As I continue to work in the verse novel genre, I have noticed frequent references to "heavy" or "issue" books as a common currency of the verse form. With award-winning writers like Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones as strong faces of the YA genre, this is understandable.
However, I write verse that is not quite as intense. I like challenging situations and (of course) kissing but I also like the redemptive, hopeful aspect of YA literature. And, as the mother of teen boys, I know that their lives hip-hop from heavy to light in the wink of an eye (especially if that eye has mascara and is attached to a teen girl)! Still, it would be unwise of me not to acknowledge the "heavy" assumptions often made about verse novels as I work to readership for my new book and explain how it IS and IS NOT what they will expect.
On Tuesday 11/20, PW featured a great article in which "Industry Insiders Talk Adult Blockbusters." Little Brown's Megan Tingley insightfully commented on the importance of clarity in defining a YA novel's "niche" and synergy between the title and cover. All agreed that "[G]raphic cover images are a safer bet than photographic ones." Awhile back, I posted an observation about the art style of recent Printz award-winning book covers and I have to agree with Tingley, Justin Chanda, and the rest of the PW panel.
Do you feel your writing genre has attached stereotypes? How do you fit into or defy the mold? Do you consider these questions when marketing your work? Have any advice for me?
I'll finish with a two recent cover/title favorites of mine...