There is no denying that the young adult market of literature is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. The power that young readers have within their unique market is astounding, as they have made authors such as JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare and Rainbow Rowell household names. This collection of individuals is the next generation of lifelong readers, and keeping them captivated from a young age with the written word allows them to continue this love into adulthood.
My usual genre of writing is the New Adult market: the Segway between young adult and adult, of college life, discovering yourself and a little bit of sex. But with my own latest work, I have turned my attention to a younger crowd, and in turn, am having to change my way of writing to better match what they would want to read.
But how does one write a book for this market? What aspects draw readers to the concept, and keep them turning the pages?
Here are some tips for writing for the Young Adult market!
1) Put yourself in their shoes
The most important point to remember in writing for this age group is to REMEMBER THE AGE GROUP. These are teenagers, usually running from the age of 12-17. And in turn, remembering what it was like to BE a teenager. The anticipation of adulthood. The endless opportunity. And the excitement that made it feel as though your heart may jump out of your chest. These personal memories can be translated onto the page, and better connect you with your readers. We have ALL been teenagers, and we can ALL relate to the emotions and hopes that we all felt. Tapping in to our own history can better our writing for this collection.
2) Make sure your topic is suitable
Even though young people now days are more exposed to sex, violence and the world than ever before, does not mean we should fill our pages with the same. Yes, it is reality. And yes, in some cases, these issues sell. But that doesn't mean we should further contribute to the loss of innocence through our writing. There are so many topics that teens can relate to that do not have to be so volatile. Your first heartbreak. Your experiences in high school. Even your first true betrayal by a friend, or even by yourself, are all things that can evoke the same emotion in a reader without the dramatics of headlines and news.
Teenagers feel things very intensely. I am sure we can all remember the feeling that our lives would end if our favorite band member met a partner, or if our boyfriend broke up with us. This intensity is most strongly translated in to romance, and darkness, two areas that this age group is discovering. Their own romantic lives are progressing, they are learning to navigate the opposite sex, and the first stings of heartbreak. These subjects are usually things that draw readers to a page, as they are so easily relatable for the reader.
Additionally, the same can be said for teens expressing their dark sides. The worlds of death and harm are more forward in their minds, and again, despite the less than appealing nature of some worlds, it is something relatable, and possibly educational when done respectfully, for this age group.
1) Make notes from your own teenage years. Think back on your own experiences, how you felt, what was important to you. These can help you better relate to your readers, as well as serve as inspiration for your work
2) Check out popular titles in this genre. There is no shortage of amazing works that even adults can fall in love with easily. Read a little bit of everything, from fantasy, to romance, to adventure. Find out what has already captured the readers hearts, and set the bar you will be looking to meet
3) Be authentic. I know this seems like a rather silly thing to mention, but consider your audience. Think of how you felt when reading certain things, and how sometimes you felt categorized. Try to convey realism to your readers, as well as themes of hope and possibility. This is what this group desires and feels, so be true to this.
The Young Adult market is thriving, making it one of the hardest groups to break in to. But there is no limit to the possibilities, no end to the promise this collection of readers holds.
Who knows? Maybe your book will become their lifelong favorite, well in to adulthood.
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