A post by Marcella Purnama and Mark Davis, University of Melbourne
Young adult literature is booming – and the secret is in the communities of young book lovers forming online. Photo: Brian Snyder
Before JK Rowling, critics and experts predicted that young adult (YA) literature would finally die, as sales continued to decline. In 1997, a mere 3,000 YA books were published. A decade later that number was 30,000.
The success of Harry Potter changed everything. YA is now embraced by teenagers and adults alike – a 2012 Bowker Market Research study in the US found that 55 per cent of people buying YA books are over 18.
We’re currently living in the second golden age of YA literature. But why is there a sudden demand for these coming-of-age books?
Apart from the undeniable quality of the books themselves, a generation of online readers are creating new ways to discuss, dissect and celebrate their favourite stories. And it’s driving sales in a big way.
Take John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012). It reached #1 on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists six months before the book was published. It received thousands of five-star reviews, ranked by readers who hadn’t even held their copies.
Joanne Harris started her working life as a teacher, writing three novels during her fifteen years in the classroom. This included the international bestseller Chocolat (1999), the success of which made Harris a member of the exclusive Millionaire Authors’ Club, a list of UK authors whose books have sold more than one million copies. Since becoming a full-time writer Harris has written a further twenty books including two cookbooks and a Dr Who novella.
Last month Harris, a witty and wise Tweeter, shared the following tips for writers using the hashtag #TenWaysToKickstartYourWriting.
In the afterword of Stephen King’s highly regarded memoir/writing guide book On Writing, the bestselling writer shared a list of 96 books that he’d read while writing the book that he’d enjoyed and had influenced him. When a 10th anniversary of On Writing was released, an updated reading list of 82 books was included.
More recently, King has taken to Twitter to share with his fans and followers some of his favourite recent reads. Since joining the social media site in December 2013, he’s recommended the following 22 books.
1. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
2. The Marauders by Tom Cooper
A guest post by Sam Ryan
Patience, they say, is a virtue. For writers it’s a way of life. Ideas, inspiration and the right words can’t be forced, just facilitated. Sometimes the same goes for your writing career.
Some of us take a little longer than we’d like, going through our 20s, maybe 30s and beyond, unsure just what it is we want to do with our love of words, including whether or not to actually turn it from a hobby into a money-earner.
Some of us take the long route, with inevitable detours; maybe doing a couple of degrees and hopping around the many jobs that involve words before figuring it out. That’s ok – indeed, it’s necessary.
In July this year Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most prominent writers of her generation, posted on Twitter her top 10 writing tips. For new and experienced writers alike, this is some very valuable advice.
Related post: Joyce Carol Oates on Developing Realistic Characters