Thursday, 10 February 2011

Transient Readers Anne Cassidy



No, don’t panic. This isn’t a new kind of E Reader.

It’s a term I’m using to discuss the teenagers who I write for. I’ve been writing teenage fiction for over twenty years. The teenagers who read my first book BIG GIRLS’ SHOES (were there any?) are now in their early thirties. The teenagers who will read my new book HEART BURN, will, in three or four years time, leave Young Adult Fiction behind and drift towards adult books.

In other words, every four or five years I loose my readers to adult fiction. I’m constantly having to win new readers over to my books.

My most well known book LOOKING FOR JJ was read by many teenagers. Now though, when I visit schools and talk to year seven or eight (or even nine) I cannot assume that they are aware of this book or any other of my books. My reputation as a writer of teen fiction has faded as every one of my readers move into year ten/eleven/sixth form.

“Anne Cassidy? Who’s she?” So says some sweet little year seven.

I have to START AGAIN and persuade them that my books are worth a try.

This doesn’t happen in the world of adult fiction. I love many writers and will read everything they write over a lifetime. The fact that Anne Tyler is twenty years older than when I first read her doesn’t matter to me. Once a writer had made his or her way onto my ‘favourites’ list they will always be there.

I won’t grow out of them.

Unlike my readers, who will shrug off my books like a pair of sparkly jeans that belong to their younger selves.

10 comments:

Leslie Wilson said...

yes, but on the other hand, there are always plenty of new readers to discover us, Anne.
What an amazing book Looking for JJ is. Should live on forever!

adele said...

Aah, but books read in the teenage years lodge in the mind forever if we love them in a way that most adult novels simply don't. So those teens who DO love you will carry that love forward with them, if you see what I mean. Though it is true that a new lot of readers is coming up all the time. Which makes certain books being put out of print so early a very silly decision. As though we're saying to each successive generation of young adults: read only the latest. Not the goodies from a couple of years ago. Exhausting and mad. A whole generation will be growing up ignorant of Jan Mark, K.M Peyton, and lots and lots of others. A shame. Maybe now that you can get things on Kindle, nothing need ever go out of print again. I wish!

John Dougherty said...

Some of your readers will keep those sparkly jeans in the back of the wardrobe and slip them on from time to time to remind themselves of their youth.

Nicky said...

I agree with Adele - nothing I've read as an adult has matched the power of the books I read as I child. Those books have become part of me. Although that has no impact on sales, it is not an insignificant thing.

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

I think that if your readers truly love your books they won't stop reading them, even when they're seen as an "adult". Just because someone gets out of their teens doesn't mean all of a sudden they're mature and wanting to read adult books!

Penny Dolan said...

And (long term thought) there's always the point when they'll pick up their mum's old copy . . .

Leila said...

Yes, your readers will pass on their favourite books to their children. Your name shall live forever! :)

eleanorpatrick said...

Absolutely agree that they will remember what they once loved. Look how some of us can remember each Redwall book as soon as Brian Jacques' death was announced. Perhaps when they're grown up they will get your latest book for their own kids.

Jan Markley said...

The good thing is you have a whole new batch of readers every year.

Anonymous said...

hey i really like ur books (read most of them). u came to my school rushcroft sports college. can u use my name in ur new book? plz, my name is verda dar. thnx