Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Twilight for Middle-Grade Boys

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.


Rebecca Talley said...

Good luck!! I hope you attain your goal. Sounds like a fun book.

mi said...

good luck, darvell!

Keith Fisher said...

Great post. Good luck with the book. the book sounds great.

I'd be careful about comparing it to twighlight, Even though its not about vampires, agents might think its another Vampire book and turn it away before they read waht ists really about. I understand Vampires are out.

Darvell Hunt said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody.

Keith, I'm not comparing my book to Twilight in queries or pitches.

The reason I compared it to Twilight HERE is because I think middle-grade boys NEED something to get them excited about reading, the way Twilight did for girls.

Note that I said it was like Twilight, but remove the romance and teenage angst and vampires--well, take those from Twilight, and you have nothing left. LOL.

It was my (apparently) unsuccessful attempt to say that I want to try help middle-grade boys get excited about reading.

Over the past couple of weeks, my sister, who teaches fifth grade, is reading my book aloud to her class, as sort of a focus-group testing experiment. She's almost done with it and the kids really seem excited about it. She says her kids have even been talking about the book to family at home.

I like that, because that's one of the goals I've made for this piece. SO, I guess we'll see if I actually achieve my plans with this book, but so far things look good.

Thanks, all.


Keith Fisher said...

Okay. Sorry. I got the point.

Anna Maria Junus said...

Good luck Darvel!

Darvell Hunt said...

Thanks, Anna. So good to hear from you again!