by Eddie Jones
Why do I write for boys?
First I are one. Have been for as long as I can remember. Given the advancements in modern science and the cultural acceptance of transgender persons, a day may come when I am something different. But for now I’m a boy – albeit an older, smelly one.
Here’s another reason I write for boys. Women make up 91 percent of romance book buyers. The average romance reader is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years. Romance fiction generated $1.438 billion in sales in 2012 and was the top-performing category on the best-seller lists in 2012.
So basically, women and girls have all the books they need.
Boys have Sports Center, video games, movies, TV shows, YouTube, and lots of other visually stimulating distractions but not books. At least, not enough boy books. When ranking leisure activities, boys list reading near the bottom. Which is a shame since boys need to be reading. Here’s why.
• Two thirds of eighth grade boys do not read at grade level.
• Boys lag behind girls in reading proficiency in all 50 states – in some states by as many as ten percentage points.
• Boys who grow up in homes where books are plentiful go further in school than those who don’t. In fact, boys from low-education families can do as well as children with high-education families if they have access to books at home.
And that’s just a few of the many statistics that support my Don Quixote quest to write fast, easy, fun books for boys.
I recognize that I am writing into a shrinking market. Boys do not buy books – moms do. But first moms need to find boy books. I do not have a clue how that happens. I wish I did. I think they must shop at bookstores. Problem is, bookstores are closing. Or, if not closing, replacing racks of book space with Legos and Vera Bradley purses.
If I could speak to those mothers I would say, give me a chance to help your son learn to love reading. Give me a chance to take your son on an adventure where there may be zombies, vampires, and ghosts, but also a positive message that runs counter to the dark and disturbing images found in so many books and movies. Give me a chance to shine a light of hope into their world of darkness and do so without using cuss words, sex, and senseless violence. In other words, give reading a chance to change a life.
Readers are leaders – buy a boy a book.
Eddie Jones is a North Carolina-based writer and founder of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is also an award-winning author with HarperCollins and creator of the Caden Chronicles series and Caribbean Chronicles series. Both are featured at BuyaBoyaBook.com