Sexism in the Young Adult Publishing Industry

Comments: 4

This may sound sexist, but I don't mean it to, so I hope no one will take offense.

I can't help wondering why boys don't read more young adult novels. Statistics evidently show that if they do read, it's probably something like adult science fiction or action/adventure, etc. Boys generally do not seem interested in novels written for the young adult audience.

But why is that?

Could it be that most YA writers, agents, and editors are women? If women write, represent, and publish what they like, I can understand why most boys probably would not care to read that. Face it, boys have different tastes than girls, which goes without saying, but I think this needs to be included in the equation somewhere.

I have written a young adult novel, and am half way through my second one, both of which probably are not targeted to young women. Since most of the agents I've sent it to are women, do you think that may be a partial reason it has not met with much success yet? If I were a woman, the story would likely be different, geared for girls and it would probably have found a home long before now -- maybe? That's assuming it's good enough to get published in the first place. But being a man, with a man's interests and thought patterns, I write for men (boys). So, when a woman agent reads about it, it doesn't catch her interest, but it may catch the interest of male agents and editors. So, that's what I'm trying to do now -- send my query letter out to more male agents.

Time will tell if that strategy will work. I'll keep you (all 1 or 2 of you faithful followers) posted.
More on:  , ,

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, June 11, 2009

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This


  1. I wonder that too. MG boys seem to read a lot. But YA boys? Not so much. But I have seen several agents say they wish there was more YA geared toward boys, so...

  2. Agreed. That's what I'm trying to do.

  3. Very interesting. I've never thought of that, but thinking back on my teenage years, I think the only teen fiction I got into was the stuff by Chris Hiemerdinger. He's a guy, and writes action adventure and science fiction.


    I did get into the Work and the Glory series when I was young - again, a guy author. If I preferred guy authors as a kid, I sure didn't know it, but if what you are suggesting is right, then it makes sense.

    I think my all time favorite young adult fiction is probably Chronicles of Narnia.


    - Chas

  4. Maybe you should have some women read it to get some perspective :)