Future Horizons: Teens and Publishing

by Dawn Frederick

Right now I’m very excited about the 2012 happenings in my own literary/ publishing world. The mad dash begins in January – and I’m assuming the pace will be as equally interactive when 2012 rounds out.

To those who are saying “Hey it’s still 2011!?!” – I understand. Yet, in the world of publishing, one needs to think outside the present. Especially when determining when to take a book idea to publishers (who are usually buying books 1-2 years before they’re published), and being able to juggle the busy admin duties of “the sofa” during that time.

One of the newest additions to my calendar is teaching a class at the The Loft Literary Center next April. Instead of being a class intended for adults, it’ll be a class for older teenagers. The class will cover the business of publishing, as there’s an entirely new generation of aspiring writers. Many who  grew up reading Harry Potter, Twilight, Diary of Wimpy Kid and more. They are avid readers, know technology (better than most adults it seems), and already bring a discerning taste on what they want to read. . . or write.

Going back to the reference of bringing a forward thinking mind to publishing – this new generation is already preparing to enter our literary world. Do you hear me everyone? These smart young adults are getting ready to navigate the figurative publishing waters.

Several reasons why this is awesome:  Many teens are tech savvy. They also grew up in a time when the Young Adult sections doubled, sometimes even quadrupled, in titles offered. Plus, it’s normal for many teens to be running their own websites; some are already successful at it. (Do I even to start dropping names here?) And last but not least, these up and coming pre-adults are ready to learn how the cogs of publishing turn – ultimately hoping to  learn how a book is published, how it reaches readers, and how to successfully & skillfully put an idea on paper.

Yes, timing is everything. And right now the time is to give the teens a chance to learn how and why book publishing thrives. My theory is that this time/value investment will result in a larger segment of readers and more books sold,  as well as additional proof that publishing will never die – especially to some of the naysayers who believe such a myth.

Yes, I’m excited. But really my main goal is to share the same passion I had as a teenager. Forget zombie contagions. I’m all about the reading and writing contagion.

As Dr. Seuss aptly stated in “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Are those of us in publishing (from any role) ready?   I know I’m excited to see what comes of these future adults.  What about you?