How not to help out an author with his/her research
October 3, 2013 § 6 Comments
One of my favorite SFF authors is writing a YA novel in order to be more “accessible.” Since that writer has been known for darker material for many years, along with the book’s editor they are wondering what would be the most popular YA-related websites, blogs, message boards, and publications out there? Pitching this work to the right people will be quite important, and in this instance the adult SFF Blogosphere may not necessarily be the way to go.
As you know, I’m not too keen on YA stuff, so I can’t really help them out. So I thought to ask you guys! =)
What say you!?!
First we learn that the intent of the author is to write YA “in order to be more ‘accessible.’ There is nothing about trying new ways of telling a story or anything approaching art for art’s sake. Nope, straight up cash grab seems to be the implication behind “accessible.” There is nothing wrong, I suppose, in writers taking on writing in a perceived more lucrative market, but generally these efforts do not pan out well if the writer in question is not at least familiar with the expectations of said genre (or genres, since “YA” is a catch-all term that encompasses many, many more strands than what most literary genres contain). So I could see a writer wanting to do his/her research first before trying to write within a certain literary field/tradition. After all, many SF/F readers excoriate writers from other lit genres who write SF/F without displaying any real awareness of the trends, arguments, or preferences of those particular genres.
But it is puzzling to see that a writer openly asks one particular blogger to talk about this. It’s been my experience in the past that generally such queries into what lit in the field should be read/consulted are generally private in nature. Perhaps that was the case here and the blogger in question just chose to broadcast it because he has little knowledge and even less interest in YA? Maybe so, but the wording is rather off-putting, to say the least.
“Pitching this work to the right people” sounds very commercial-oriented and again is something that I wouldn’t typically expect to be presented in an open forum such as a blog post. It changes the tenor of the request from a simple seeking of information that would aid the writer in gaining a better perspective of the readers for whom s/he is writing the work to a more cynical one in which the intended audience matters little outside of what those readers might be willing to purchase. It’s the difference between trying to understand the likes of an audience and attempting to sell a product to them. One takes into consideration more than just elements will get readers to buy the work at hand while the other simply is a product pitch being prepared.
And of course, it wouldn’t be an amusing post without the “as you know, I’m not too keen on YA stuff” to make this appeal for resource information to be a potential trainwreck. Who in their right minds would want to suggest anything of value on a blog whose editor expresses his dislike for the form? Poor form, to say the least.
But to quote the final sentence, which seems to beg for multiple interrobangs, “What say you!?!”