Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Young adult fiction is propping up publishing world

with 4 comments

Fiction aimed at young adults is keeping the publishing industry alive, one of the country’s top publishing gurus has claimed.
Barry Cunningham, founder of Chicken House, said fiction aimed at teens and young adults was one of the only areas in children’s book publishing that was burgeoning.
Speaking at the Federation of Children’s Book Groups annual conference, he told delegates that publishers had a duty of care when releasing books for this niche market.
“It is an area that has a very wide variety – from brutal realism, vampires and fantasy,” he said.
“We are finding that publishers are publishing two or three editions of the same book: for children, adults and for movie goers.
“It is probably the only kind of category registering any growth and it is probably saving the publishing industry.”
Young adult books are those that are aimed at teenagers, but which have been read and enjoyed by adults. Among the titles that fit into that genre are John Boyne’s Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and the Harry Potter series.
Mr Cunningham, famed for discovering JK Rowling while working at Bloomsbury, was speaking at an event in which he introduced two emerging authors signed to Chicken House, Sharon Dogar and Rachel Ward, whose recent works Falling and Numbers have been tipped for success in both the children and adult sectors.
Aimed at the mid to late teens, both books have teenage protagonists. They are aimed at teenagers, but are also picked up by the adult book-reading market.
But the Frome-based publisher warned publishers not to take advantage of the market and flood it with the wrong kinds of book.
“It’s dangerous from my point of view,” he said at Worth Abbey School, in Turner’s Hill, West Sussex.
“I believe absolutely, fundamentally and obsessively that they are children’s books. They describe experiences that are emerging from a teenager’s point of view,” said Mr Cunningham.
“These are not books that happen to have teenagers in them. They are not there for adults, essentially. While it is lovely to have books that the whole family can enjoy, they are not for grown ups.
“We have to make sure that our publishing colleagues don’t see this crock of gold and pool anything into it.
“We are about great books for young readers.”

Written by CommonPeople

April 5, 2009 at 8:48 pm

4 Responses

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  1. My book, Courage in Patience, likewise has a wide teen and adult audience. I think that what is most important to readers is captivating storytelling and characters that seem to come alive on the page. At least that’s what I’m told my readers most enjoy about Courage in Patience!
    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
    http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com
    Ch. 1 is online!

    Beth Fehlbaum

    April 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm

  2. I was careful in my own writing about how far I pushed dangerous scenes, because I knew in my heart that I was writing this book for young girls and not for adults, though I hoped adults would enjoy the twists and turns.

    DW Golden
    Let in a little magic with Purple Butterflies, a new young adult novel now available at Amazon.

    Purple Butterflies

    April 7, 2009 at 2:43 am

  3. I’m not a novelist, but i can see how tricky it must be to write a book that you want to be sophisticated enough for a teen audience that won’t alienate adults. It is a fine balancing act, although I know many writers, no doubt, would disagree and say that if they self censor they are not being true to themselves or to their readers.

    Thank you for your comments, Beth and Purple Butterflies. Hope your books do well.

    jaynehowarth

    April 7, 2009 at 8:39 am

  4. […] Howarth had an interesting blog post today about young adults propping up the YA fiction industry, and how books for teens are also being […]


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