Basic Rules of YA Novels

Posted by Kristen House on October 27, 2019 at 8:00 PM

As a fiction book editor, I work with a range of topics and subjects, but one thing is usually a constant: most of my author clients choose to self-publish their book. In the self-publishing world, you don't have to follow the norms of genre writing to a fault, but it's recommended to stay within or close to the guidelines.

Some examples of Young Adult (YA) novels I've edited include Bohermore by Jennifer Rose McMahon, Roselynn by Jennifer Lynn Wines, The Foreigner by Maurice Belfonté, The Power Within by Jackie Nelson, and Time Twisted by Kelly McIntire.

Here's what you should aim for if you're writing YA novels:

    • Your target audience should be boys and girls ages 12-18. Do your research—read, read, read other books in this genre. Depending on which subgroup you're writing to (i.e., girls ages 12-15), the tone, style, and content of your book will be very specific.

    • YA books often discuss real-world issues that are affecting that age group, including sex and drugs.


Word count: 40,000 to 75,000


YA subgenres include:

    • romance
    • fantasy
    • historical fiction
    • mystery
    • thriller
    • horror

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing

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