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Author Topic: Writing fantasy, but not sure what age group to market towards  (Read 66 times)

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« on: December 08, 2018, 06:01:48 PM »

My fantasy series features the two MCs both growing up from babyhood into young adulthood. Then they continue as young adults for the rest of the series.

I know it's not MG, but should I present it as YA? NA? Adult?

The adult fantasy I've read lately features much more (ahem!) "adult" scenes than my series contains. My sex scenes, for example, are much more David Eddings than Sarah J. Maas. Does adult fantasy have to have soft porn and graphic violence to be considered adult fantasy these days? And does the correct genre refer more to the MCs in the book, or to the potential audience?

The two MCs are YA, and over the course of the series also pass right through NA into full adulthood.

The first book is a coming of age story for the MC, but the subsequent ones show him in his adult role. The second book is a coming of age for the other MC, but by the end she's a full adult too.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2018, 04:20:15 PM »

I've read several bildungsroman books, here's some examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildungsroman#Examples So I think either YA or adult would fit well by the sounds of it.

I personally don't think all adult books have to have graphic scenes of violence or sex to be considered as such. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is adult and has no overly graphic scenes but is scary in parts, though it's more disturbing than graphic such as in A Game of Thrones at least to me. Heck, my own novel I've labeled as adult but is more in vain with JS&MN in that regard.

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Mr. Fluff -- from the SPCA

« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2018, 03:01:50 AM »

Although genre stuff is typically put after the story part of the query letter, this might be a case where it's better up front.
I do this so that an agent who does only ADULT books and/or YA books doesn't think my book is Middle Grade when starting to read the story and reject it right off because my protagonist is younger than typical YA. 

I state my intended audience upfront. Some agents specifically state that they are looking for "crossover" fiction that straddles the Y/A and adult levels. "Crossover" might be a useful term to use in your query if you think it fits. Here is how I word mine:

Dear [Agent's Name]:

Since you represent literary and crime fiction, I thought you might be interested in my 95,000-word novel, THROUGH SEA GLASS, DARKLY. My intended audience is high school through adult.

No, adult books don't need to have graphic sex scenes. Books in this category of "adult" are not the same as the "Adult" toy-and-book stores on the street or the "adult content" parents can weed out of their kids' internet searches.

Anyway, it's inappropriate for agents or anybody but the author to decide whether a certain level of sex should go into a book. It becomes obvious and annoying when some author throws in some graphic sex scene only because that's "what the market wants" in an adult-level book these days. A graphic sex scene should go in only if the author sees that it really, naturally, belongs in the book. But that's true of any sort of scene.
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