Wednesday, July 01, 2009

School Library Journal & Books For Boys

I saw this article today on School Library Journal.
It's an open letter to publishers from a librarian.

Read paragraph 5. More boy books:

After reading it, I sent the following comment:


Thank you for your Open Letter to Publishers. What caught my eye was the paragraph about the need for more books for boys. That’s because, as a boy, I grew up hating to read. And this was in the home of a father who published more than 70 books.

After surveying the market in 2001, I began writing action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys 8 – 13. I decided to write the kinds of books I would have enjoyed as a child. Even with an agent, we’re having a tough time attracting publishers, in spite of the fact that young readers, their parents, teachers, and librarians have been extremely positive.

So I hope your letter will help to spark interest because I’ve written 35 manuscripts for boys. Seven are published by a small publisher, but I believe there is a vast market if they can get into the mainstream.

My background is in the production of dramatic films for kids, and my blog, Books for Boys, is #1 on Google So I know there is an interest and a need for more books for boys. Kids tell me that reading one of my books is like being in an exciting movie.
Here’s a typical email comment I receive, “Hi, I'm the mom of a 13 year old boy who has a hard time finding books he likes. While browsing the bookstores, I have found so many books that sound like they are right up his alley. The only problem is that almost all the protagonists are girls! How are we supposed to turn our boys on to reading when the main characters are girls? It is well known that girls will read books with boys as main characters, but not the other way around. (Not that I think that's right, just that it is the way it is.)”

Max Elliot Anderson

What are your thoughts about this?
My Books are distributed by Baker & Taylor


Jennifer Samountry said...

So very true! We always have a hard time at the library and cannot find good boy books. My #1 complaint is the protagonists are girls. So good to see I am not the only one.

Margot Finke said...

Max, I am with you on this. My son was a reluctant reader, and it was only when I found boy oriented books for him that he finally began to read. I guess not enough men write for boys!

I have written several adventures for boys, with lots of action and fun, but publishers are not interested. They publish my other books. but not those for boys - and I KNOW 10-12 year old boys would love them. Grrrr!!

Now even librarians are concerned that there are not enough boy type books to HOOK young boys on reading.

Thanks for the plug for my new Blog, HOOK KIDS on READING - I will be working on that for you ASAP.

Margot Finke

max said...

Jennifer, you aren't the only one. I think this is growing and may cause a change in the market before too much longer.

max said...


It might not be too long before you'll want to dust off those books for boys manuscripts. I sense significant movement here. A pendulum can only swing so far in one direction, then it has to start moving back.

Books for boys will be needed again in time.

cmartell said...

I absolutely agree.

I have an 11 year old half-brother who reads, but there really isn't enough books released that appeal to him.

A lot of what is published today, I just don't think are able to compete with other forms of media (comics, television, and games) because they lack the same energy level.

I'm sure there are authors trying to write those kind of stories, but my own experiences with trying to get published makes me wonder if there is resistance against boy-oriented stories on the industry side of things.

I've written a long post about my frustrations and thoughts on my own blog,

max said...


As you know, from commenting on my blog Books for Boys I'm an author of children's books, especially intended for boys.

I would simply caution you, when voicing your opinions on the subject of books for boys, to remember that, like so many markets, the publishing world is relatively small and interconnected in ways you might not have imagined. Voicing your opinions, in an attempt to "change" that world, could do you more harm than good.

If you have good material that will appeal to boys, it will find its place in time. Don't be impatient. Settle in for the long haul. I'm sure you know that, every day, 1,100 new books are published. It takes time for new voices to be heard, and there is always a place for quality.

Max Elliot Anderson

fantasiabooks said...

I really appreciate your work Max..idea of writing books for boys is too good..I hope with your books at least they will start reading..