Writing the book is the easy part.
Even with help from publishers and a plethora of advertising options available, marketing remains the most difficult challenge for authors. That’s especially true for young adult authors like myself.
The Internet can be a powerful ally—probably the best means to sell your book. But Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media demand large followings to succeed. That’s especially true for YA authors.
You see, teens are reluctant readers, especially boys. And that’s the target of my sports novels. My two published books, “Choker” and “Out of Bounds” are looking to attract teenage boys (and girls) through their passion for sports. There’s certainly a large untapped market to go after.
Many years ago I used to teach seventh- and eighth-grade language arts. Students knew I had a sports writing background, so they would ask me to recommend a sports book. Unfortunately, there weren’t many I liked, aside from “Friday Night Lights” by Buzz Bissinger. That classic tale about high school football in Odessa, Texas, was a work of non-fiction. The fiction novels I read all seemed superficial in the way they treated sports. They never truly captured the way athletes think, talk and act. I thought I could write better novels than the ones out there.
“Out of Bounds” was named a national finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Awards and “Choker,” published by BQB in May, has garnered great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I encourage anyone age 12 or up to take a look.
But getting back to marketing, I’ve found the best way to reach an audience is to take the books right to them. That’s why I go to schools to give author talks on reading and writing. Students from eighth grade on up learn about the writing process and see my books in person. Afterward, I take questions and do a book signing. This get my novels right into their hands.
From there you hope your book catches fire through word of mouth. If I can get young adults to read my books, I find they almost always like them.
With social media and television dominating their time, it can be a difficult task to get young adults to read. However, once they do it opens up a whole new world.