What Exactly IS Our Market?

There is a lot of discussion brewing on appropriate subject matter for reading and entertainment for children — all children, young adult (YA), middle grade (MG) and below. And I even found my own project embroiled in this controversy (long story, no longer relevant)… but still the discussion is something to be aware of and to contemplate.
It first came up on my radar reading Chasing Ray, which is the blog site of an author who also reviews YA books. She picked up the discussion from a parenting site called Babble which features a really insightful article by author Rachel Shukert which targets Gossip Girl and other dreamy books about fabulously rich characters. Rachel seems to feel these books glorify rich characters at the expense of normal, middle class characters who more than likely represent the bulk of the reading audience. (Rachel’s dispatch is well worth the read… even though I AM totally addicted to GG. I am old enough not to be tainted by tales of all their money, right?)

(I just found out that Dan, played by Penn Badgley and

Serena, played by Blake Lively are dating in RL… )
Figuring out what’s right and appropriate for kids is like pulling a loose thread on a sweater… it’s going to lead you some place where you feel either naked… or stupid or both! I followed a link on Rachel’s article to a NY Times article from Nov. 2007 (thanks to the internet I have become a NY Times ADDICT!) . Sweeping The Clouds Away tells how the earliest Sesame Street episodes (which first aired on Nov. 10, 1969) have been released on DVD and now carry a disclaimer that they are “for ADULT entertainment and not intended for children!”
Say wha? C’mon, seriously… is that not nakedly stupid?
if you write in children’s in any form you HAVE to read this article… it’s… it’s so amazingly crazy that you just know that it’s true and that someone, somewhere decided it was a good idea.
As for my feelings… well, I do want to know and be informed on discussions relevant to my chosen art form. But this is no surprise as having worked in children’s TV for years I have encountered notions and bias every bit this ridiculous. I think as writers/creators we need to first please ourselves and fearlessly put our work out there for the world to see… if it’s good an audience will come… and then the critics can feast on our bones!

About Sheryl Scarborough

For MONEY I have written: TV series, cartoons, comic books, graphic novels, magazine articles, Business Plans, Direct Music Marketing letters (as Mariah Carey, MC Hammer and others), Corporate Newsletters, Mens Style (online) Magazine (as managing editor),screenplays (well, okay so not so much about the money there) and Restaurant Reviews (for free food!) Now… I’m writing for love and what I LOVE are young adult mystery novels.

Writing for YA

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