with question or comments. I also invited them to give me feedback on my cover. The results were outstanding.

Ask Kids Where They Buy Books or if They Will Help You Market Yours

Several of my teenage betas loved my book so much that they offered to start an email chain about my book. They also posted it on their Facebook and MySpace pages. I was floored, because I didn't even ask for this. They offered it.

Remember, if you are writing for young people, the best judge of how your book will do in the market comes from your market group. Also, when you are looking to acquire an agent or publisher, you can refer to the large number of young betas who have reviewed your work. So grab your nieces, nephews, kids, cousins, or anyone who has kids, and write that YA novel.

By: LM. Preston, YA Science Fiction Author, author of Explorer X - Alpha (coming out February 2010) and The Pack (due out Fall 2010) - www.lmpreston.com and http://lmpreston.blogspot.com/
"Writing stories for and about kids that overcome the impossible..."

Thank you to LM. Preston for an interesting article. Please check out her website and blog if you would like to know more!

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