Check out the author blog All the Way YA it is a great blog for people interested in Young Adult fiction. There are so many great authors and editors on there. You will love it.
They feature a column called #DearLaura where author and educator Laura Lascarso answers questions from various writers interested in taking on the challenge of Young Adult fiction. Last month, I asked a question of Mrs. Lascarso’s column about breaking into the YA market. Much to my delight, she responded!
She gave me permission to post it here!
The YA market is really flooded, not even with good stuff, but just the volume of various series is overwhelming. What advice do you have for breaking into the market?
I wish I had a simple answer for you, but just as there are several paths to publication, there are several ways “make it” in YA, and varying definitions as to what “making it” even means. That said, here are a few concrete things you can do to build your readership and increase your chances at success:
1. Write your best story every time. Workshop it, send it to beta readers, collect feedback and revise until you can elevate it no more.
2. Make connections with people in the biz. You need someone in the biz to champion your story and/or a following that will act as built-in fan base and recommend your book via word-of-mouth. (See John Green’s rise to fame). Some authors, it seems, shoot skyward with little to no help from anyone, but this is rare. The fact is, you need other people in order to be successful. This is true in nearly all ventures in life, one that we writers sometimes like to downplay.
3. Have a good read on the collective conscious of your market. It helps if you’ve tapped in to some subconscious element of our culture where your story offers deep and lasting satisfaction. This is different from chasing trends or writing the next whatever-it-is. Be aware of what’s going on in the world and how your story fits into the fabric of our culture and society.
4. Be opportunistic. Sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time. Go to conferences, engage on social media, contribute to smaller publications, and generally make sure that your personality and your work is “out there.”
5. Stay positive. Breaking into the biz is an uphill climb and you’re going to need a support network to help you through the setbacks, so make sure you have people you trust who will build you up when you get knocked down.
While you may not make it with your first book, I believe for myself and others that if you keep trying, keep putting your best work forward, and keep faith in your ability and artistry, you will make it eventually.
I wanted to share that advice with my fellow writers who are interested in YA. Check out her blog at http://lauralascarso.com/ She’s got some great resources! When you go, be sure to tell her I sent you her way!