Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Patterson Does YA

The New York Times article, An Author Looks Beyond Age Limits, about James Patterson's attention to his YA sales, is interesting for a number of reasons.

Patterson really keeps an eye on his sales numbers. (I'd rather not know about mine, in large part because they don't come anywhere near his.) He's concerned that his YA books don't sell as well as his adult books do and worries that placement in the back of bookstores with the other kids' books could be keeping buyers from finding them. So his publisher is asking booksellers to commit to keeping his YA titles at the front of the store for the same length of time as his adult titles. YA titles should be treated as well as adult titles. Yeah, it's too bad all books can't get this kind of treatment, but that's life, as Mom used to say.

Patterson is interested in attracting female buyers for his YA books, as in mothers. He wants to encourage parents to buy books for their kids as long as they're in the bookstore, anyway. While some might charge that he wants to get parents to buy his books, I'm hoping that if he trains them to buy for their kids whenever they go into bookstores, the resulting sales could help all of us. (Patterson can't have a new YA book in the store all the time, after all. Oh. Wait. Maybe he can.)

YA titles are becoming popular with adult readers. So Patterson's latest book has a cover designed to attract adults as well as kids. I've heard of other books that were published in two editions, one for adults and one for kids, in order to cast a nice big net. Patterson's publisher is trying to be more efficient.

Patterson's Maximum Ride series has an "uncredited co-writer." (Gabrielle Charbonnet) It's too bad she's uncredited, but I respect that Patterson brought in help instead of taking the attitude that just anyone can knock off a YA book.

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