Thursday, April 14

A question for all my readers who are YA writers…

I have a question for all my readers who are writers of Young Adult fiction. That may seem like a strange question to some of you, so allow me to preface…

I went to the library yesterday afternoon to see what was happening, (*cough* and to escape my kids *cough cough*) and I happened across the Events board. They often have writing classes and critique groups and what have you, and I like to see what’s going on. I rarely go to these functions as the people who run them… well… don’t always know what they are talking about. Sounds like I am being snotty, but it’s the truth. For instance a few months ago they had a ‘How to get your book published’ seminar given by a man who had never published anything. Sure he could give general information–the same stuff that you could learn online–but he was hardly an expert in the field. You get what I mean.

So I was scanning the flyers when one caught my eye. So much so, that I went out to my car, got my camera, and took a picture of it which I have posted below.

I have covered her last name as a courtesy to her.
 (Side bar: In what universe is Harry Potter YA?)

So, needless to say it annoyed me, and I’m not even YA writer.

Later, I was lazily scrolling through some posts on a writing forum I frequent, when I come across a post by a woman who basically said the same thing that the flyer implied: that she writes YA only because she thinks it’s what agents and editors want, and is hoping that she can get a YA novel published, then being an established author, will write and publish whatever she wants. Namely fantasy, as that is her passion.

Maybe it’s the fact that I saw two things on this in one day, and it could totally be a coincidence, but is this really what’s happening? Are there a lot of people writing YA simply because they think it will be easier to get published due to the genre’s popularity? There about a million and one things wrong with that theory, but I am not going to judge, I just want to know.

Also, do people really thing that YA is the place to be, because I for one, don’t think it is. Rather, it is, so it’s not. As anyone on QueryTracker, or any other query based web page or forum can tell you, the YA market is flooded! Statistics provided by Publisher’s Marketplace tell us that an average of 7 out of every 10 query letters sent out to both agents and editors are YA. 70%! That’s crazy! Most agents have more YA coming at them than they know what to do with, which also means that most editors have more YA being pitched to them than they could ever publish. I am extremely happy that my book is not of the YA genre in that, at the very least, besides the confidence I have in my wonderful agent, I have added peace of mind in knowing that when she goes to pitch my book to editors, she won’t have to wade through an endless sea of Chick Lit to do it. Sure there is plenty of other Chick Lit/contemporary women’s fiction out there looking for a home, but I’m pretty sure that it’s nowhere near the amount of YA.

I am up to 32 followers on my blog. (Yay, thanks everyone!) 11 traditional followers, 21 of you who follow via e-mail, and there are some of you who simply stop by now and again without actually following, which is also great. Many of you are my friends from QT and are also YA writers, so I ask again: Why do you write YA? Is it something you have always done and love to do, or is it a bandwagon thing that you hope will lead to more? On the other side of the coin, are there any writers out there who don't write YA, but have thought about it simply due to it's popularity? By no means am I judging anyone, I just had no idea that this was going on and am curious. My comments have always been set up so that anyone can comment without signing in, so if you would rather comment anonymously that’s fine, or just put in a fake name, no one will know.

PS. – Should I go to this YA seminar thing? I am really thinking about it. It is actually being held at the Center, not the library which means there is a chance that there could be a lot of people there. I am curious to see who goes and what this lady has to say…


  1. I have been writing books for the kids from ages 15 to 18 for over 17 years. I think all you whipper-snappers need to let us old folks have our day! =)

  2. YES, you should totally go! If I weren't four states away form you I would go with you! I hate hate hate what is happening now, so are so right! EVERYONE wants to write YA now because they think it is a 'get rich quick' thing, and are now crowding the market, making it impossible for those of us who have been writing YA for years to get any attention because all the agents and editors look at us and say "oh, good, ANOTHER one" It make me so MAD! All these band-wagoners are doing is making harder for the rest of us! So yes, go to the meeting and give them a piece of my mind, will you? Haha!

  3. I started writing novels when I was in high school so it was just natural to write YA. But now that I'm an adult I still write YA and children stories. I just think I'm a really big kid and I relate to those stories more. I think people have this idea that YA is big so it must be easy to get into, but it's actually incredibly difficult because agents and publishers are very picky. It takes months to years of hard work to write a novel and I don't understand why someone would waste their time writing YA if that's not what they love.

  4. Hmm, I admit that I love writing YA, whatever genre the particular story happens to fall under—I lean toward urban fantasy and paranormal. I work with teenagers, so YA falls under the write what you know category. However, I've also written adult books in the same genres. I feel it's all about being true to yourself and the story that you want to tell, regardless of whether it'll ever be published.

  5. I don't write ya, but I will admit that I have wondered if that would be a better venue. I would never be able to do it as I don't read enough ya and am not familiar enough with the genre, but it has crossed my mind. I write horror, which even I can admit is a dieing genre. It's all about thriller now, and if you don't already have a name in horror it is very hard to get anywhere with it. Who knows, maybe a ya horror would be a hit with the kids! lol!

  6. Alright so I have to ask; what about you Marian? I see on your projects page that you have a ya saga listed? Whats up with that?
    Dont mean to call you out - or do I? LOL!

  7. Ahh... touche Adriana, very astute of you...

    Yes it is true, I do have plans for a YA saga, however I never really set out to write YA. I got an idea and the main characters happen to be in the young adult range, the youngest being 14 and the oldest being 24. This story is sort of my go-to story when I am frustrated, or blocked, or sick of writing about the same characters over and over. I have tons of random chapters involving the characters and the plot, but nothing solid. I am well aware that is project may never see the light of day, and honestly I am fine with that. If it turns out great and I decide to seek publication one day, then so be it. If not, that's okay too. We'll just have to see how it works out.

    Hope that answers you, and no worries, you can call me out any time! ;)

  8. I write women's fiction and young adult. My first book is women's fiction, and I love it, but when it came time to start another project, I couldn't bring myself to revisit WF. I wanted something different and fun. I found it with my current WIP- a YA Paranormal (no vampires or ghosts). I'm having a blast with it! Who knows, after this is done I might need to change it up again, and maybe I'll revisit women's fiction (or something else). :o)

  9. I write YA because my senior year of high school was far and away the most life-changing year of my life. So many new experiences, emotions, ups and feels natural to write this genre. I definitely don't write YA because that's what the market wants. The market is SATURATED with YA.

    I suppose part of me doesn't want to grow up, either. I'd still choose SIXTEEN CANDLES, BREAKFAST CLUB or 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU over just about any movie in the world.

    (side note: I have no idea why my rookieriter account isn't linking to this--but, I'm here)