Thursday, January 22, 2009

I heart EE

My query is up today over at Evil Editor! Here's the direct link. He is genius as always and I'm taking his advice.

One thing he pointed out is something that's been haunting me ever since I started writing this book. Is it YA or is it women's fiction? I think the narrative voice leans closer to YA, but my protagonist, Lottie, is a college sophomore--definitely older than the typical high school-aged YA protag.

All of my agent research has been for YA and I love the genre. But how many YA (or women's fic) features a college-aged protag? Seems like a grey area.

The only book I can think of right now that's along somewhat similar lines as mine is Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl and its sequels. Mine isn't similar except for the college-aged female protag and a plot involving a secret society (though her protag is in the secret society, and goes to an Ivy League school, and the S.S. is basically Skull & Bones).

So now I'm stumped. High school (or middle school) readers may not relate with a college protag and older readers might feel she and her ambitions are too juvenile.

I'd appreciate ANY thoughts on this.


shannon said...

Hmm, are you familiar with Megan McCafferty at all? She did/does a series of books that follows a girl from high school through college and beyond...I started reading them when I was in college. I read the first two, but there are like, 4 or 5. Loved them...they were hysterical. Based on a young character, but with more mature situations than YA books, good and fun-to-follow storyline. Anyway, she seems like the same gray-area you're in - not YA, but not necessarily "mature adult" women's reading. Don't know if that is helpful at all, just had to throw it out there..ha!

Sounds like you got some great advice from EE!

Becky said...

I don't think that you're necessarily outside the realm of YA. I used to love reading books about "older" characters when I was that age - Ocean City, the college Sweet Valley High books. On tv I watched Saved by the Bell (the college years) even.

As a teen, you feel way too cool for high school, but can't get enough of the "mystique" of college, right?

Crimogenic said...


I think your query is pretty darn good. EE suggests are definitely great for polishing it up a bit. I might just get up the courage to send him my query one day.

Personally from the voice of the query, it feels like YA to me. I really don't know much about the YA industry, but I would think a book like yours would attract 15 to 24 old years.

Also I would think if an agent felt the writing was there and the story was good, you could rather easily turn your MC into 17 and stick her in a prep school. :)

Diana Peterfreund said...

I would also go YA, but an agent is going to be able to tag this best of all. McCafferty (and I) sold our books before the explosion of YA that's happened in the last two years. We sold those books when chick lit was hot. It now longer is. YA is what's hot now. Our books would probably be published as YA now (so would PREP, I think, but that's a whole other debate).

Also, dead bodies and covered-up hate crimes sounds way more serious than anything that happens in my secret society books. Perhaps a mention of Veronica Mars would be more appropriate here? Good luck!

Christy Raedeke said...

That's so cool that you made it to the EE site! I love your book's premise. As for the YA vs Adult angle, have you researched agents that do crossover? I know my agent, Laura Rennert, reps quite a bit of crossover fiction. Of course they always say to state your primary genre first, but often it's a plus if it will appeal to both markets (Curtis Sittenfeld's "Prep" was marketed as adult even though the protag was in prep school and Jim Lynch's "The Highest Tide" has been released with both YA and adult market covers though the protag. is just 13. Both have been really big sellers.)

If it were me I would stick to pitching it as YA with crossover appeal mostly because in the current climate it sounds like YA publishers have taken less of a hit than mainstream publishers. Good luck! A finished manuscript and a polished query means you are so ready!

beth said...

My heart goes out to you. This is a problem that I had with a manuscript--one that I never overcame and ended up shelving.

Have you heard of Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble? That's got a college graduate in it but is often shelved in YA. However, one reason it's shelved there is because Meg Cabot is usually a YA author, but...

My only real advice would be to look at the tone. Does it "sound" more like a teen read than an adult one? One thing I've noticed with older aged protags shelved as YA books is that there is usually either a theme of self discovery or a light-hearted (even humourous) tone.

Barrie said...

I actually think you can make a college student work in a YA. Especially an upper YA. A question, though: how tough would it be to rewrite the protag, etc. as high school?