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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Authors Eye New Markets

Publishers Weekly recently noted five Young Adult (YA) authors, like Melissa Marr, that are making the leap this year into “adult” fiction. Likewise, a number of adult authors, like John Grisham and James Patterson, have started to publish works aimed at young adults. So what’s with all the crossing over?

It’s no great mystery why adult writers are venturing into the teen market. Just look at the mega-success that franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight have created for authors J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. The Potter phenomenon made Rowling the first author ever to appear on Forbes’s annual billionaires list.1 Meyer was second (to James Patterson) on Forbes’s most recent list of highest-paid authors.2

Figures show that YA lit sales are increasing and adult lit sales are declining.3 And it’s not just teens driving the YA craze. More and more, adults are picking up YA novels for themselves. So, in an odd way, adult authors are turning to young adult fiction because that’s where their own audience is.

For YA authors, it’s a slightly different story. While they’re undoubtedly interested in expanding their audience as well, it seems likely that they’ve always been interested in writing more complex stories and handling more mature themes than the traditional YA market would allow. As adult readers take an interest in YA fiction, though, they’re able to push the envelope.

What do you think of the blurred lines between teen and adult fiction? Have you noticed the crossover trend in your library? What YA titles are popular with adults, or vice versa? Let us know in the comments below.


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