Thursday, March 14, 2013

Boy or Girl Book? Word from the street...

When I started writing the Double Vision series, the goal was clear: these were going to be books for boys. The middle-grade category was (and arguably still is, maybe) a little skinny on boy-friendly reading material, so I was excited to get writing. Linc, the main character, is a cool dude who boys would love.

Fast-forward to launch time. I couldn't wait to start telling everyone and their mother about the book. "It's a funny, fast-paced book for reluctant boy readers," I would proudly proclaim. I had been waiting for this day foreeeever. I knew my marketing pitch, thank you very much.

Then a funny thing happened. At signings, and when talking to kids or getting fan email (coolest thing ever), I realized that Linc has as many girl fans as boy fans. Kids liked how funny the book is, and girls couldn't care less what marketing plan was behind it. They just like the book.

And when I looked at our bookshelf at home, where my tween daughters stack their reading material, I saw this gender indifference reflected. Sure, we have the Dork Diaries and other pink-cover books. But right next to it? Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid.

Now, my marketing pitch wasn't entirely off--and the talented folk at Harper, my publisher, got it right too. When I sit at the signing table at the bookstore, the cover always makes boys come over to check it out. And girls, too. So Double Vision is a boy book. And a girl book too.

Today, when I meet parents, teachers, librarians and kids at events, I tell them "It's a funny, fast-paced book." Readers are readers, right?

What do you think, Sleuths? Is this boy/girl book business just nonsense?

Are boys just a tougher audience?


  1. I think girls/women have more flexibility with what they read or watch. It's become okay for us to read from every shelf in the bookstore.

    FYI, my 8-year-old niece will receive Double Vision for Christmas this year. And she's gonna love it. She's a big fan of Burn Notice and has a wicked sense of humor. Should be a great fit.

  2. You're right--we're easier to convince. And I'm hearing from teachers and librarians that they have a hard time finding books for girls that are not so girly...

    Hope your niece likes it!

  3. Interesting question, Fleur. In spite of its hundreds of assorted characters, primary and secondary, the Harry Potter series is both a boy-and-girl book and by that I mean Harry Potter and Hermoine Granger and I am not even thinking of Ron Weasley. Not many realise that the books are more about Harry and Hermoine than anyone else. I am okay with either a boy or girl book though, as a teenager, I found the Hardy Boys more interesting than Nancy Drew and my preference had nothing to do with one being about boys and the other about a lone girl sleuth.

  4. Harry Potter is a good example of a book that appeals to both boys and girls. I think you bring up a good point: it's all about that connection with the characters. Little else matters.

  5. For me I believe a good story will touch both boy and girl. Probably in different ways but still. :)


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