Ep 171 Do young adult books needs to be set in the present day?

podcast-artworkIn this minisode of So you want to be a writer: Do young adult books needs to be set in the present day in order to be marketable? What's the most efficient way of receiving international payments?

Got a question for Val and Al? Ask at podcast [at] writerscentre [dot] com [dot] au

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Shout Out

From Anna:

Alison and Valerie are really personable, informal and candid. Their podcast covers a lot of territory helpful for new writers, from formatting manuscripts (what not to do), thinking about genre, inspring interviews and quotes from established authors, and publishing advice. But most of all, they encourage you to keep going and they remain ever enthusiastic about writing. I was able to send in a question which they responded to with expertise and warmth.

Thanks, Anna!

Listener Questions

Lisa asks:

Hi Al and Val,

I have written a manuscript for a YA romance novel. It is set in a regional town which has a burger joint, a roller skating rink and a footy team. I have set the novel in 1998, and I’m guessing a novel about some teenagers 19 years ago might be difficult to sell. None of the teenagers have mobile phones or even use the internet. 90s fashion and nostalgia is big right now, but does that translate to books?

If I change it up so that the novel has a more contemporary feel and is set in the current day, I’m worried that I will lose a lot of the conflict between the characters who spend time on pay phones calling each other, or avoiding calling each other at home in case a parent answers the phone. A huge part of the novel is about going roller skating on Saturday nights, and I fear this would have to be thrown out too – where I live (in sunny Adelaide), skating is mostly limited to afternoon sessions, and the rinks I grew up skating around have been closed for a long time now.

My question is marketability – would a manuscript about a teenager living in 1998 be marketable or profitable? Should I consider changing a lot of the story to bring it up to current day?

Totally fine if you don’t answer my question, but I also wanted to say I love your podcast and I have learned so much from it in the last few months. Keep up the great work.



Hannah asks:

Hi Val,

A have a quick question. I've just started providing articles to an international publication. What is the best, most cost-effective way, to receive international payments for work? I want to avoid losing too many hard earned dollars in fees!

Thanks. Also, I wanted to let you know, I'm really inspired by your creative dates with yourself. On a less exciting scale, I've been working some days from the library which comes without the distractions of home and always with a nice lunch.

All the best,

Val and Al answer these questions in this minisode. We hope you find this useful!

If you have a question, email us at: podcast [at] writerscentre [dot] com [dot] au


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