Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thoughts about women authors’ success in Young-Adult fiction and why it’s maybe not such a bad thing

Straight up: female authors and authors of color struggle to get published at all, and once they are published they struggle to be seen as “legitimate” in the industry. I am not trying to refute that. The publishing industry should be putting their money where their mouths are and hiring POC as agents, editors, and authors. Ditto women. We are all in agreement.

That being said, I have been thinking about the recent boom in attention given to Young Adult titles, and the incredible quality of said titles, in the wake of Harry Potter. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Hunger Games, Divergent and more, more, more. Young Adult is a popular genre with all audiences, not just teenagers. At the same time, it seems like the Literary Fiction genre is fading into the background somewhat. On the NYTimes best seller’s list, out of the top fifteen, twelve of them are genre fiction (mostly courtroom/crime novels and horror/thriller, and one romance) with two “literary fiction” books and one Nicholas Sparks book, which, as you know, has chiseled out a genre all its own (and is welcome to it).

On the Young Adults best sellers list, women authors are dominating the top ten in hardcover.

Today’s young adults are tomorrow’s adults. Women’s voices are being heard loud and clear among kids who are going to be adults soon, and among adults who read YA as a guilty pleasure or frivolity. (Dare I say, if you’re an adult reading YA with no such excuses, you already think women write kick-ass fiction.) These authors—men and women alike—are making a concerted effort have inclusive casts of characters; not just girls but also people of color being represented positively within the stories.

There are worse audiences to be popular with.

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