|Title:||United States survey percentages of teenagers regarding key influences on their book purchases in 2010|
|Source:||Youth Markets Alert|
Start of full article - but without data
KEY INFLUENCES ON TEEN BOOK PURCHASES
Familiarity with author XX%
Description on back, flap XX%
Special placement in store XX%
Award sticker XX%
Praise quote on cover, inside XX%
Celebrity endorsement X%
Note: Table made from bar graph.
Adult authors James Patterson, John Grisham, Melissa Marr, and Gena Showalter are seeking the fountain of youth by coming out with new titles to add to their teen-targeted book collections in 2011. And other bestselling adult novelists are joining them on the YA (young adult) bookshelves. Meg Wolitzer, Harlan Coben, Maile Meloy are all debuting YA novels this fall under the Penguin Young Readers Group. Bestselling author and lawyer Scott Turow tells YMA in an exclusive interview that he plans to pen a YA novel based on his grandfather's life.
Teen Novels Are More Fun
While total sales within the book industry continue to spiral downward, sales of young adult novels aren't dropping as swiftly. Sales of young adult titles declined XX% between February 2010 to February 2011, compared to a XX% drop in adult titles, according to the American Association of Publishers.
The opportunity to sell more copies is an undeniable lure in attracting well-known adult authors to the YA market, but the authors themselves say the top reason for the genre shift is to alleviate boredom. "I actually prefer writing [young adult] novels because [the format] allows for more creativity," says novelist James Patterson. "I also think I do it better."
In May, Patterson introduced Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, the first in his newest YA series under publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Similarly, author Harlan Coben, whose first YA title Shelter comes out in September, says he is excited to reach new readers and try something different.
YA and adult titles may be placed in separate sections at the bookstore, but these authors emphasize that there's little difference in the content. "Other than [Shelter] being written from the perspective of a XX-year-old rather than an adult, there's absolutely no difference from my adult books. I didn't dumb it down or talk down to them. If you like my adult stuff, then you'll like this," says Coben.
HarperCollins author Melissa Marr, whose YA series Wicked Lovely is being developed into a movie by Vince Vaughn's production company, adds that the "story must be first" when deciding between writing an adult or YA novel. "My YA books [Wicked Lovely series] are stories in which the primary character is teen-centric. The external issues are not age-specific, but the concerns of the characters are."
Up Close And Personal
While YA and adult content inside the covers may be similar, there are differences in publishing and marketing strategies. For instance, Marr notes that her YA series are published in a wider range of foreign languages, because adults are more likely than teens globally to be able to read English.
Well-known authors, in general, don't have to work as hard to capture adult attention. A week before the book's release, they sit for a morning show interview, receive coverage in the New York Times Book Review, and conduct a few radio interviews.
To appeal to YA readers, authors need to be active in social media and sell themselves just as much as their latest books. YA readers, having grown up oversharing on Facebook, expect to have a close "relationship" with their authors and to learn about their personal lives.
This heightened level of interaction is evident on book tours. For adult titles, audience members inquire about the backstory and inspiration for the novel's plot. During teen book tours, audience members ask more questions about the author's life and seek advice for their own. The recent Scholastic This Is Teen book tour, for instance, saw teens asking authors questions such as "What couldn't they live with out?" And "What do they wish they could do over as a teen?" Scholastic author Meg Cabot wished she'd worn a different prom dress.) Authors also attend more library conferences when pushing YA titles
Social Media Outreach
Some well-known authors, such as James Patterson and Meg Cabot, are more comfortable with social media and the constant dialogue with their fans than others, such as John Grishman.
Even though Grisham's debut YA novel sold millions of copies, those within the industry say his long-term YA success isn't as guaranteed as that of an author like Patterson, who has formed a closer relationship with his young readers. Grisham's Twitter account, which primarily posts press releases, has fewer than X,XXX followers. By comparison, Melissa Marr has more than XX,XXX, and Meg Cabot has more than XX,XXX. Grisham also eschews writing any personal reflections on his website or Facebook page.
Dispelling the myth that only the young are tech-savvy, XX-year-old Patterson is at the forefront of social media trends. He is credited with creating the first author-created, crime-solving Facebook game, To Catch A Killer. The free game - with XX,XXX active monthly users--lets players investigate a crime, question witnesses, collect evidence, and solve crimes. Patterson also has active Twitter and Facebook pages.
It's notable that it's the authors, not the book publishers, who are driving social media efforts. Bloomsbury, Little Brown, and Penguin executives all say they follow the direction of their authors. This means if an author isn't comfortable with a Twitter account, then there isn't one. Publishers aren't ghost-hosting accounts for them (although Random House tweeting links to press releases based on Grisham's behalf is apparently acceptable).
While teens may spend a large part of their day in the digital realm, they are still rooted in the print world when it comes to reading. Eight in XX teens (XX%) don't read e-books, according to Bowker/PubTrack and the Association of Booksellers for Children. "I don't have the analytics, but the vast majority of YA digital sales come from adults. They have discovered that some of the richest storytelling is going on in the teen space, but don't have to be embarassed [to be] holding a YA cover," says Scholastic's Stacy Lellos. [PUBLISHING/MARKETING]
CONTACTS AND CONNECTIONS: Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers, Katy Hershberger, XXX Fifth Ave., Xth Fl., New York, NY XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; katy.hershberger@ bloomsbury.com; www.bloomsburykids.com.
Bowker/PubTrack, Natalie Piccotti, Marketing Manager, XXX Central Ave., New Providence, NJ XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; email@example.com; www.pubtrackonline.com.
HarperCollins, Allison Verost, Integrated Marketing, XX E. XXrd St., XXth Fl., New York, NY XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.harpercollins.com.
Penguin Young Readers Group, Casey McIntyre, XXX Hudson St., New York, NY XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; email@example.com; www.penguin.com.
Scholastic, Stacy Lellos, VP Trade Marketing, XXX Broadway, New York, NY XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.scholastic.com.
TeenReads.com, The Book Report Network, Carol Fitzgerald, President, XXX W. XXth St., New York, NY XXXXX; XXX-XXX-XXXX; email@example.com; www.publishersweekly.com.
XX% of teens sometimes need to hold a book and look through it before they purchase, XX% always, and XX% never need to do this.
RELATED ARTICLE: DO TEENS READ NON-FICTION?
The top YA bestsellers may showcase a variety of genres, but there's nary a non-fiction title on the list. The reason, say YA publishers, is that teens feel they do enough "real life" reading in school and prefer to read escapist stories during their leisure time.
Teens also don't have as many options in the most popular non-fiction YA category of celebrity biographies/autobiographies. They aren't likely to pick up the latest by Jane Fonda or other Boomer icon (though both Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus wrote autobiographies before their XXst birthdays.
And then there are the semantics of what constitutes a non-fiction book. "Boys do read [non-fiction]. It's just videogame manuals and cheat sheets," quips one Capstone publishing executive.
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS TEENS READ
FOR PLEASURE IN 2010
Not sure (XX%)
More than XXX (XX%)