I'm writing this within a few hours of learning about the transition of Novel Rocket to a couple of ladies that I have grown to admire and love dearly (even though one is an Ohio State fan). I won't dwell on the subject, but I'm excited about what's happening here at NR, and if you haven't been over to My Book Therapy yet, get ye there. Especially for the Thursday night LIVE pep talks where everyone comes to watch me make bad jokes in the comments. I even have my own time-out chair.
Writing for kids of all ages
For those of us who want to impact the lives of young readers, yet still reach out to an adult audience, the overlap of readership in the MG and YA categories has set us free.
Write for the kids firstDespite that, it is essential that the MG or YA author write for the younger age group. The rule of thumb is that young readers like to "read up," meaning that they want a protagonist a year or two older than themselves. So if you want to hit it big with the ten-year-old crowd, develop an eleven-year-old protagonist. Want to be the next YA star? Seventeen seems to be the magic number, as fourteen through 16 crowd will be drawn to such a character.
Naturally, rules are made to be broken. By readers. Young readers will read younger protagonists, but you should focus on one age group. Let the others follow on their own. Eventually, you'll get an email from a grandmother who loves your children's lit.