Before John Green, his general category of realistic (non-fantasy) YA was rife with teen angst and “issues” fiction that you might have associated with the legendary Judy Blume, or with newer writers like Sarah Dessen or Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson’s classic 1999 novel Speak, about a high schooler struggling to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault, was so influential that three years later Penguin launched an entire imprint named after it. One of the books launched under the behest of Speak was Green’s Looking for Alaska. But it’s Green whose name you’re more likely to know today, not Anderson’s, although Anderson has won more awards and written more books.
On Twitter, Green has 2 million followers. Compared to the rest of the leaders in Young Adult fiction, that number is staggering. To approach even half the Twitter influence of John Green all by himself, you need an entire army of YA women. Anderson, Blume, Dessen, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, Rainbow Rowell, Maureen Johnson, Malinda Lo, Holly Black, LJ Smith, Ellen Hopkins, Shannon Hale, Lauren Myracle, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and Leigh Bardugo: As a group these women only have about 1.2 million followers on Twitter. That’s the voice of one man outweighing several decades of women who have had major successes, critical acclaim, and cultural influence.”
"Young Adult Publishing and the John Green Effect" (via bookshop)
Lauren Conrad is a young adult author, and has 3.23 million twitter followers.
50 Cent is a young adult author, and has 7.4 million twitter followers, but no one is freaking out about that. For the record, I really liked Playground.
This quote came across my tumblr feed yesterday, and it’s been bothering me so much. It has over 20,000 notes so it probably isn’t new, and clicking through to the article, I learned the original article was published in February. Which has given plenty of authors mentioned time to chime in on their thoughts about this article. So if you click through the links, I think you’ll find all you need to know.
Why is it that it’s people from the “book blogosphere” that are so upset? Can we not be happy that we are talking about books? Can we not be happy that there are so many amazing YA authors out there creating wonderful books? Do we need to create issues out of non-issues?
It isn’t accurate to limit John Green’s audience to only the readers of his books. You can’t separate the vlog brothers / crashcourse / nerdfighter audience from JG’s book audience. Reading through online comments, there are plenty of fans who haven’t read his books yet but want to— similar to how people give five star ratings on GoodReads to books they’ve never read just because they’re excited and want to read it. And that’s wonderful. Green has other platforms with different audiences, and his complete takeover of the NYT best seller list reflects that. People discover John Green online, they discover the nerdfighter community, they decide to read one book, and then all of his books. It snowballs. It’s not fair to compare John or the other authors when his audience and influence comes from so many other places besides his books. I first discovered John Green through his crash course videos, then read TFiOS and worked my way backwards. I would consider Green a community organizer (haaaaaaa) as much as an author.
It’s outrageous to try and give Rainbow Rowell’s book, Eleanor & Park credit to John Green’s review or his blurb about her book. After reading E&P, I needed to read all of Rowell’s other books because she writes such wonderful characters with great dialogue, and I’m patiently waiting for Landline to come out this summer.
I was so mad about this pulled out quote, that I went through and checked the numbers on all the YA authors mentioned in this blurb. I’m not going to list their followers number, because that seems like some weird inaccurate ranking system. But I did discover that Suzanne Collins does not have twitter at all, and I think it’s safe to say that the much larger followers number correlates to a movie or television crossover, which John Green also benefits from. I’ve read books by most of these authors, and some of my favorite YA authors aren’t mentioned here at all. I also checked in on some of my favorite male YA authors to see how their twitter numbers compared.
If you want to change the numbers, read their books, follow them on twitter or other platforms. I’ve included their twitter handles but whatever to actually making sure things link up properly, you know how things work.
Judy Blume @judyblume
Libba Bray @libbabray
Rainbow Rowell @rainbowrowell
Veronica Roth @VeronicaRoth
Cassandra Clare @cassieclare
Laurie Halse Anderson @halseanderson
Holly Black @hollyblack
Sarah Dessen @sarahdessen
Kami Garcia @kamigarcia
Lauren Myracle @LaurenMyracle
Shannon Hale @haleshannon
Ellen Hopkins @ellenhopkinsYA
Richelle Mead @RichelleMead
Margaret Stohl @mstohl
Maureen Johnson @maureenjohnson
Malinda Lo @malindalo
LJ Smith @drujienna
Melissa Marr @melissa_marr
Leigh Bardugo @lbardugo
Here are some of other female YA authors that failed to get mentioned in this article, including my favorite, Margo Lanagan. Find them online, find their books. I also wanted to add Tavi Gevinson to this list because the Rookie Yearbooks are YA books, and she also has a large following which stems from the online community.
Sara Shephard @sarabooks
A.S. King @AS_King
Margo Lanagan @margolanagan
E. Lockhart @elockhart
Jacqueline Woodson @JackieWoodson
Rita Williams-Garcia @OneCrazyRita
Tavi Gevinson @tavitulle
And here are some male YA authors that you can check out. Sedgwick, Lake, and Whaley are the last three winners of the Printz award but all of these authors listed here have less than five thousand twitter followers each. Walter Dean Myers doesn’t have a twitter account.
Andrew Smith @marburyjack
Nick Lake @nicholaslake
John Corey Whaley @corey_whaley
Marcus Sedgwick @marcussedgwic
And while I’m at it, have you read Sally Green’s (completely unrelated Green) debut YA novel, “Half Bad”? Because it’s a knockout of a debut.
So many of these authors follow and support each other online and I imagine in real life, and amidst all this, whatever this is, I find that very reassuring.