YA Dystopian Book Survey 2018 – Reader opinions matter

YA Dystopian book survey – Your opinions matter

Most of you will know me as a YA paranormal author. However, I’ve recently been expanding my genre interests and am now in the process of putting together a YA Dystopian novel. I love reading books set in dystopian worlds; the first book I picked up was Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Disturbing and brilliant, it hooked me with its injustice, and surprised me with its bleak yet believable new world.

Later, I picked up on YA dystopia. I read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins; emotional and evocative, this book made an impression on our generation as it was made into a massive Hollywood movie series and the books are still talked about today. We’ve since had lots more books that are as rich in political subtext and teen angst, all taking different views of how wrong our future could be.

As an author I seek out and devour reader reviews, they give me guidance as to whether I’m hitting the mark with my audience if I’m writing something that excites and entertains while highlighting an underlying positive message. With this in mind, I’m looking for YA Dystopia readers to spend a few minutes of their time to fill out a short questionnaire about what they like to read. There’s no personal data collection; I do not want your name, age or even email address, just your opinions. Your opinions as a reader matter, that’s why book reviews are so critical.

If you have a few moments, please click here to be taken to the Google Form and share your honest opinions on the YA Dystopia you would want to read. Also feel free to post more specific comments below.

Thank you.

Nicky Peacock

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10 Benefits of an eBook

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10 Benefits of an eBook.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good list – so let’s look at the benefits of eBooks from both a writer, and a readers’ perspective.

For Readers:

1)      Font: you can alter most readers to make the font easier to read – this is perfect for people with vision problems and children who read better in larger fonts. New readers now also come with adjustable back lights too, so you can read anywhere, any time.

2)      You’re desperate to read that book, all your friends are talking about it – well with an eBook version you can download it instantly. No waiting for the post to come, or searching through library and bookshop shelves. You want it, by heck – you can have it right now! You can download an eBook any time you want – if you’re hankering for a zombies vs vampires undead-appaloosa at one in the morning – you could even download my novel Bad Blood!

3)      They’re usually cheaper that print versions – so you can save quite a sum of money in the long run to spend on, you guessed it, more books! Some of the classics are even available for free, along with other taster books and promotional short stories.

4)      Lighter to carry round than a book. Have eBook reader, will travel. Slip it in your bag and never again have a bored moment: waiting for a bus, for your friend to finish her make-up, or if you’re alone and enjoying a nice frothy fresh cup of coffee in an over-stuffed fake leather sofa in your local coffee joint; just remember to regularly charge your e-Reader!

5)      No more crammed bookcases. I don’t know about you, but my book shelves are dangerously piled high – like some bizarre literature Cirque-de-Soleil act. I love reading books, but I also love buying them and buying them takes less time! With eBooks, you can electronically store as many books as you like, without endangering your safety with a possible book avalanche.

For Writers:

1)      Royalties are higher on eBooks, as production costs are lower. Although, there is still that satisfying rush involved with seeing your work in print, the bottom line is that you’ll earn more from eBook sales.

2)      Production time is less, which means you can produce more work in the year than if you were printing – thus starting the royalty gravy train rolling sooner, rather than later.

3)      You’ll never be out of print. eBooks are always available and not tied to being printed in batches – if your work doesn’t date too much, it’ll be in circulation much longer.

4)      New e-Readers such as the Kindle Fire also include the front cover along with the text, this keeps your wonderfully designed book cover along with your work and is much more aesthetically pleasing to your reader and easily identifiable for you and your publishers branding.

5)      You can add in bonus content for your readers – maybe the playlist you listened to whilst writing, extra character information links, instant access to your website or Amazon author page so they can buy more of your splendid works. The possibilities are fantastically endless and will be consistently evolving.

Now, I’m not an ‘eBooks are the only way’ kind of girl, I’m still in love with paperbacks and hardbacks too – its a hard habit to break, but I must admit that eBooks are becoming pretty attractive. In my humble opinion, can’t they exist side by side, helping one another? To me, the written word is magical – no matter what format it takes.

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YA vs Adult

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Writing for the puppy, not the wolf.

Writing for both YA and adult markets, I’ve discovered the line between these two target audiences is very slim indeed. YA is typically about 13 years and above, and as sad as it is, teenagers seem to grow up much faster nowadays. Gone are the days of Enid Blyton and Narnia, these wholesome books are now only taken up by a much younger audience than they were originally written for. The generations behind us are still avid readers, but you need to appeal to the modern youth adult which has not only moved on, but is consistently evolving their tastes.

So, what are the rules and differences between the two? I’ve put together the sum of my knowledge on this below. I’m sure there’s more to it than I’m putting down here, but to get you started, here’s my opinions:

Talking down:

Your work should not talk down to your YA reader. I would never sugar coat my plot or characters for a younger readership. Subjects such as: drugs, sex, violence and horror, should be confronted, but not glamorized or endorsed – remember your responsibility to your reader. Also its good to remember that most YA readers like to read about characters who are older than them – so typically your characters should be late teens/early twenties.

 Let’s talk about sex:

Your YA audience will be more than aware of sex. God forbid, some might even be having it already. However you should always leave your YA reader at the bedroom door. It would be boring and unrealistic to not have it at least mentioned between characters in your story, however there should be no graphic descriptions and certainly nothing kinky going on; these guys are just getting their heads round vanilla, let’s not introduce them to whole ice cream menu so soon.

 Horror:

I always love the warnings on movies that say ‘Contains mild peril’ – I mean, really? How do you measure peril? It’s the scary things that people love – young and old. And it’s always the most imaginative and well written horror that stays with you once you turn off that TV, or put down that book. Dr Who is designed and aired specially for a young audience, but can be quite scary (even for adults) Those Weeping Angels were a particularly gruesome concept that made me look at statues in a whole new light! Dracula and Frankenstein are now taught in school and some of the most popular YA books are packed with supernatural creatures, deadly deeds, and peril-a-plenty. So desensitizing your work could be a big mistake. I’d recommend writing your YA story to your own boundaries then letting your publisher/ editor lead you to tone down, or crank up, where appropriate.

 The Super – Supernatural:

One word: Twilight. It certainly wasn’t an original book or a pioneer in the industry, but it did appeal to a massive market and got a huge amount of teenagers reading again. I personally didn’t mind the books, Stephanie Meyer can certainly spin a good yarn and although her main character was a bit wet to begin with, she came good in the end. It re-vamped vampires and made werewolves hot – in simple terms it reignited people’s interest in the supernatural and carved a path for other authors to follow suit. The supernatural has never been so popular with both YA and adult audiences and really, anything goes here in terms of horror and sweet romance.

 The Series:

YA audiences read quickly and can get addicted to good characters, so bare this in mind when writing your novel. Either leave it open so you can pick it up again in a second book or have a series in mind when you’re writing it. A note of caution here though…when writing a series don’t hold back action or information for an explosive finale – if your first books are boring, you’ll never get to show off that great ending. Make sure that each book has a main story line that can end, but a consistent story arc that can carry on. This keeps your readers engaged and desperate for the next one. It also means there is a definitive ending for each book, rather than just letting it go on and on – something I particularly hate as a reader!

What’s your favourite YA book series and why?