By Darvell Hunt
Having recently attended the LDStorymakers Conference, my batteries are now charged up and I’m ready to go. I feel a bit like the Energizer bunny! I’ve set some new goals, some of which are rather lofty.
This year, I plan get my current work in progress accepted. I describe this way: It’s Twilight for middle-grade boys, but I throw out the romance and the pining teenage angst and change the vampires into aliens who aren’t hiding in seclusion, but are actively seeking to change the “normal” people of the world into aliens.
While you may think I’m kidding, I’m really not—not entirely, anyway. My goal is to get this book in the hands of young boys and actually get them reading—something that many boys of this age don’t normally do. And, built into the storyline, is a viral marketing gimmick that will prompt boys to want to share the story with their friends.
Now, I’m not comparing my book to Twilight because I want to ride on the coat tails of Stephanie Meyer (well, okay, maybe I do a little!). I believe Twilight got many teenage girls (and wives and moms, too!) either back into reading, or to seriously consider reading above the other distractions of today’s world. I want to do that same sort of thing for middle-grade boys. I honestly think my book can do that.
And, of course, I don’t want to alienate middle-grade girls either, so, the book was written so girls should enjoy it as much as the boys would. But, it doesn’t stop there. It’s a known fact that a large portion of the readers of the young adult market are adults. Wouldn’t it be great if parents could actually enjoy reading the same books as their young kids in fifth, sixth, or seventh grades?
Now, I may know what you’re thinking—if you make your audience too broad, none of them will really enjoy reading it. That’s a valid point. I’ve designed my book for middle-grade readers, but I also tried to make it appealing to adult readers as well. Who wouldn’t want to read about aliens acting like Mormon missionaries who want to convert the whole world? (And, curiously enough, once you have read the book, you may become an alien yourself, if you’re not careful!)
After I get my book deal and you can go down to your local bookstore and buy a copy, maybe you’ll be able to tell me how I did with my new goals. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to get my book on that shelf so it's actually available—and not only that shelf, but shelves around world.