Author Topic: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?  (Read 12081 times)

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Offline Sam Hranac

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #90 on: July 05, 2010, 09:56 AM »
...All that to say, I think it's important to let kids slow down while they're developing in those early years so they do foster hobbies and things like a love of reading.
A-men. This is one way putting our kids through a Waldorf education has helped. It creates a community of families that work with theuir kids in the same way.
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Offline R.J. Anderson

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #91 on: July 05, 2010, 10:22 AM »
My 10 yo boy, who struggled with reading and writing in school, loves the Hardy Boys (yes, the original ones from the 50's, where they call their friends "chums" and the bad guys are "thugs" and all the dialogue tags are things like "he wondered" and "he needled"). Are the books great literature? No. Is he reading of his own accord, on a regular basis, and enjoying it? Yes. As far as I'm concerned, that's a triumph. I wouldn't dream of ruining that by forcing him to read "improving" or "challenging" books that he's not interested in. There's plenty of time for his tastes to develop and expand as he gets older.

I think a lot of harm can be done with boy readers in the 8-12 age group by forcing them to read books the parent likes instead of books the kids themselves are interested in.

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Offline nrwrites

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #92 on: July 05, 2010, 10:37 AM »
As a mother of a 10 year old boy who blows hot and cold with reading (devoured Wimpy Kid and the Percy Jackson series but now is pretty much 'meh' about any book suggested to him), this has been a fascinating thread.

I don't know if this makes a difference but sometimes I wonder if audio books would be the way to go with some boys? My son is definitely an aural learner and still enjoys me reading a book to him that he might not have tried because it looked too intimidating. I read the first few chapters, and if he's hooked by the story, he'll start reading from there. I haven't tried audio books on him yet but I'm thinking of that when we go to the cottage for two weeks in August...
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Offline quester

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #93 on: July 05, 2010, 10:44 AM »
Both my boys love audio books. They started, maybe with the Harry Potter books -- certainly they are favorites around the house. Jim Dale won lots of awards for his brilliant audio rendition.

Otherwise, we get a lot of audiobooks from our local library, both physically, and with electronic downloads.

When my 12 year old son was younger, and my daughter used to call herself the bookworm, he was the "tapeworm."  (from books on tape.)

They are pretty particular about whether they like the voice actor, though. (Another advantage of using the library -- don't want to buy something he doesn't want to listen to.)

Theodore

 
As a mother of a 10 year old boy who blows hot and cold with reading (devoured Wimpy Kid and the Percy Jackson series but now is pretty much 'meh' about any book suggested to him), this has been a fascinating thread.

I don't know if this makes a difference but sometimes I wonder if audio books would be the way to go with some boys? My son is definitely an aural learner and still enjoys me reading a book to him that he might not have tried because it looked too intimidating. I read the first few chapters, and if he's hooked by the story, he'll start reading from there. I haven't tried audio books on him yet but I'm thinking of that when we go to the cottage for two weeks in August...

Offline CynJay

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #94 on: July 05, 2010, 09:31 PM »
Getting a bit OT here, but I have 10 and 13 year old boys and technology is a big factor in reading. Why read when there is SO much else to do? What we do is set a certain bedtime, and then they can either read for 45 minutes or just go to sleep - and I don't care what they read. No screens, no music, just reading or sleeping. Younger son is not a big reader and prefers graphic novels (he's devoured all of the BONE series), but I think that this down time has kept him reading at least a little bit and given me hope for the future.
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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #95 on: July 05, 2010, 11:06 PM »
Did boys read LOOKING FOR ALASKA, I wonder? 

Offline literaticat

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #96 on: July 06, 2010, 09:04 AM »
Did boys read LOOKING FOR ALASKA, I wonder? 

I can only speak for what I have seen, but at my bookstore, John Green readers are about 8 to 1 female to male.
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Offline M.B. West

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #97 on: July 06, 2010, 09:37 AM »
* Sorry if this was already mentioned!

I feel there is a huge difference between books written especially for male readers and books with boy/male MC's written for both female/male readers. John Green is a great example of an author who writes cross-over books (and I don't mean cross-over to the adult world) that either a boy or girl would enjoy. Beautiful Creatures is an example of a book with a boy MC written primarily for girl readers.

My current WIP has a boy MC, but I have worked very hard to develop plot and subplot elements that appeal to both genders. And, it goes without saying, but girls enjoy action and fantasy just as much as boys. :)
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Offline Aimee W.

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #98 on: July 07, 2010, 12:24 PM »
OT yet again, but a blip about technology here...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100707/ap_en_re/us_book_review_hamlet_s_blackberry

The review isn't great but I'm still interested in reading it.
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Offline KDuBay

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #99 on: July 07, 2010, 12:39 PM »
Interesting, Aimee.  Thanks for posting.
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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #100 on: July 08, 2010, 04:31 PM »
Sadly, my agent also has said this -- YA male protagonists are *harder* to sell, but its a case by case thing. Oddly, MG boys are in demand, go figure!

Offline elissacruz

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #101 on: July 09, 2010, 09:32 AM »
Sadly, my agent also has said this -- YA male protagonists are *harder* to sell, but its a case by case thing. Oddly, MG boys are in demand, go figure!

Well, that makes me feel better.  Mine is a MG book with a boy MC.
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Offline brainbliss

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #102 on: July 09, 2010, 04:21 PM »
Sadly, my agent also has said this -- YA male protagonists are *harder* to sell, but its a case by case thing. Oddly, MG boys are in demand, go figure!

Hey, my agent said the exact same thing!  Wait...


 :hahaha


(we have the same agent.)


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Offline Andrea B

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #103 on: September 14, 2010, 08:53 PM »
I recall growing up the I read pretty much ANYTHING I could get my hands on (even a few Hardy Boys), but my one brother stuck to the classics (horse books by Marguerite Henry, dog books by Jim Kjelgaard, and adventure stories like Moby Dick, Treasure Island, etc.) and then immediately graduated to Tom Clancy by around 11 or 12. My other brother was meh about reading. He like DOING.

I recall as a teenager and child that I would read books about girls or boys without a second thought, but if it had a primary girl character on the cover my brother wouldn't touch it ... but he'd let my parents read it to him. Even he liked Little House on the Prairie as a kid.

The older he got, the more he got into non-fiction or adult contemporary war fiction. So yeah, I'd agree about that.

I'm curious about fantasy though ... I'm not seeing a huge divide there.

Offline lizzy_lyn

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #104 on: September 15, 2010, 03:47 AM »
Here's a heartening blog post on the subject, with notes from the SCBWI-LA con.  Thanks, Heather!

http://seeheatherwrite.blogspot.com/2010/08/on-boy-middle-grade-more-from-scbwi.html

Offline elissacruz

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #105 on: September 15, 2010, 08:36 AM »
Thanks for that link, lizzy_lyn!  That is heartening, especially since I have a humorous mystery out on agented submission.  I wish editors would read it, already!
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Offline jojohn

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #106 on: September 15, 2010, 03:03 PM »
Thanks from me too. May what they said at SCBWI be proven by book sales! I've got two boy books on submission.

Offline Whizbee

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #107 on: September 16, 2010, 01:57 PM »
So is it safe to say that publishers are eager to pick up MG books for boys but they're reluctant to pick up YA books for boys?

What about a YA book that switches POV between a boy and a girl? Does everyone just hate POV switches in general?
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Offline Bridgette Booth

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #108 on: September 16, 2010, 04:18 PM »

What about a YA book that switches POV between a boy and a girl? Does everyone just hate POV switches in general?

Gosh, I hope not. I enjoy different POV - like Korman's Schooled - it just requires a more sophisticated MG or YA reader or a reader who is willing to grow as a reader. . .
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Offline C.K.

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #109 on: September 16, 2010, 04:54 PM »
Quote
So is it safe to say that publishers are eager to pick up MG books for boys but they're reluctant to pick up YA books for boys?
Personally, I haven't found that to be the case - 2 out of 3 of my published books are YAs with male main characters.

Quote
Does everyone just hate POV switches in general?

I hope not too! My next two YAs to come out are from the alternating points of view of one male and one female character.
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Offline TrishD

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #110 on: September 17, 2010, 04:28 AM »
I *just* sold a YA with a male protagonist.
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Offline Whizbee

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #111 on: September 17, 2010, 08:24 AM »
Gosh, I hope not. I enjoy different POV.

I like it too. But I hear agents/editors complain about it sometimes.
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Offline olmue

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #112 on: September 26, 2010, 12:55 PM »
 :banghead

Offline ShannonH

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #113 on: September 26, 2010, 04:20 PM »
A good friend of mine has been shopping around her YA with a male protagonist to agents. She's been told multiple times that a male protagonist is a hard sale in the YA market.

Offline Bridgette Booth

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #114 on: September 27, 2010, 03:07 PM »
A good friend of mine has been shopping around her YA with a male protagonist to agents. She's been told multiple times that a male protagonist is a hard sale in the YA market.

Well that stinks. I keep thinking of Feed and how much I enjoyed it as a male POV. Of course, I'm not exactly in the YA demographics . . . so are male readers supposed to jump from MG to Adult? Is that the strategy? Just curious. I have a nephew who reads (and buys) YA books like crazy. He is 17 and is always giving me tips on good YA authors. He also influences his guy friends on what books to read.
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Offline olmue

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #115 on: September 27, 2010, 04:07 PM »
My boys (ages 10 and 12) LOVE reading. But my older one especially is starting to get frustrated because there are fewer and fewer books for him. He rereads a lot of his MG favorites, but he's not really interested in adult issues, and yet there is only so much rereading you can do. He isn't interested in books with pink, girly covers, although he has read his share of girl books for lack of anything else. (I mean, he was so desperate he read Twilight.) We track down as many new books as we can find, and he's started to pick up a few adult SFF books (in imaginary worlds the jump is easier--they tend not to be about mortgages and mid life crises :) ). But still--I expect the frustration to grow.

Maybe by the time my 2 YO gets to that age demographic, things will have changed...

Offline Skarecrow

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #116 on: September 27, 2010, 04:36 PM »
I *just* sold a YA with a male protagonist.

Congrats! That is awesome news, and gives hope to us all....good job!!!!!!! :congratulations
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Offline Wonky

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #117 on: September 27, 2010, 07:24 PM »
Well that stinks. I keep thinking of Feed and how much I enjoyed it as a male POV. Of course, I'm not exactly in the YA demographics . . . so are male readers supposed to jump from MG to Adult? Is that the strategy? Just curious. I have a nephew who reads (and buys) YA books like crazy. He is 17 and is always giving me tips on good YA authors. He also influences his guy friends on what books to read.

Well, that's what I did...of course, that was in the 80's. I went from MG to Stephen King and Arthur C. Clarke.

Offline tommygreenwald

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #118 on: October 01, 2010, 12:11 PM »
this is an interesting thread... my MD debut, CHARLIE JOE JACKSON'S GUIDE TO NOT READING, will be published by roaring brook/macmillan in july '11, with a sequel a year later. my protagonist/narrator, charlie joe, is about 12, and the most reluctant reader ever born. when i started pitching the idea the only thing i kept hearing was how desperate the industry was for humorous boy books. i think it helped me sell the book, but my editor was also very happy that there was a romantic element for the girls. i know it's being marketed for both, although obviously the overt appeal is for boy reluctant readers. THX, tg

Offline lydap

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Re: YA/MG Male protagonists--a difficult sell?
« Reply #119 on: October 04, 2010, 01:25 PM »
I just read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I was thinking was sort of un-pidgeon-hole-able. An epistolary, 21st century Catcher in the Rye, which I consider YA crossover. I also think Looking for Alaska is a good example of YA that in the 1950s would have been a very "advanced" adult novel. While I think Prep, which was marketed as adult, was YA. So Literacat, who buys Perks?

I have a WIP which is urban paranormal with a male narrator/protagonist and a female ghost/spirit who possesses a girl and it's sort of a love story, so I was thinking to myself that guys probably wouldn't read it because it's a love story. Am I right?