Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Can a Fantasy Book Appeal to All Age Groups?

I've heard many times, at various writers conferences, by those in the know - editors, manuscript assessors and publishers - that any genre book must be written with a particular age-group in mind, or else it won't work. But, is that always true? Surely JK Rowling has proved the opposite of conventional thinking? Her Harry Potter Series was enthusiastically read by all age groups, from ten-year olds to the over fifties. And there are many other authors whose books do the same.
So much for the experts!

The reason I'm querying is that my own fantasy/vampire/paranormal romance, Bloodgifted - which is the first of a series - was originally pitched at the over twenty-fives as the protagonists are roughly in that age bracket. Most of my beta readers agreed - they're all post-forty something females who love romance novels.
I am now rethinking that.

Recently, one of my beta readers passed my manuscript to a friend's twelve-year old daughter. She read it within two days, then took it to school to read it to her friends. They loved it and wanted to know the release date. They all want a copy and are urging me to hurry up with its publication, so I can complete the second book in the series and get it out there!
I was stunned. It appeals to twelve to fifteen year olds? Who would've guessed! So, now it seems I have a book which crosses the age category and I have to thank twelve-year-old Abi for that.
It also answers a question for me regarding the writing of sex scenes. Knowing my book will be read by a younger audience, will certainly determine the way I approach love scenes, which means erotica is out of the question. Intimate scenes between the central characters can be approached in more subtle and romantic ways and they'll be fun to write.

My own twelve-year-old niece, Annie, has read the first few chapters and even drawn images of some of the characters, which I'm including here.

So, does my novel fit a specific age category? Nope! And that's exciting. Does it have to? You tell me.
The witch, Eithne


Ryan Toxopeus said...

I think the best fantasy books do appeal to a wide range of ages. I published my fantasy novel thinking it would best fit the young adult audience (protagonists are 18), but I've had readers 40+ saying that the book is well written and entertaining. It's a good (and surprising!) feeling when people outside your intended audience enjoy your book.

Stacy said...

I think that any genre can appeal to anyone who has the interest.

The book series that I'm writing is a paranormal romance aimed at young adults. My beta readers for the first book are men and women 20-40+. Some of the readers (mostly guys) who I didn't expect to really be all that into it actually were!

Tima Maria said...

Hi Ryan,
You're right. A story doesn't have to be geared for a select section of the population. I'm thrilled that my book appeals to the YAs.
Congratulations on your book reaching a wider audience.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Stacy,
And isn't it a lovely surprise? As a writer, I find that so liberating.
What's your book called?

Diane said...

Unless a book has been written specifically for young children, the scope of its appeal (adults/young adults) will depend entirely on the individual reader. I belong to the generation that grew up reading what would now be classified as adult literature as the term 'young adult' had not yet been coined. I feel that an author always writes with a specific group/age in mind, even if this 'motivation' is often subconscious, and a book will eventually end up with the group of readers for which it was initially - consciously or subconsciously - written.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Dianne,
Interesting thought and something I'm now discovering. I'm glad my book appeals to a younger audience. Perhaps all my years teaching has subconsciously crept into my writing! And that's good thing.

Dee Solberg said...

I failed the last few attempts to post due to the captcha deal. I'll try again. I love certain fantasy writers and have since I read them as a little girl; C.S. Lewis, George McDonald, Madeleine L'Engle, to name but a few. They never lose their magic, yet have something to offer every time I read them aloud to a new class room.

Tima Maria said...

Hi Dee,
Sorry about the captcha. I think it's a blogger thing. But, I'll get one of my tehcno-savvy friends to check it out and see if it can be improved.
It was nice to meet you on twitter, and like you, I've always LOVED fantasy. My book has allusions to Alice in Wonderland scattered throughout.
Fantasy is magical and I'm a happy promoter of it!