Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Write Down, Sell Out.

Almost everyone who writes YA/MG gets asked at some point when they're going to go on and write "real" books. It's almost like a rite of passage, that question, along with first bad review, etc.

But I've stopped being asked that. Or at least, the question has given way to a NEW question.

Me: I write YA.
Them: Oh, that was a smart choice, because that's where all the money is.

Well, two things.

1. Obviously it isn't a question, but it's a STATEMENT OF WORTH, if you will, which puts it in with the first question.

2. It seems on the surface less offensive. But it bothers me me.

It makes the assumption that I write what I write because of the money. That my writing YA was a CALCULATED move to get rich (much like my teacher telling all the students that genre fiction was created using a mad-lib format, easy money, so we should all quit school and go fill in the blanks). It also shows an ignorance about the industry, the super-saturation that makes YA even more competitive right now, the real reasons to write YA, the merits of well-written blankets all of these with the insinuation that I WRITE YA BECAUSE IT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS.

And I think that bothers me worse. But of course it's not an either/or, is it? I still get asked the first question regularly enough, so now I'm accused of BOTH writing down AND selling out.


You know what? I adore writing YA. I write it because it inspires me, because the readers inspire me, because the community inspires me. I could sit here and explain, parse out every motive I have for writing what I do the way I do. But I won't. I don't NEED to. Because the people who matter, the ones who read this blog, they already understand. They get it. You get it.


  1. Great post!!!!

    I write YA 'cause my inner voice is still seventeen, and I love YA books. I haven't read an adult book (other than a few classics) for several years now. I know I should (you know, read outside your genre), but it's hard to ignore my beloved YA. Besides, my TBR pile is too tall for me to go running off to visit outside the genre. ;)

  2. I haven't written any YA since I was that age, but I still read it like crazy. When given the choice these days if I've got a YA on my TBR pile over almost anything else, I'll pick the YA. There are just so many wonderful things you can DO in that genre that are edgy and rich and funny.

    So yeah, we get it and we know it's not about the money. It's telling the story of your heart.

  3. I'm so tired of assumptions like these. *sigh* Fantastic post. :)

  4. Thank you, guys! I'm so glad this spoke to you in some way. *hugs*