Thursday, December 27, 2012

Writing for Teens But Pleasing Adult YA Readers Too?

This is a struggle that many writers of Middle Grade and Young Adult literature must have. We see it in the movies all the time. You take your kid to see a Disney Movie like, TANGLED or SNOW WHITE and find that there is entertainment value for both adults and kids.


Considering that most authors have to go through a vetting process of getting their manuscript to a Literary Agent who then reads and re-pitches it to an editor at a Publishing house. The editor at the publishing house reads it and then re-pitches it to the publisher to purchase.

All of these adults are reading your book that you meant for a Young Adult or Middle Grade kid to enjoy. And trust me kids and adults have very different reading perspectives.

KIDS like it but ADULTS don't

There are many cases where my kids love a book or a movie that I dislike because doesn't have the same type of substance that I'd want. There are also certain types of things I enjoy in which they read because it has a little something in it for my adult self also. Whether it's the adventure, the action, the young romance or the intelligence of the character.


In order to meet that TRANSITION status of super love from both your audiences - because as a YA and MG author I've realized now that I have two audiences - I have the adult audience that reads YA and MG. Then there is the actual audience of Middle graders (11yrs-14yrs) and Young Adult (14yrs-17yrs) to focus on.

How does one author find that same mix?


Should we? Put a lot for our kid audience in there -and consider a bit for our adult gatekeepers? Adult readers that want to relive their youth in books? What is the proper mix?

Honestly, I can't say I've figured it out yet. My teen beta readers (of which I'm lucky to have a good number) want action, adventure, a smudge of romance and more action. My adult readers want a slower pace in order to catch on to the story, figure out where they are and to savor the moments.

WHAT ARE YOUR ADULT EXPECTATIONS OF MG? or YA? and HOW DOES YOUR TASTE DIFFER from the intended audience of the genre of books you read?

Just remember while writing you will never make every reader happy, but as an artist of words we authors do try :-D

by: LM Preston, Young Adult & Middle Grade author,


  1. Great article. A lot to think about.

  2. For me, I love reading a middle grade that is written more for awards. I love Lauren Oliver's middle grade and Gary D. Schmidt. I do like reading the really commercial middle grade if it has a lot of fun language and a fun storyline. Great post!

  3. I can read almost anything. I write whatever I want, and although it's usually in the adult range I have come up with some YA pieces. I'm working on an MG fantasy, but it's moving veeerrrryyyy sllllooooowwwwwllyyyy.

    I liked Harry Potter, but I love the Adventurers Wanted series by M. L. Forman.


  4. Also don't forget that it's adults who vet and choose books for both their own children and school libraries.