Guest Post: Megan O’Russell – YA in an Adult World

ImageI’d like to introduce Megan O’Russell, a Young Adult author and my very first guest contributor Happy Musings!  Megan has written a wonderful piece on publishing YA with a very adult publishing company.

YA in an Adult World

I write Young Adult fiction.  My first book The Tethering is set to release this May, and I am so excited!  I have great editors at Entranced Publishing and wonderful people to back me up in the cold cruel world of books.  But I feel like the black sheep of Entranced.  Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because I am a part of the Young Adult imprint at the big sexy romance publishing house.  Entranced has a YA imprint called Rush, but most of the books Entranced puts out are of the much more adult and dirty nature.

We have twitter chats where they talk about their steamy love scenes, and I’m worried about my poor characters sneaking out the window.  I can’t participate in their cover reveals because the covers are almost naked!  And the book blurbs are things my readers are not ready for!

I want my characters to have grownup lives.  I want them to live and discover and grow as real teenagers.  But I feel awkward being excited about their first kiss when my fellow Entranced authors are playing with bondage.  In a group where Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t seem all that dirty, can a story about first love hold its ground?

I would like to think so.  Not just because I want my book to succeed.  Not even just because it’s a different genre with a different target audience.  The sweetness, tenderness, and devotion of first love are things that we all have experienced right along with our first heartbreak.  The thrill of the first kiss is just as exciting as dirty things on a bear skin rug.

I mean sure, if you want to throw a little excitement into a YA book, just toss in a bit of non-sexual torture.  Maybe catch a few people on fire.  Dress someone in leather.  But do it all in a PG-13, teen romance friendly way.

I want to branch out, maybe write something a little more risqué for an adult audience.  But until The Tethering series is complete, I will exist in a world of (mostly) clothed, non-cursing, behind closed doors, teenaged angst.  Who knows, maybe my hero will even make it to second base.

About Megan

Megan O’Russell is a Young Adult author whose premier novel The Tethering will be released by Entranced Publishing this May.  Megan’s author blog can be found at MeganORussell.com, and her humor blog is at lifebeyondexaggeration.com.  For more news on The Tethering, follow her on twitter @MeganORussell.


Font Size Matters


Font size matters to me on a weird, emotional, subconscious level.  Really it does.  When my words are smaller, like 10pt or 11pt or something, I like them better, I take them more seriously, find them more beautiful and think they are more clever than they probably are.

I really don’t know why this is and I never really thought about it before, but today I was writing a story and I wasn’t 100% feeling it so I tried to make the font size smaller and viola, I was in love.

I just did it while I was writing this blog post too, I reduced the size two points and all of a sudden I felt like I was saying something more important.

I wonder if this is unusual?

I just did a cursory and completely not thorough search on ‘the psychological effects of font size’ and found an abstract for a study that suggests negative responses to written words start earlier and last longer for larger fonts (assuming I’m interpreting the abstract correctly).  But other than that it’s mostly hits for the effects of different kinds of fonts, not size.

So what is it about the size that matters?

Well I guess a good question would be: who reads books with bigger fonts?  Answer: children!

It makes sense in a way, children’s books have these big, cartoonish fonts.  Tween and young adult books have pretty big fonts too.  Then we get to adult stuff and the size seems to matter there too.  Have you ever picked up one of those densely packed ‘cerebral’ novels where the font size is minuscule and the words just seem packed onto the page?  Those kinds of books always seem super intimidating to me, but at the same time super important.  Like if I conquer those thick, unbroken paragraphs I really must be smart.  I’m willing to bet Harlequin romance novels or commercial fiction don’t use that tiny font size because they want their fiction to seem more accessible.

It always shocks and amazes me how many things we subconsciously perceive and use to navigate the world and form opinions.  I wouldn’t even have noticed my odd respect for smaller font size if it wasn’t for my own observations while writing.

So is this a thing publishers know about and use to their advantage?  Does font size really play a part in the perceived intellectual value of a book?  I’m willing to bet it does.  I really think font size matters.

If you haven’t noticed how you feel about font size try it now with a story you’ve already written then tell me your thoughts and emotional responses to font size.