Monday, November 08, 2010

Gasperau, Redux

“I like that,” said my wife. “But it would never work for publishers of youth fiction.”

Whoah. Truer words were never spoken. When teens fall in love with a book, they don't just want to read it again and again: they want to read all of its many, many sequels. Trilogies are good, but sweeping sagas are so much better. Authorial typing/publisher printing cannot be done quickly enough to sate the literate adolescent.

The girls polished off The Hunger Games trilogy in short order. Right now they are taken with Michael Grant's Gone series. My older daughter lives in the hope that she will enjoy all four of P.D. Baccalario's Century Quartet books, but I wouldn't put money on it. Baccalario will have to type faster if he hopes to close two more sales before my daughter's growing perspicacity sniffs out his deficits as a writer.

The teen market is significant — in fact it's likely the sole aspect of publishing that's keeping print afloat. And quality control is, for the most part, optional (the sole exception being series continuity: publishers can let grammar take a hit, or authorial voice and perspective slip in a kaleidoscopic flurry, but they'd better keep a sharp eye on continuity). Harriet Stratemeyer Adams had it right: if you have a good thing going with teen readers, the words “too hasty” do not apply to publication.

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