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What would be the age range for this group?  :thanx
#1 - August 17, 2015, 03:18 AM
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Most middle school kids, ages 11-14 enjoy this level and it seems the main character is usually at least 12 years old.
#2 - August 17, 2015, 04:03 AM
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That helps. :thankyou
#3 - August 17, 2015, 04:05 AM
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I'd be careful with it, though. Yesterday's "tween" seems to have become today's "can't sell it because it's neither MG nor YA." Recently, I have heard the advice not to query this type of book as "upper MG," but straight MG. A 12yo character is great, but I don't think I'd risk making my MC 14, TBH. Making your character an early teen seems to have become yet another drawback to overcome.

#4 - August 17, 2015, 07:16 AM
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I know. I like writing 13-14 year old MCs because it's such an interesting age, but they fall into that hole between MG and YA. It's a shame.
#5 - August 17, 2015, 07:29 AM

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I'd be careful with it, though. Yesterday's "tween" seems to have become today's "can't sell it because it's neither MG nor YA." Recently, I have heard the advice not to query this type of book as "upper MG," but straight MG. A 12yo character is great, but I don't think I'd risk making my MC 14, TBH. Making your character an early teen seems to have become yet another drawback to overcome.

This. I started writing C1 for the tween market. At first my mc was in eighth grade. But that tween category never really took off, so I finally put him in 7th - most of the plot didn't change. When I sold the book we changed his age from 13 to 12, BUT he turns 13 at the very end of the book. Although I FEEL it is very much an older middle-grade book, that is not how it's marketed. It's straight middle grade, and today that's how the editors think about it, probably because of available shelf space in libraries and bookstores.

 :goodluck
#6 - August 17, 2015, 08:29 AM
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I know. I like writing 13-14 year old MCs because it's such an interesting age, but they fall into that hole between MG and YA. It's a shame.

I totally agree. There is such a need for books for this age group: readers who want a taste of high school but aren't ready for a YA voice - or topics for that matter. The main objection I hear is that stores won't know where to shelve upper MG's, I don't understand this. Put them with the MG's and let people decided what they want to read.
#7 - August 17, 2015, 08:55 AM

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I totally agree. There is such a need for books for this age group: readers who want a taste of high school but aren't ready for a YA voice - or topics for that matter. The main objection I hear is that stores won't know where to shelve upper MG's, I don't understand this. Put them with the MG's and let people decided what they want to read.

 :werd
#8 - August 17, 2015, 10:08 AM

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I know. I like writing 13-14 year old MCs because it's such an interesting age, but they fall into that hole between MG and YA. It's a shame.
Yes!

I totally agree. There is such a need for books for this age group: readers who want a taste of high school but aren't ready for a YA voice - or topics for that matter. The main objection I hear is that stores won't know where to shelve upper MG's, I don't understand this. Put them with the MG's and let people decided what they want to read.

:exactly
#9 - August 17, 2015, 10:11 AM
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The resistance to this age is so weird to me, because then you have blockbusters like Riordan's books that fall absolutely squarely in that age range. And kids love them! This is the age where kids want to be cool but are still figuring things out about themselves and others, so there's plenty of room for humor. Plenty of opportunity for the awkward kid (who the reader will identify with) to turn into the hero (who the reader secretly wants to be). (Yes, I know that some of his later books are YA, but the younger ones are definitely in this upper MG category. So maybe find out what he calls this age??)
#10 - August 17, 2015, 10:49 AM

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Are all his books shelved in MG at, say, Barnes and Noble? Or do some of them get put in YA?

And yes, I think most of the resistance is due to the shelving issue.  New Adult has run into the same thing, and the end result is that it's getting shelved with adult books.
#11 - August 17, 2015, 10:57 AM
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Good points!

Thought it was worth asking because of many agents on the MSWL say they are looking for upper MG.

Thank you everyone!   :flowers2
#12 - August 17, 2015, 02:18 PM
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I think it's definitely a market that isn't being served, and I know the wheels of change turn slowly, but, really, this it not a tough call in my opinion. Not only do kids this age want books written for them, but I've heard parents say the same thing. Their children want to read, but where are the books for this age group?
#13 - August 17, 2015, 03:06 PM

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So maybe find out what he calls this age??)

Wouldn't it matter a lot more what his publisher calls it?

Also, I think that just because Big Name Author can do something doesn't mean Mary Q. Writer can, and I think this has been true for a long time. When I was starting out, big names like Madeleine L'Engle and Katherine Paterson said they just wrote the book and let their publisher figure out how to label it. Needless to say, this doesn't work for most.
#14 - August 17, 2015, 03:14 PM
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Riordan's books, like Harry Potter, are in the MG section, no matter how old the MCs get. I think you can get away with it a) if you're RR or JKR, or b) your series started with the MC a younger age and then they get older...stores won't break up a series into the MG and YA sections.

I also love writing 13yo characters, but find myself switching them to 12 to "fit the market better..."
#15 - August 17, 2015, 04:03 PM
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Also, I think that just because Big Name Author can do something doesn't mean Mary Q. Writer can, and I think this has been true for a long time. When I was starting out, big names like Madeleine L'Engle and Katherine Paterson said they just wrote the book and let their publisher figure out how to label it. Needless to say, this doesn't work for most.

So true.
#16 - August 17, 2015, 09:23 PM

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Excellent tips! Thanks everyone! :)
#17 - August 27, 2015, 02:23 PM

I'm experience this same situation with my tween novella in a tween to new adult couplet series. That is, the character are to old for middle grade, but to young for high school.

Good news is in recounting, it's definitely a query able word count (30,000 instead of 17,500 for couplet total.)
#18 - August 29, 2015, 05:06 PM
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This is not a new label or area or age group. When I started in children's publishing in the late 80's, books for 10-14-year-olds were sometimes called "transitional"--as in between MG and YA. I've also seen them called older MG, young YA, and "coming of age."

There ARE books published in this area on a regular basis, but they tend to be presented either as MG or YA. Ask yourself about the themes. Are they more middle grade themes, or more YA themes? Describe it accordingly.
#19 - August 30, 2015, 10:25 AM
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Thank you for this information.
#20 - August 30, 2015, 10:47 AM
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I really hope there'll be a separate tween section someday. Or even a 'general section'--good for any age--like in the days of Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Hans Brinker, Tom Sawyer…. I think my tween books with a 13-yr-old MC lost a lot of potential readers due to shelving OR maybe they just weren't labeled clearly enough as MG. At my library and many others, they're shelved as J, but when I check catalog listings, just as many libraries shelve them as YA. With my first book, a friend of mine came across it when looking for a Garth Stein title, on the bottom shelf of the adult section in her local B&N. I checked another B&N, same thing. They refused to put them in the kids' section, and said it was a country-wide decision as to where books are placed in their stores. My second book ended up showing prominently in all the B&N 'New Teen' displays, which was great, but even then, people might choose it for their older teen, who in turn may be disappointed to find that it's really an upper MG book. BUT, would it do any better shelved next to Captain Underpants and other chapter books? These kind of books (clean books about young teens who aren't into heavy issues yet) need their own section!
#21 - September 07, 2015, 06:37 AM
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My public library has Rick Riordan's books and JK Rowling's in both YA and Kids (The kids' fiction section is in three parts: novels, Series - mostly CBs, and PBs). My 10 yo is reading Riordan now. I check both sets of shelves before ordering the books from other libraries.
#22 - September 08, 2015, 11:43 AM
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