Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What NOT to write

Lately, there have been quite a few queries for young adult novels. My friend Jen Garsee writes YA, and I love her books. However, she writes for a huge publisher who specializes in YA.

While I can't possibly list all the genre that Cactus Rain isn't interested in, YA is certainly not a market we can romance.

What we are interested in is mainstream fiction that appeals to a wide general audience. I tend to like good solid stories that are well written. Books with staying power, timeless, fit our business model.

While I fully understand the crazy drive to write a specific story - we are nearly possessed at times - writers also have to understand the industry and the buying habits of readers.

Think about the last 10 books you bought full price. I have several friends who haven't bought a book in years. They borrow them from a circle of friends who trade among themselves.

There are no royalties to authors on books loaned, borrowed, bought at garage sales, or used book stores. Books bought from discount retailers don't bring full royalties either.

At some point in a writer's transition from crazed hobbiest to professional, thinking changes and an understanding emerges regarding the mind set of the reading public. That is how publishers think.


  1. Hi Nadine,

    Long time no write =) How are you? Love the post...and as I head off to write, your wise advice will be a guide post!

    Will be back more often!!


  2. Thank you for this. I continue to buy books as I always have, probably more so now that I know more of the authors. I also use the library and borrow books, because of course no can afford to buy every book, right? But I do make an effort to buy the books of authors I personally know, because I understand the business: No sale. No royalties.

    I still have an issue with people I consider friends who ask me if my books are available at the library. I love, love, love libraries, and I'm happy they want to read it--but I always want to say: "Hey, if YOU wrote a book, I'd buy YOURS"--because I seriously would.

  3. Hello Peggy and Jen. I take the award for not getting blogs read like I had been doing.

    Thanks for commenting, both of you, I almost deleted this thinking it sounded snarky.

    While it isn't wise to write to the market due to the laps of time from ms to book, it is still smart to keep an eye on what readers read.

  4. Hello new people "follers." I see Cathy Marley joined "us" -- another writer from Pheonix!

  5. I know that I post this every once in a while, and here it goes again...

    At First Draft everyone is invited to comment at any time. I'm perfectly fine with opposing opinions. I do not filter comments. I've only once removed a comment and that was because it wasn't in English and it had a link - so if I didn't know what was said, then it wasn't staying up...

    I know there are people out there who have read every post on First Draft (thank you). Don't be shy, post a comment. I've made it so that you don't have to use your name.

  6. Glyn, author of The Doctor The Plutocrat and The Mendacious Minister here. The other day, one of my sons whose opinion I really resepct as far as reading goes said, ´You know, Dad, you are missing a trick with The Doc etc, it should be aimed at Young Adults, particuarly teenage girls, thirteen years upwards...´ One to think about, eh Nadine?

  7. Hello Glyn, Cute idea, but no. The main character in YA books is a teen. The stories should deal with teen problems; boyfriends, parents, bullies at school, all the usual things that make being a teen so awful.

  8. I hadn't even realised what YA fiction was because I never read any. I think now that my son was thinking that teenage girls would 'fall in love' with Dr Latymer, just as a sixty year old guy who read the novel emailed me and told me he fell in love with the female character of Gerry!