Kfir Luzzatto's Blog
A blog about writing life, life in general and random thoughts.
For my Disclosure Policy see "My Other Stuff".
Assigning the correct category to a book may sometimes be a difficult task, particularly when dealing with a cross-genre novel. That has become relatively more difficult since 2009, with the introduction of a new category: New Adult.
According to Wikipedia, "New Adult" targets ages 18 to 30, which to me as a writer makes only that much sense. Although it has been a while since I was 18, I positively know that my perception of the world then was extremely different from that of a 30 years old man. In fact, at 30 I already had kids and was starting to wonder when I would qualify as a "New Old Man".
Kids nowadays grow up faster than when I was a teenager, and back in the 1970's we felt very much adult after our 16th birthday. In fact, I'm pretty sure that we would have resented being shielded from slightly mature material, such as that which now falls under the NA category. I am not talking about pornography, mind you, only about stuff that modern kids can teach their parents and can't help seeing on TV.
That's why when releasing "An Italian Obsession" I was in a quandary; it is a coming of age novel that has episodes that will sound familiar to kids aged 15 to 17, which includes some strong language and situations. The book was first marketed as a Young Adult novel, but a few comments from readers made me change its category to NA, thus possibly driving away many young readers who could have enjoyed it.
The birth of the new NA category was motivated by probably sound marketing reasons, but I wonder whether by embracing it quickly and unconditionally writers have done a disservice to their readers. It is true that you cannot swim against the tide all the time, but perhaps the time has come to debate the pros and cons of it all....
Those who follow this blog know that I am a feminist. As such, I have had occasion to resent certain occurrences of equalitarianism (or misplaced feminism), which rob the gentle sex of well-deserved recognition. One example is the use of the title “Editor”.
An editor is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “someone who edits” (I don't favor Elbert Hubbard’s definition: “A person employed by a newspaper, whose business is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed”, although I need to agree that this is what happens in some newspapers.) An editor can also be “a device used in editing motion-picture films or magnetic tape”, or even “a computer program”.
But when addressing the task of defining “Editress”, Merriam is not reticent and Webster does not deceive his audience. They give the straight stuff to their public. “An Editress”, they state openly and courageously, is “a woman who is an editor”.
The title “Editress” should not be trivialized. It was used by Sarah Josepha Hale, who is not only responsible for talking Abraham Lincoln into establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving in 1863, but more importantly, wrote the "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme. She took pride in the title and used it in her letter to the president.
Try googling the words “she is the editress” (with quotes); that will fetch you 10 unique results and 22,300 similar ones. Now google "she is the editor" and you’ll get 37,400,000 results! As an added insult, Microsoft Words never heard of the word and insists that I replace “editress” with “editors”....