Bailing Out Before the Young Adult Bubble Bursts

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.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/53624-two-adult-houses-launch-ya-imprints.html

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The Very Minute I Realized I’m Too Old for Nightclubs.

My sister and my best friend were in town this weekend, and I got talked into going to a nightclub for the first time in nearly a year. At first, dressing up and having some sophisticated conversation over cosmos and apple martinis sounded like a wonderful idea. But it was not to be. While I was envisioning classy lounge, my sister was thinking dirty club, and in usual fashion, she got her way. The result was alternating bouts of tedium and horror. But in the spirit of making everyone as miserable as me, I decided to write a sales pitch anyways. Unfortunately, I believe in truth in advertising:

Do you enjoy 200 hundred half naked unwashed bodies writhing in front of you to the horrible beat of some underground rap? No? What if I told you that you there would be overpriced, watered down alcohol to go with it? Still not interested? Well, you just haven’t heard the best part. If you sign up now, all of these sights can be yours:

  • Men wearing sunglasses indoors, at 2:00 am, in an underground club.
  • Twenty girls, ranging from 75 pounds to 400 pounds, wearing the exact same orange H&M dress, and all in size small.
  • More rainbow colored hair than a My Little Pony conference.
  • The pungent stench of body musk and weed wafting from the dance floor.
  • A drunk guy dry humping an even drunker girl in a dark, but not at all private corner near the bathroom.
  • The tiny melodrama that plays out as some douchebag starts arguing with his friends, then the bartender, then the bouncer, and finally the sidewalk once his ass is pitched out the door.

Want to sit down? That’s too bad, because all those empty stools are for the VIP tables. Need to use the bathroom? So do the other 50 girls in the bathroom line. Oh, and it looks like someone broke one of the two toilets. Hope you don’t mind waiting 30 minutes for a chance to squat over a filthy seat. Rather be at home reading? Well, before you go, try your best to dodge the piles of sweaty men blocking only entrance/exit, their palms outstretched, their fingers extended, and the news of your impending grope written on their face.

All for the ridiculous price of a $15 cover! Well, what are you waiting for? Put on your cheapest dress, your most uncomfortable pair of heels, and meet me at the door in fifteen!

Do You Fear The Young Adult (YA) demographic?

When I started writing my first novel, Seraphim, I was a sophomore in college, and barely 19 years old. The idea of writing a book for fully grown adults terrified me. I thought of the typical adult reader as serious, educated, middle aged, and with children not much younger than me. The thought of them sitting back and enjoying one of my stories between their discussions of Shakespeare and Chaucer seemed far-fetched. So I decided to focus on writing for teens and twenty-somethings, because I thought it would be easier.

But as I’ve aged, (I’d like to think I’ve matured as well) I’ve seen the line between young adult fiction and regular fiction blur. How many of the people who stood in line for the final “Harry Potter” were adults? How many of the women cheering at the “Twilight” film premiere were far, far, too old for that kind of nonsense? The YA genre no longer means that you are restricting yourself to people under twenty-five.

When you think of a book in the Young Adult genre, do you immediately assume you’re going to be reading something on the level of “Twilight?” Not that there’s anything wrong with reading “Twilight” (there is), but keep in mind that a number of classic books were originally written with young people in mind. “Oliver Twist,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Great Expectations,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “The Bluest Eye,” and “The Catcher in the Rye” could all be considered YA.

And that could be why even though The American Library Association defines YA fiction as written for people between the ages of twelve and eighteen, many publishers expand that age group to as old as twenty-five. It’s the best practice considering the modern reader. In fact, the older, the better. I’ve seen people turn their back on great books simply because they assume they are too old for them. I get it: nobody wants to be that kid in the slow reading group, or that soccer mom who still reads “The Babysitter’s Club.” But picking up “The Hunger Games” doesn’t make you stupid.

I made that mistake when it came to the “Harry Potter” series. When the first book starting getting really popular (Around 1998 or 1999), I was starting my first year of high school. At the time, they were genuinely being marketed as children’s books, and I naturally thought I was above anything written for babies. So I made a conscious effort to ignore the phenomenon. Then the books became more popular, and I had to work even harder to avoid the series. Long story short, I still haven’t read any of the “Harry Potter” books, seen the films, or gone to any of those mock Quiddich games they play at the park near my house. Am I missing out? It’s likely. Will I eventually correct my assumptions and pick up these books? Undoubtedly.

Hello world!

This is my blog. I’m here to entertain you, so don’t feel shy about liking a post or commenting or anything here. As a side note, my sense of humor can be dark at times, so if you read something that offends you, it was probably just a joke. Unless it wasn’t a joke. Anyways, thanks for reading! I love you all ❤

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