Sometimes it's hard to choose the correct age group for a book.
I recently re-released my series, The Hero Chronicles, as YA fantasy. However, I had been debating whether it might be better to label it "middle grade," and the consensus from reviewers has made me finally make that switch.
Getting poor reviews always sucks; however, it's often a means for an author to grow as well. I recently sent out a number of e-copies to Goodreads reviewers. Some loved the series. Others really didn't like the first book; most of these liked the rest of the series well enough, but a few didn't.
I've come to the conclusion that the reason some of my readers really didn't like the books was because they were expecting one thing and received another. From their reviews and talking to them, I've decided to call the series "middle grade" instead, to better target the correct readers.
I read an article that talks about the differences between YA and middle grade:
The article did help greatly. It was still a hard call for me, as an author, but thankfully, that's where readers come in handy. The books' quirky humor, deep focus on friendship and inner growth, its more light-hearted dating relationships, short page lengths, fast pace, and their sometimes fairy-tale feel just make them a better fit for middle grade, despite the outside trials the characters have to deal with, the fact they are in their early teens instead of being tweens or younger, and the fact that themes like death are touched upon.
So, there you have it. Sometimes, the cookie just doesn't seem to crumble in the author's favor. I had honestly never had such a negative response from that number of reviewers; however, I've chosen to embrace it as a learning experience, and hopefully I've left my readers left confused.
If you're like me and you still can enjoy the world of fairy-tales, magic, middle grade humor in all its weirdness, coupled with an intriguing story and characters you're not soon to forget, The Hero Chronicles may be for you. Otherwise, feel free to checkout some of my true YA works such as Bloodmaiden. One of my reviewers, Lacey Lane, wasn't so keen on The Hero Chronicles but loved Bloodmaiden enough to give it five stars. Kudos to her for sticking out reading all those books.
As it is with many things, so it is with readers. The trick is attracting the right readers to the right book. To each his own.