Bubbles are becoming a bit of a trend lately. We’re all familiar with the bursting of the tech and housing bubbles, and most of us have read about the continued inflation of the student loan bubble.* Now, as an increasing number of publishers are jumping onto the YA bandwagon, it might be time to consider if the popularity of the YA genre is more of a fad, or really here to stay.
So what is behind the increased interest people writing and/or wanting to publish in the in the YA genre? I could lie and say it’s due to a number of factors, but this isn’t that kind of blog. Where there’s money to be made, there will always be people flocking to cash in, and right now, YA novels are making plenty of cash.
Having profit as your main motive isn’t a sin. After all, we live in a Capitalist society. And despite its baser motives, the fetishization of reading could have positive consequences. For example, literacy (especially among teens) would likely increase.
But literature shouldn’t be the next skinny jeans. For one thing, everyone should have access to literature. Fads are call fads for a reason, because they fall out of favor, and it would be a shame to see that happen to books.
One way to slow the bursting of the YA bubble is increased investment in quality YA fiction, not the next cash grab. For every Hunger Games, there are ten Twilight knock-offs. And we’re talking about a book that isn’t very good to begin with, so imagine the quality of the imitators.
Producing crap is the surest way to turn off teen readers, who are more disconcerting then most authors or publishers give them credit for. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to appeal to a younger audience, but it’s important to write for teens, not at them. And please don’t just throw a vampire and a brooding sophomore onto a pile of crap and slap a price tag on it.
*Side note: Don’t believe those who say that a student loan bubble doesn’t exist, it definitely does. Pay off what you can, work your way through college, or look for a cheaper school. Trust me-You don’t want to be left holding the bag when that bubble bursts.