Crossing over

March 17th, 2008 • Kate

There’s a pretty interesting blog over on Publishers Weekly about SciFi and Fantasy authors being marketed as teen fiction, and vice versa. The blogger makes a pretty good point that in this regard, buying books on the internet has a clear advantage, as you can search for “YA fiction,” or “SciFi”, or the author’s name, and find everything they write, not just what’s shelved in one spot in a bricks and mortar bookstore.
What was interesting to me in this post was her focus on authors who’ve already specialized. That is — someone like Charles De Lint who has written a number of fantasy novels for adults, and with Little (Grrl) Lost and his latest, Dingo, was published specifically as YA. Or take Meg Cabot, who made her huge name in YA fiction, and also writes adult novels. Her books always manage to find her readers. (Her fantastic blog certainly helps!)
But what about the author who only has one book? Look at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. This is the truest cross-over, which was published in multiple editions here and in the UK to appeal to readers of all age ranges. I’m sure tons of authors would LOVE this kind of exposure, but it doesn’t happen often. For the rest, they have to be happy with a single edition, and do the best they can in concert with their publicity and marketing team to get the book into the hands of readers of all ages.
What other books can you think of that have benefited from multiple editions for different age ranges (not counting film tie-ins), and which ones do you think should get this treatment? Go at it in the comments!

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3 Responses to “Crossing over”

  1. Caryn Says:

    How funny–I have The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on my TBR pile. Just brought it home from the library the other day, in fact, because I've heard it's wonderful. As for good adult books that young adults can love, I always read the new ALA awards, including the ALEX awards, which honor such crossover books. There's a good list here:

  2. Joelle Anthony Says:

    Well, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE comes to mind. I guess you could call it YA from the beginning, but Oprah picked it (didn't she? Or did she just say she loved it?) and she doesn't do YA as far as I know. Maybe I'm wrong, about this one though…
    Others are the Harry Potter series with their two covers for each book. And…hmmm…I thought I knew of a few, but I guess not.
    Oh, right. I've noticed they've started giving classics YA covers like WUTHERING HEIGHTS and JANE EYRE. I don't think you can really call those YA (excellent to read as a teen, but they weren't intended that way, I don't think).
    I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot's YA, but except for the Heather Well's adult series, I'll take a pass on her adult stuff, so I don't think that just because a writer actually obtains cross over readers in this way, it always means that the cross over is successful. I feel the same way about Ally Carter's books. Love the YA, not so fond of the adult stuff. But maybe I like my adult lit to be more grown up.

  3. beth Says:

    Obviously, the Harry Potter books were a great cross-over. I've been noticing within the past five years or so, more of a push for a separate teen space on the shelves. My local Walden Books used to have a YA section, then children, IR, and adult books, but now there is a YA section, a teen section, and an entirely different section for graphic novels (another one of those crossovers that I think are going to continue to grow).