Guest post: How do we get LGBTQ YA books to their intended audience?

Hi everyone! This is F.T. Lukens – author of the young adult sci-fi novel The Star Host. Jay has so graciously turned over her blog to me for a quick post.

Yes, a YA author is writing a post on the blog run by Jay Northcote – a person who writes scenes so hot they can melt a kindle screen.

I know! Bizarre isn’t it?

But I’m here to talk about something pretty important to our lovely community.

Readership.

It’s a subject I’m learning more about as I try to find the readers for a Young Adult Sci-Fi novel with a bisexual protagonist and his boyfriend.

For a bunch of you, I’m sure you’ve seen the title of my book around already. I’ve been featured on Diverse Reader, Prism Book Alliance, MM Good Books etc. And while these are AMAZING blogs and very important to our community – are they the best blogs for a young adult sci-fi novel?

I don’t know. Yes, in some ways – obviously. Exposure is great. The folks who run those blogs are awesome and always supportive. And I know a ton of adults who read in the young adult genre. So in terms of reaching that part of my audience – those places are great.

But being featured ONLY on the places we normally market in our community isn’t going to get my work into the hands of the LGBTQ teens that it’s written for. And yes, it is written for those kids.

I wrote the novel because I firmly believe that anyone should be able to pick up a story and find themselves represented. I loved reading sci-fi as a teen and as an adult. I love stories set in space and stories set on planets and stories about teens with special powers. The problem is that in the majority of these stories – diversity is hard to come by. It’s definitely getting better. But it’s still woefully inadequate, in my humble opinion. So I gave a bisexual teenager an adventure and he has a little romance along the way. He’s the hero of the story. He kisses the boy. He isn’t the sidekick.

But don’t get me wrong either – I am a writer, not a saint. My goal here is to sell books so I can keep writing books. I want to make money for my publisher so that more books featuring LGBTQ characters can be produced, which is a need.

Also, keep in mind, that being an Indie author makes some of the young adult avenues hard to break into. Those are reserved for traditionally published works. Which is another kettle of fish to get into at a later date.

So how do I get this story to the other part of my audience?

So after some thought – all I came up with is y’all. Our own community.

Young adult sci-fi may not be your bag. But it might be something your niece or nephew might enjoy. Or your own child. Does someone have a birthday coming up? What about donating it to your local library?

And I’m not talking about my own book here anymore. There are several indie pubs that are branching into YA. Dreamspinner has Harmony Ink. Interlude (who is the publisher for my novel) has Duet. And there are others. And the more we support these publishers, the more books we’ll see, and the more diversity will be out there in the world.

My point here is – and yes, it took some thought to get here – is that there are great young adult works being written that feature LGBTQ teens, usually through Independent publishers. And if we want those works to continue being written, we need to get them to their audience.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this matter. Am I way off base? Am I spot on? Any suggestions for me?

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Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts – a mythical group of people possessed by the power of the stars. The stories were the most exciting part of Ren’s life, and he often dreamed about leaving his backwater planet and finding his place among the neighboring drifts. When Ren is captured by soldiers and taken from his home, he must remain inconspicuous while plotting his escape. It’s a challenge since the general of the Baron’s army is convinced Ren is something out of one of his mother’s stories.

Ren finds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher. A member of the Phoenix Corps, Asher is mysterious, charming, and exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his sudden technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Ren doesn’t mean to become attached, but after a daring escape, a trek across the planet, and an eventful ride on a merchant ship, Asher is the only thing that reminds Ren of home. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power, and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.

Buy Links

Interlude – http://store.interludepress.com/collections/ebooks/products/the-star-host-by-f-t-lukens-ebook-edition

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Star-Host-F-T-Lukens/dp/1941530729

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-star-host-ft-lukens/1122958972?ean=9781941530726

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/593341

ARe – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thestarhost-1980076-153.html

Contact

Twitter – @ftlukens

Email – ftlukens@gmail.com

Facebook – FTLukens

 

 

 

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About Jay Northcote

Author of LGBT romance. Trans (he/him), Parent, cat herder, professional procrastinator.
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2 Responses to Guest post: How do we get LGBTQ YA books to their intended audience?

  1. lennanadams says:

    I just bought it for my 13 yr old (and me – YA Sci Fi is a very fave of mine). I do think this is (one of the) right places to promote your book – lots of m/m romance readers are moms of teens. I have a shelf on GR for LGBT books that are OK for teens to read, and I offer them to my kids alongside the non- LGBT books they hear about from friends, etc. – just trying to even up their exposure a little.
    Another idea for exposure is to donate books to some of the LGBT youth centers, or better to get other people to do that for you! I just donated a book to the Raleigh LGBT youth center from their wishlist (as a response to a plea from an m/m author re: the bathroom law thing) and just noticed on the website of the local LGBT youth center that I support that they have an Amazon wishlist, too (http://rosmy.org/). *shrug*???

  2. Sadonna says:

    Excellent post and a good question. Have you been in touch with Kaje Harper who runs the YA group on Goodreads? She might have some ideas on YA blogs or other avenues for promoting YA books to the YA audience. I have to admit that I don’t read much YA these days so I’m not terribly aware of those sites that promote LGBTQ YA content. One thing I know they come up against in that group is the fact that many times this readership is quite limited on funds to purchase books and there are always the issues of libraries not carrying much in the way of LGBTQ literature at all – YA or not – and the ability/comfort level of young people getting books from the local library also. I know my library selection is pretty sparse 😦 Maybe one or two David Levithan books and that’s it. I live in NW Indiana where it’s not always the best environment for young LGBTQ adults, but the town, the university and the mayor where I live pushed back strongly when that ridiculous “religious freedom” law was signed, so that’s a good sign at least.

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