More About Sexism in the Publishing Industry

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If you think about it, you have to admit the overwhelming number of young adult (YA) books are targeted toward girls. Think teen-romance novels, novels with girls as main characters, such as mysteries and suspense novels, even YA fantasy novels. Very few novels are ever targeted to boys, and I think that is in part a result of too many female editors and female agents looking for novels written by females, or male writers who are willing to cater to the female sex, erroneously thinking boys don’t read YA.

I think it’s not a matter of boys not reading YA novels, it’s more that there simply aren’t many books geared toward them. In my opinion, male writers should be encouraged to target their writing to boys. Then, we male writers need to send our queries to male agents and editors, or at least to female agents and editors who understand this issue, and see whether boys will read YA novels.

I think it may be a while before agents and editors get the point, but we need to start somewhere. There are a lot of great male writers. I think they are every bit as good writers as female writers (and some argument could be made that some are even better than most female writers). They just need to be encouraged to target their talents toward boys.

I’ve written one complete YA novel and am working on a second, both with male protagonists, and I have several more YA novels with male protagonists in mind. I suspect they are likely to be a difficult sale simply because they are written with a male audience in mind and most agents and editors are under (in my opinion) the false impression that boys won’t read YA.

To that I say, try it and see.
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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: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

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1 comment

  1. my son is really enjoying the Leven Thumps series, 13th Reality, and Pendragon . . . I think there just needs to be more YA fiction that is better quality writing that boys would like.