How do I avoid having my novel marketed as YA?


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Thread: How do I avoid having my novel marketed as YA?

  1. #1

    How do I avoid having my novel marketed as YA?

    So I made another thread where I talked about my idea for an novel which stars teenagers in high school. What concerns me is the possibility of the story being marketed as YA. Now I have nothing against YA, but my problem with my book being labeled as YA is that people will dismiss it solely on that basis, regardless if it's good or not. Is there any way I can have like The Catcher in the Rye where the characters are teens, but it's not marketed towards them?

  2. #2
    What's YA? I know "OK ya" in posh circles...
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  3. #3
    You could do worse. YA is a huge draw, reaching far beyond the confines of the age group it is marketed toward.

    Ultimately though, it will come down to how the characters are portrayed and the situations in which they find themselves. There's a big difference between high school kids doing high school kid stuff and high school kids dealing with very real issues in a world they are just beginning to understand.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by The-90's-Sucked View Post
    So I made another thread where I talked about my idea for an novel which stars teenagers in high school. What concerns me is the possibility of the story being marketed as YA. Now I have nothing against YA, but my problem with my book being labeled as YA is that people will dismiss it solely on that basis, regardless if it's good or not. Is there any way I can have like The Catcher in the Rye where the characters are teens, but it's not marketed towards them?
    Actually when I read your novel idea I was very intrigued, as I said then, It's something I would like to read, and I'm a baby boomer. However, us baby boomers mostly read Catcher in the Rye as teenagers because it was on the reading list. I likely would have read it as an older adult as well, had it not been required reading in high school.

    I'm not sure I would worry about that too much. Frankly, if it appeals to young adults you have an advantage to getting it read. I think YA have a lot more time to read before they get into the workforce. I know I read a ton from about 14 to 21, and then it pretty much petered off for quite a few years as I was forging my way through adult life. But I think a couple of things would have an effect. The title, the cover and the back blurb. Make them sophisticated in nature. I think the Twilight series is a good example of what I am trying to explain. I remember being incredibly attracted to them, and I wanted to buy them, even though they are geared to YA, just because of the covers alone. But, I'm just not into vampires, so I resisted the urge. Also, make it longer. I think the guidelines for YA are 40-60K. Make yours at least 80K.

    And if your story and theme are complex in nature, I don't think you will have a problem. Put enough introspection in there to keep the attention of the more mature reader.

    Last edited by Taylor; February 1st, 2021 at 06:26 PM.
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  5. #5
    First, YA doesn't mean "less good" it just means "marketed to a young adult audience".

    There are those here who are far more knowledgeable about the publishing world than I so I'll count on them to correct me if I'm wrong here.

    If your MC is in high school the book will most likely be deemed to be of interest to other high schoolers (most likely to be sympathetic with that age of character) and each category of fiction has its own form which is a sort of set of rules. So I do think that anyone publishing and marketing this would want to make it YA and that would come loaded up with certain ways you are expected to write the book. (Such as: vocabulary that wouldn't far exceed what one might expect in high school, a certain level of swear words, restrictions regarding sexual situations, etc.)

    Now, I was surprised after reading The Hunger Games for instance that it was a YA series, mostly because the idea of teenage gladiators is pretty disturbing. Though looking back on it, a lot of the more 'adult' ideas were treated circumspectly. Reading it at the time I didn't even notice because the story drew me in completely.

    If you really want to hit a mainstream market with a high-school plot and high-school characters that does seem like it would be difficult.

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