Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is a struggle that many writers of Middle Grade and Young Adult literature must have. We see it in the movies all the time. You take your kid to see a Disney Movie like, TANGLED or SNOW WHITE and find that there is entertainment value for both adults and kids.


Considering that most authors have to go through a vetting process of getting their manuscript to a Literary Agent who then reads and re-pitches it to an editor at a Publishing house. The editor at the publishing house reads it and then re-pitches it to the publisher to purchase.

All of these adults are reading your book that you meant for a Young Adult or Middle Grade kid to enjoy. And trust me kids and adults have very different reading perspectives.

KIDS like it but ADULTS don't

There are many cases where my kids love a book or a movie that I dislike because doesn't have the same type of substance that I'd want. There are also certain types of things I enjoy in which they read because it has a little something in it for my adult self also. Whether it's the adventure, the action, the young romance or the intelligence of the character.


In order to meet that TRANSITION status of super love from both your audiences - because as a YA and MG author I've realized now that I have two audiences - I have the adult audience that reads YA and MG. Then there is the actual audience of Middle graders (11yrs-14yrs) and Young Adult (14yrs-17yrs) to focus on.

How does one author find that same mix?


Should we? Put a lot for our kid audience in there -and consider a bit for our adult gatekeepers? Adult readers that want to relive their youth in books? What is the proper mix?

Honestly, I can't say I've figured it out yet. My teen beta readers (of which I'm lucky to have a good number) want action, adventure, a smudge of romance and more action. My adult readers want a slower pace in order to catch on to the story, figure out where they are and to savor the moments.

WHAT ARE YOUR ADULT EXPECTATIONS OF MG? or YA? and HOW DOES YOUR TASTE DIFFER from the intended audience of the genre of books you read?

Just remember while writing you will never make every reader happy, but as an artist of words we authors do try :-D


Kelly Hashway said...

As an adult reading MG and YA books, I want to feel that age again. I want to go back in time and become 16 or 14 or 12 (whatever the book calls for) again. If the author can do that for me, I'm happy.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Great post! I think that the adults who enjoy MG and YA are enjoying the parts that the kids enjoy. But there are definitely adults who write/publish books that the think kids should read, rather than the ones they want to read.

Carrie-Anne said...

Most of the YA and preteen books I've read, and continue to read, have been historical or literary. I like books that stay true to a young person's voice and experiences while giving it a timeless, ageless appeal. That's probably why so many books in those genres have successfully crossed over, because they're about young people without being stories only for young people. I always love revisiting an old favorite and finding it's still enjoyable and relevant to me as an adult, only in different ways.

Mardel said...

I don't read very many young adult books - but what I would want out of them would be lots of action and quick pacing. Very little romance, and if there is romance, then I want it to remind me of what it was like oh so many years ago when you first thought you might like someone and they first started to show that they liked you also - but not a lot of mushy stuff. that's just awkward. for me anyway. So I don't think I read the same as a lot of adults my age -
oh yea - and the dialoge - the dialog has to sound like real teens, or youngish adults. Not like they're all professors. Y'know what I mean? :)

Jessie Harrell said...

this is a hard question ... I've read a lot of YA lately that I think is either for older teens or adults who read YA. There's almost a sweeter (more innocent) quality to books that are really written especially for teens. My adult self doesn't necessarily find them as gritty or compelling, but there's something refreshing about reading the more light-hearted books too.

Sheila Ruth said...

I think that authors writing MG or YA should write for their target audience (MG or YA) not for the adults who might be reading it. Adults who like YA will read it anyway, but if you want to write adult fiction, write adult fiction. Anything else is a disservice to the teens and preteens.

Of course, writing for a YA or MG audience does not mean talking down to them. If anything, writing appealing, believable books for young audiences is more difficult than writing for adult audiences.