Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who Is My Audience?

It is my understanding, the age of the main character determines the age of the reader. Hero's age - 3-5 years = age of audience. That means I wrote Star of Justice for 18-20 year olds. Elementals was written for 10-12 year olds.

Why, then, are the people who enjoy these books the over-50, don't-read-fantasy crowd?

My uncle, who is a bit over the 50 mark, started reading Elementals this weekend. He swears he couldn't put it down and was unwilling to leave town without a CD of the manuscript, even though it's technically a first draft.

On the other hand, I took my dummy notebook to the nieces and was met with dull-eyed stares and raised eyebrows about the size. Doesn't matter that the word count is likely lower than the first Twilight book. They wanted nothing to do with it.

Which leaves me with a quandry. One, how do I get some young readers to give me feedback? I don't, probably. I can't even get them to feed my chickens and that takes about 90 seconds.

Two, how do I market a book about teenagers to adults? I can't change the age of the protagonists. It wouldn't work if they were older. Are the themes too adult? It's basically a coming of age tale, but in a harsh, short-lived society, where children have to grow up fast and young.

The age of my main characters will incline many publishers to see "Young Adult" and reject it out of hand. However, the darkness of the story itself may frighten off traditional Christian publishers, although the secular books my nieces read sound far more objectionable to me. No one is using meth in Elementals.

I suspect the nieces would like it if they would just read it. Maybe if I dedicate it to them, and tell them it's about them. Hmm.

I'm hoping my uncle's infatuation is just that I wrote Elementals as a "fast read." I stepped hard on my natural desire to describe and wrote in broad swathes, sort of a charcoal sketch instead of an acrylic painting. It was not easy. In fact, I imagine it was like galloping a mustang while sawing on the bit. It was so uncomfortable to write, in fact, I've been having trouble picking it up to revise. I know I have to do it, but I'm a little gun-shy.

Anyhoo, I'm left with the trouble of finding a publisher. Again. I may resolve the whole issue by just self-publishing. Then I'd only have to find some writers to help me edit.

Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure that formula is useful. My 16-year-old reads Asimov, and I read Rowling. Well, he reads Rowling too.

    I suggest attending some conferences and talking to agents. Even if they don't take you on as a client, they might be able to help you target your audience.

    And remember you do know at least one copy editor. ;)

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