I read most everything, and always have. When I was a kid, the town librarian kept quizzing me on the words in the thick biographies and histories I was checking out. I’d read a few pages, she’d purse her lips and allow me to check out whatever books I wanted.
Recently, I got feedback that my book, Humanity, may be in the wrong section. It’s not really young-adult because the main character is only 12. It’s not MG, because the character really goes through some traumatic stuff in the beginning. Including, and this is the big issue, being told and made to believe that he was being sold into some form of sexual slavery. The bad guy was attempting to crush young Edgar’s spirit in the worst way he knew how.
It doesn’t matter that there’s no actual sexual stuff, so I’m told. It’s heavily implied/spoken of in the sample. Parents and teens read that section and decide that it’s not for them because that’s ‘icky’. (not my word…but many others) Kids want to read about older characters than them, I’m told.
All that is to say this. I was different and my stubborn middle-aged mind keeps expecting to find readers of all ages that were more like me. Little David read VC Andrews alongside Nancy Drew. Bobbsey Twins the same weekend as Christine by Stephen King. I was reading Toland’s Hitler bio the same time I was reading a Disney bio of Teddy Roosevelt. I don’t want to think I was so unique, but how do I find the readers who were like me?