A little off the mark

Today starts Children's Book Week, and Chicken Spaghetti mentioned the authors vying for Favorite Author Status: Jeff Kinney, J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz and Erin Hunter. Don't get me wrong - these are good authors, solid favorite writers at MPOW. However, at MPOW, the students that read these authors would be a little miffed at being called "children". Why? Because they're in Middle School. "Children" are in Lower School, attended to every minute of the school day. They're older now, more mature, more responsible. No, they're not quite ready for Teen Read Week, but this is a bit below them, title-wise.

Another favorite author in the Middle School is Cecily von Ziegesar. Who? She's Gossip Girl. Now, I've seen Ms. von Ziegesar talk about her books, and she says she's writing about her days in Upper School and the things her friends (not she!) got up to; these books are written for the Grade 9+ crowd. Except... I've never seen or heard someone in 9th grade read or ask for GG or the Clique books or A-List or any of the other derivatives. I am constantly pestered by my Grade 5-7 girls to get them for the collection. It's a little like when I was 11ish and reading Teen magazine, and then I was 13/14 and reading Seventeen, and 15+ reading Cosmo: people want to read about "what life will be like when I'm --- age" rather than "what life is like now".

Finally, Dorothea Salo wrote a book about Fantasy Authors. She says
This book is what you buy if you have K-12 (or maybe even undergraduate) students who would like to write book reports on an author they might, you know, actually like. There are also some readers-advisory bits that I think came out pretty well (and I say this having opposed some of them pretty strenuously at the time): if-you-liked pullouts on some authors and subgenre listings in back. It’s a pretty good mix of authors if I do say so myself; we pulled off a couple of fairly daring tricks, such as including three or four graphic-novel authors as well as several YA authors, and openly acknowledging the female half of male-female writing partnerships. (Yes, I know, the latter shouldn’t be daring, but find me another reference book that does it properly, I dare you.)
Wonderful, great! But... the cover. It's got a flying white horse. None of my boys would want to have that book in their hot, sweaty hands. It's too "girly" - give 'em trolls or an orc or even a wizardy looking guy, please.

My problem with all three is that they're great ideas/books/concepts, but the marketing is just, well, a little off the mark.

1 comment:

Dorothea said...

I HATE THAT COVER. I had no input into it whatever, and when I saw it, I was appalled, for exactly the same reasons you are.