Almost everyone who writes YA/MG gets asked at some point when they’re going to go on and write “real” books. It’s almost like a rite of passage, that question, along with first bad review, etc.
But I’ve stopped being asked that. Or at least, the question has given way to a NEW question.
Me: I write YA.
Them: Oh, that was a smart choice, because that’s where all the money is.
Well, two things.
1. Obviously it isn’t a question, but it’s a STATEMENT OF WORTH, if you will, which puts it in with the first question.
2. It seems on the surface less offensive. But it bothers me me.
It makes the assumption that I write what I write because of the money. That my writing YA was a CALCULATED move to get rich (much like my teacher telling all the students that genre fiction was created using a mad-lib format, easy money, so we should all quit school and go fill in the blanks). It also shows an ignorance about the industry, the super-saturation that makes YA even more competitive right now, the real reasons to write YA, the merits of well-written YA…it blankets all of these with the insinuation that I WRITE YA BECAUSE IT’S WHERE THE MONEY IS.
And I think that bothers me worse. But of course it’s not an either/or, is it? I still get asked the first question regularly enough, so now I’m accused of BOTH writing down AND selling out.
You know what? I adore writing YA. I write it because it inspires me, because the readers inspire me, because the community inspires me. I could sit here and explain, parse out every motive I have for writing what I do the way I do. But I won’t. I don’t NEED to. Because the people who matter, the ones who read this blog, they already understand. They get it. You get it.