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On being taken seriously

My Helpful Friend sent me a link to a New York Times article about an author whose first book was published as (gasp) YA. Apparently, the "stigma" is hard to bear because no one takes you seriously if you write YA.

Well, as someone who writes spec fic, both YA and adult, all I can say is "get real." If people want to sneer at other people, they're going to find a reason to sneer. It seems to me that the only form of literature that gets real respect is "serious literary fiction" and to that I say: PHFFT! (or however you spell a raspberry)

A more interesting aspect of the article was that the line between YA and adult is blurring. Well, yeah, if you think "YA" means simplistic, dumbed-down stories, then yes, the line is blurring. People are writing good, entertaining, useful books in which the protagonist is young. Actually, they've been doing that for years. That is, in fact, where today's adult readers came from. They all used to read YA.

The woman who wrote this NYT essay seems to have hit a nerve. Lot of blog entries link to it!

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with being a writer of YA. How else are we going to get the younger generation to get off the computer and video games and read. I just wish here were more good books for boys. Oh sure, there are a few, but I don't think there are enough to keep the pre teen boys interested in reading.

I have a ten year old, so I know.
Jul. 21st, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
My current project is a YA with a 16-year-old boy portagonist., It was tough getting into that character's head, but fun in a way.
Jul. 21st, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
Richard and I talked about this article this weekend. I pointed out that the spec fic YA authors I know are by far more successful than those of us writing for adults.

His take is that the spec fic authors have always understood that there's a continuum - a very valid YA community and a very valid not-YA community. Literary authors are just learning that fact...

I thought that the NYT article missed a major point when it said that in the UK, YA is more accepted, and then it pointed to YA books being published with different "adult" and "youth" covers. Um, if it's accepted, why does it need to be hidden under a separate cover? (I *do* think that YA is better-accepted in the UK, given the tradition of literature that draws on YA - Carroll and Burnett and others - but that fact is not proven by having dual covers!)
Jul. 21st, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
I suppose the next step will be having the same book with a pseudonym when it's for the YA shelf! -)

I wonder if the growth of online sales will break down the need to apply a label so booksellers know where to shelve the book? That's the excuse everyone gives about why books need "labels."
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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