“TWEEN” Books – Are They A Thing?
There is no Amazon category for them.
Barnes & Noble doesn’t have a shelf for them.
Is there really such a thing as a “tween” book?
If you’re eleven, and a reader, you have two choices of reading material. You could mosey on over to the Middle Grade section, which contains books for ages 8 through 12. But the Middle Grade section is, without question, a part of the “Children’s” section of the bookstore. And you’re not a little kid anymore. The books here are ok, but you can finish them now in like a day or less and some of them are starting to sound kind of baby-ish to you. More like the stuff your nine-year-old little sister would like.
Your next choice? The Young Adult section. Usually on the outskirts of the Children’s section, this is decidedly the more “adult” option – but is it too adult? At eleven, you like romantic tales but the racey, physical romances in many young adult books aren’t really your thing, just yet. Besides, your mom would kill you if she found something like that in your room.
So what’s a tween to do?
The problem lies in the broad age ranges encompassed by both the Middle Grade and the Young Adult categories. Middle Grade imagines that an eight year old and a twelve year old could share a reading list, while Young Adult believes that a sixth grader and a college freshman enjoy the same books. Obviously this is fiction (pardon the pun). There is a hidden category here – the kids who have just outgrown Middle Grade but who aren’t quite ready for full-on “young adult” fare.
These are the “tweens.” They fall somewhere in the range of 8 to 14 years of age, depending on who you ask. And despite much talk of the lucrative “tween market” and their reported $43 billion in annual spending power, traditional publishing has yet to define a category just for them. (see HERE for a discussion of tween buying power, but also see HERE, noting that tweens lack the independent purchasing power of teens).
This oversight by the major publishing houses may have created a golden opportunity for the indies.
My friend (and fellow Indelible), S.R. Johannes, is embarking on a tween marketing experiment. Her question: is there an ebook market for tweens? (Specifically, she wants to know: are tweens online and do they have ereaders? See her BLOG POST for more).
To find the answer, Johannes is releasing On The Bright Side, a tween angel book about fourteen-year-old Gabby, a reluctant guardian angel who is assigned to protect her former frenemy and arch nemesis back on earth. Here is the adorable cover and official “blurb”:
As if the devil’s food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she’s stuck wearing for eternity weren’t bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gates. Here, Skyphones and InnerNets are all the rage. At her first Bright ceremony, G.O.D., the automated assignment system, spits out Angela Black, Gabby’s arch nemesis and longtime fencing rival. As a Bright, Gabby has to protect Angela, her assigned mortal, in order to move up through the training levels of heaven.
Back on earth, Angela starts hitting on Michael, Gabby’s crush and should-have-been boyfriend. Gabby’s pranks to quell the love are harmless at first until the school dance sabotage gets completely out of control. Then, Celestial Sky Agent, Clarence, who happens to have anger management issues of his own, steps into reveal that Angela has big problems, and what she really needs is Gabby’s help. Determined to right her wrong and ease her mother’s grief, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to earth for just one day. But if Gabby’s not careful, her well-meaning mission just might shift the very foundation of Heaven, Earth, and every place in between, causing the danger of the dark side to roam free.
On The Bright Side is set for release on January 31, 2012.
I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book and let me tell you, it rocks!! It’s cute and funny, but also touching. It I were a tween, this one would definitely be on my list!
I can’t wait to see what happens with this book. The idea that there may be a yet-undiscovered tween ebook market out there is enticing – three cheers to S.R. Johannes for blazing the trail!
Click here for a sneak peek at the first two chapters.
Click here for On The Bright Side’s Goodreads Page
To follow S.R. Johannes’s tween marketing journey:
Check out her BLOG!
Follow her on TWITTER!
Check her out on FACEBOOK!