Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Market Segments

Different from ... anything we've been talking about thus far ... is market segment.

Young Adult novels
increasingly many "regular" novels are being marketed in the "Young Adult" segment, split out from regular fiction as -- a marketing ploy? censorship?

When I began teaching, I had many adult students ask me for book recommendations for their 12-16 year old children. As soon as I started listing what I thought was great, Frankenstein, Dickens (if not already read), Russian novelists (Doestoevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy, etc.), Salinger, Updike, Saki, etc. it seemed that it dawned on the overly-concerned boomer parent that really anything so long as it was good or not by Bataille, Artaud, whatnot was probably going to be just fine. Apparently, though, this desire was effectively channeled into "the young adult market." Now, with the market maturing, many writers who wrote their novels as, well, just novels, are finding their work resegmented, especially since the agency view seems to be that young men who are 18-24 are not doing anything but watching Will Farrell movies and NASCAR, or perhaps watching Will Farrell movies about NASCAR.

In answer, though, to Kate Weber's query, there are several novelists whose novels are being pushed into young adult, and if one wants to be a novelist and actually sell a novel occasionally, young adult is not a bad place.

The novels from the McSweeneys / Believer group of editors and writers, including Heidi Julavits, are often listed as young adult.

Tod Theilman's novels are listed as Young Adult. Many of Joyce Carol Oates' are. Juliana Baggott.

Since the LA Times Book Awards have a young adult category, I thought I would search there.

· Kate Banks, "Dillon Dillon" (Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
· Sarah Dessen, "This Lullaby" (Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group)
· E.R. Frank, "America" (A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
· Joyce Carol Oates, "Big Mouth & Ugly Girl" (HarperTempest/HarperCollins)

M.T. Anderson’s 2006 National Book Award-winner The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party (Candlewick -- a YA press); John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton); Meg Rosoff’s Just in Case (Wendy Lamb); and Nancy Werlin’s National Book Award finalist, The Rules of Survival (Dial)

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