Thoughts on Becoming a YA Author, Part 2

Well, I knew it was inevitable, and it happened less than a week following After Obsession’s publication. Someone accused me of selling out.

Selling out. Let’s think about what that means. I typically think of selling out as giving up your moral principles and simply doing something for monetary gain, or some other personal gain. Considering that my half of the advance for After Obsession was more money than all my other books combined has earned me, one might think the accusation of selling out is valid.

That is, the accusation is valid if you think my goal was to be a poor author of pretty obscure small press books.

That was never my career goal.

Then there’s the idea of art and the belief that someone who writes for adults is sacrificing his art in writing for a younger, mass audience.

Again, no. While the editors at Bloomsbury did take out some scary elements, quite a bit of demonic foul language, and some sex (the sex was Carrie’s!), I can promise you that After Obsession has plenty of scare in it.

Okay, but what about the paranormal romance thing? Fair enough. Although the romance is a pretty important element, I always thought of the book as a demonic possession story and was myself a little surprised when the “paranormal romance” label was put on it. But so what? Do you think there’s no romance in Shara? All Shara wants is to be loved, and that goes on for five books!

My goal for the past 25 years has been to earn a living off my writing. I consider it closer to selling out that I’ve had other jobs while working to become a full-time writer. Machinist, public relations specialist, teacher, and especially newspaper reporter. But you know what? I like those things called food, shelter, and even clothing. So do my wife and kids, so having a “day job” has been (and still is) necessary.

Most of my writing has been adult horror, and I’m not giving that up. But going back fifteen years, I wrote a full-blown historical romance novel (and won an award for it). Before that I wrote the first book of a sword-and-sorcery series I’ve been revising off and on for years. I’ve outlined three or four western novels I hope to write someday, and have a dark mainstream novella waiting to be expanded that has no supernatural elements whatsoever. If I could come up with a story to match David Copperfield you better believe I’d write that, too.

I stand by everything I’ve written, published or not. I believed in it then and I believe in it now. Selling out would be NOT writing what I want simply to remain in the pigeonhole you’ve put me in.

2 responses to “Thoughts on Becoming a YA Author, Part 2”

  1. Sold out? It’s not like book genres are as important as music genres. lol If selling out is doing what you want to do and getting compensated for it, then Honey, you should have sold out a long, long time ago.

  2. Michelle Pearsall Avatar
    Michelle Pearsall

    Good for you Steve. I don’t think you sold out at all. YA is just as good as adult books, and anymore I find myself drawn to many series in the YA market. It also helps that several of the adult authors I read have crossed over into YA and I love both. No one can knock a person down for doing something they love and getting paid really well for it. I can’t wait to read the story and I’m happy you have finally gotten a nice contract.

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