Sunday, November 6, 2011

YA Books for Boys

I've been thinking of doing a new series that would appeal more to teen boys or younger. I had first thought of my character as a tomboy, but now i'm wondering if my main character should be a boy. Why not? The market is so saturated with girl books (i'm speaking in terms of YA of course) why not try the boy market?

I've done some research on the matter. I've read that ALL agents are looking for YA boy books. Hmm. Not sure about that. What I also read was that it's even harder to break into that market because the book needs to appeal to girls at some level. So, girls would have to like the books too.

Well, i'm a huge fan of the Bartimaeus trilogy, or the Percy Jackson books, and i'm female. I love these books, and i love the characters. You do find the main character's to be boys, but there are also strong female characters in the books. But, Harry is still my favorite.

So i'm left wondering if i should just GO FOR IT. Who knows if it'll happen? I have a series with my main character being female, and the traditional publishers didn't pick it up. Perhaps i will try my next series with a boy as my main character. I think it'll be lots of fun, and new for me. And a challenge. I love a challenge. Let's see if i can pull it off!


  1. My experience is that editors and agents say they're looking for boy books, but they really aren't. Many houses admit they only have one slot for boy books each season.

    As an indie author, I've also found that it's difficult to sell a boy book once you've published it. Everyone is clamoring for paranormal for girls, and even if you put your book in full view of this audience, they pass it by. Since there are very few boy books out there, it's difficult to cross-promote. You just can't find another author who shares your audience.

    I think your best chance to sell a boy book is if it contains some fantasy or paranormal element. Contemporary is really difficult to move. Also, I think aiming at the middle grade audience is a better marketing plan. The rumors I've heard are that by the time boys get to high school, they've either graduated straight to adult fantasy and sci-fi or they've stopped reading. Whether that's true of not, I don't know, but what I've encountered seems to support it.

  2. I say go for it! So many people from both genders love male lead series currently in both YA and middle grade. One great example of a male lead written by females that is currently very popular among females is the Beautiful Creatures series. *Is looking at her copy of Beautiful Chaos* A few years ago I would have said no simply because I used to have a stigma in my mind about male leads but thanks to currently literature that stigma has completely dissipated for me. I think the biggest trick is to actually write them like a guy and not the female perception of one. Keeping them flawed and down to earth but still giving them a mind of their own.

    So overall, I think GO FOR IT!!!!! <3
    I am sure I will enjoy anything you write. :D

  3. I disagree with the "one slot for boy books" misnomer. I slush for a NY agent, and she's actively searching for boy books because the audience for them is rapidly growing, even among female readership. This past summer alone, I can think of at least a dozen boy books--road trip novels, mysteries set in summer camp, coming of age stories, etc.

    But likewise, it's soooo important for the male voices to be authentic. I've seen a lot of manuscripts with tons of potential, but the narrative sounds like a girl trying to write a boy's POV, and thus detracts from the effectiveness of the novel as a whole.

    So I say, if you think you can write an authentic male MC, go for it!!!!