No, this isn’t my usual type of subject. Today, I was out Christmas shopping for my niece and nephew. My nephew is an avid reader, and is interested in adventure, especially anything that involves aircraft. He’s 14.
While browsing through the “teen” shelves at Barnes & Noble, I found virtually nothing suitable for boys. Almost every book had a female protagonist, and if they featured a boy at all, the story was a romance. What 14-year-old boy wants to read a romance?
So, my next stop was the teen fantasy and adventure section. (I discounted teen paranormal romance out of hand.) What did I find? More girls. Just a couple of series that featured boys. Still probably 90% aimed at girls, most by female writers. (Harry Potter was in the 12 and under section.)
They say that boys don’t read. Well, I’m pretty sure this explains why. There is nothing for them to read. It is a classic chicken and egg phenomenon. If you don’t give boys books that interest them, they won’t read. Writers don’t write for boys because they don’t read.
Writers and publishers, get your acts together. This is an untapped market. Harry Potter proved that boys will read, and if the books are good, girls will read them, too. Male writers, it is time to write some teen/YA fiction.