Young Adult and authors and books have been on my mind since I returned from the Romance Writers of America national conference and Indie Book Signing in San Antonio, Texas.
|L-R: Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Vincent
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (http://www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com), Ally Carter (http://allycarter.com), Sarah Rees Brennan (http://sarahreesbrennan.com), and Rachel Vincent (http://rachelvincent.com) led an excellent marketing panel on “Feeding the Fandom: How to Turn Regular YA Readers into Raging Fangirls (and Boys)."
“Fiction is an Invitation to Imagine.”
Readers are passive. But in fandom, Super Fans rally around characters, stories, romances, and/or an author. The Super Fans live and breathe the stories, creating their own related art, stories, and character romances.
Gaps and Hints
Of the many great tips the panel offered, this one particularly resonated with me. Super Fans latch onto gaps or hints left by the author. And if an appealing minor character doesn’t have a love interest, Super Fans will create a romance for the character. If the author has dropped hints that two characters are interested in each other, Super Fans will create a fan fiction romance.
Acknowledge Your Fans
Fans and word of mouth can drive a book or author onto the Best Seller lists. So acknowledge your fans! Some authors (Ally Carter is an excellent example) provide links on their website or blog to their Super Fans' blogs and other social media accounts. This not only acknowledges the Super Fans, it gives them a place to connect with each other.
Middle Grade vs. YA
Here’s an excellent article from Publishers Weekly. "Middle Grade and YA: Where to Draw the Line." Enjoy!