I'm posting now, even though it's Saturday, because I forgot this week :) OOPS.
A reader recently asked:
I read a blog post about knowing what your target audience is and making sure your writing "fits" that audience. Right now my audience is definitely teenage girls, but my MC is almost 15 and I'd like for her to grow up over time. If the character grows up (like in the Christy Miller series) does the genre change from YA to that new college/twenty-something genre that's getting to be so popular (like Erynn's books) or is it bad for the target audience to shift to older girls?
To be honest, I feel that's a discussion and a decision for your publisher to make when that time comes, and not something that needs to be dwelled on or worried about right now. :)
Your chief concern right now should be creating that never-ending story world and lovable character set that will stand the test of time, like Christy Miller, and will have a dedicated readership, willing to follow them wherever they go. Robin Jones Gunn is truly a master at that heart connection with the reader.
When you have that fan base, it doesn't matter what the genre changes to or if it does. The readers will follow. And truly, that's not something you need to be concerned with right now, even in a proposal. Get the first book written. Pitch it, get it out there and write the second while you wait. Then while you wait, write the third, exactly the way you want it, without any regard to all the future big looming "what-if's". And see what happens to the first book as you continue. If it sells, perfect. You have a second book ready in the wings. And then a third. And then hopefully your momentum continues and you have a fourth, and your series is growing, your readership is growing, and as they fall in love with your characters, they'll do whatever they need to do to continue reading them.
Remember, readers read all over the grid. Teens read adult romances. Adults read YA. A large percentage of the feedback I received from my YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, was sent to me by middle aged women, one who claimed that novel was her favorite of the entire year. Who'd have thought??? :)
So while you DO need to know your target audience, allow them to grow as your characters do, and if you acquire younger or older readers along the way, then HEY - even better :)