Sunday, October 23, 2011

Men like YA books too

Last Tuesday my local library, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, sponsored me as their guest at the Illinois Library Association conference in Rosemont Illinois. While there, one of my readers came up to me and told me he was almost finished with my book and he loved it. Part of my goal in writing PULL was to attract boys back to reading, so the gender of my fan wasn't a surprise.

His age was.  He was an adult male.

This is the third time this has happened to me. I have been told, by adult MEN, that they enjoyed the book, did not find it childish or "young adult" (the protagonist is a 17 year old African American male living in Chicago's inner city) and felt that I accurately captured what it meant to be a boy.  BTW - all three men were middle-aged and white.

I have heard some negative comments--mostly from mothers--about the language, the sexual situations and, especially, the ending. None of the men had a problem with either of these. Nor have teens, although one girl wrote that she couldn't do what David, PULL's hero, did herself, but she fully understood why he did it.

I find it interesting,  unexpected, and strangely exhilarating to think that my book has crossed-over from the YA shelves into the hands, and hearts, of adult males.

What made this most interesting is that a week earlier I gave a presentation at the Ohio Educational Media Library Association, on Attracting Teen Boy Readers.  One of the attendees mentioned how difficult it was to find male role-models who would admit to reading, and that even the Principal at her school seemed proud to announce that he "did not read."

Maybe she could think about a father-son book club, armed with male-oriented YA books

Obviously, PULL should be first in line.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Doing The Happy Dance

Last week I discovered something about my novel, PULL. Somebody out there really likes it. And, they have nominated the book for two really big honors.

PULL is a nominee in the Cybils Awards Young Adult Fiction category. This is the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards, and some blogger or fan liked the book enough to enter it. (I promise I did not enter it myself, I did not even find out until after I was nominated) There were over 1100 nominees in ten different categories:
  • Book Apps
  • Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction
  • Fiction Picture Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Non-Fiction Picture Books
  • Non-Fiction Middle Grade & Young Adult
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction

Just as my heart rate returned to normal, I got a second piece of news. PULL has been nominated for the Fiction category of the 2012 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List.  This is especially gratifying, because when I wrote PULL I set out to reach reluctant readers, and it's great to know that someone feels I was a success.

While it will take months to know if I make the finals in either area, I'm just happy knowing that my work is being recognized.

Now, on to finally finish the sequel, Being God.  (Formerly BAMF, Downside Up, and a host of other titles. I can't even name it, no wonder I can't seem to make this story end.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blogging with Romancing the Genres

Today I'm blogging about blogging, would you believe it?  I'm over at Romancing the Genres Blog, and telling why I blog, and revealing a piece of me inside. This month I and my sister genre-istas are going over the whole blogging experience, looking at what it means to us to reach out and reveal ourselves to you. Hope you'll join us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yes Boys Do Read

Advertisers will tell you, it's always easier and more cost effective to keep an existing customer than to go out and find a new one, or try recapturing a lost one. So it is with readers.

No, I'm not talking about my readers (well, yes I am, but only as a tangent)  I'm talking about so-called reluctant readers.

I've visited a number of schools, and have personal experience with the recognized phenomena of boys falling behind female readers as they move through elementary school. In all too many cases the boys declare themselves Non-Readers, and shut down. On Oct 13 I will be talking to educators and librarians in Columbus Ohio, speaking at the Ohio Educational Library Media Association conference on this subject. Because we don't want to keep loosing readers.