Who I am, and why I write

Welcome! My name is Erin Manning, and I write clean Young Adult fiction for ages 12 and up. I'm an avid reader and I've been...

Monday, September 16, 2019

Major changes ahead

This past Friday I got some wonderful advice about my books, and the most important piece of that advice is this: my books really aren't middle grade fiction. While they share some elements with books that are written for the older end of the MG fiction age range, they are a better fit for the young adult category.

I didn't think I was writing YA fiction because I tend to think of YA as always edgy, dark, and pushing the envelope in terms of sexual and violent content along with some other adult elements. But there are writers today whose books are classified as "clean teen" or "clean YA," and that's where my books belong. I have older protagonists; I write complex, multi-layered plots (not always well, but I do write them); I do not avoid all serious topics or difficult situations. What I do avoid are just three things: actual swear words, explicit sex, and gory or gratuitous violence. These are the same three things most writers of clean YA also avoid adding to their novels; you can see a list of examples below:

Goodreads List of Popular Clean Teen Books

I spent some time looking at some of the middle grade fiction books on sale at a couple of different bookstores this weekend, and the more I looked at them, the more I realized that trying to sell my books as middle grade just wasn't going to work. The majority of the books are written at or below a sixth-grade reading level. Paragraphs are short, and vocabulary is simple. Books are kept quite short too for the most part, with a few notable exceptions.

My books really do fit better with the YA books, and that means I need to do some work to reach that market. I'll be sharing those changes here as I make them, so stay tuned!