Saturday, July 4, 2009

Consistency, Thy Name Is Not Editor

Q1: Would you please explain the difference between the YA and Teen categories, and itemize the grades that correspond?
Most people I know use YA and teen fairly interchangeably.

But you're really over-thinking this. The thing to remember when you're having a little obsessive freak-out about age range terminology is this: there's no secret dictionary that book professionals have agreed upon. When someone in the business says "chapter book", they might mean ages 6-9. Or 5-10. Or 3-7. Or they might be talking about any book with chapters.

So don't worry about this stuff too much, ok? If you want to be safe, you could just reference the ages that you think are applicable. And as long as you don't think your rhymed picture book about trucks is "middle grade" and you don't say you've written a "fictional novel", we have reasonably forgiving expectations of how closely your terminology matches ours.
Q2: Would a novel with a prevented-suicide subplot (grade 9 characters) be too dark for grades 7-8? Would it fall into YA or Teen section?
No. Yes.
That is to say, yes, it would get shelved in the YA/teen section. And no, it would not necessarily be too dark for 7th- and 8th-graders. They shop in the YA section all the time.

3 comments:

R.J. Anderson said...

I have a prevented suicide subplot and my book was shelved in the 9-12 section. I was told it's all in the way it's handled -- if it's the protagonist contemplating suicide, it's Teen; if the protagonist helps a friend who's contemplating suicide, it could very well be Middle Grade.

But I agree, all these categories are terribly confusing!

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: "...And no, it would not necessarily be too dark for 7th- and 8th-graders. They shop in the YA section all the time..."

Well, I'd hope they'd shop in the YA section since they ARE the YA section's demographic.

EA's quote makes me think she edits mostly pic books or MG. Even the more racy or provacative/dark books burdened with the category of YA titled 14+ (rather than 12+) is still meant for an eigth grader, as most eighth graders are 14.

Bethanie said...

You're right.

That's where I, a southern eighth grader that is gunning for her learners permit in six months (when she turns 15), live for my small town newspaper book column. I'm a marketing dream! Buy the book and free publicity!
Oh, wait, out of a readership of 3,000, only market to six hundred youth. The town has a population of 4,000, with two hundred simply not paying the fee and eight hundred who are still illiterate... Whoops. I went on a little angry rant. Sorry. Returning to reality… and a deadline in two hours. And a midterm. And a crush…. Glory days, huh?