All the books about writing say "Write for yourself, not the market. Write about what you love, write your passion."
That's very good advice. The problem is that today, the market and the bottom line dictate what is bought every bit as much as the literary or social quality of the work.
So I want to edit "Write for yourself."
Write for yourself, but be aware of the market. Editors want books that will sell LOTS of copies in this recession-driven economy and competition for kids' time, interest, and dollars has never been as high.
Kids do read, some a lot. But they also text, phone,IM, watch videos and all kinds of media, download music, "play" with all kinds of media, listen to audio books, etc.
They tend to go for the latest thing--and truly literary work tends not to be the latest thing,imo.
That means that today, more than ever, you must write really well and your ms. must appeal not only to editors, publishers and your readers, but to MARKETING.
I wasted many years trying to improve and send out books that weren't that marketable and were more research- than passion-driven.
Now I'm writing about what I love and whom I love: kids and teens who struggle with serious, sometimes very dangerous challenges, and don't get much support with that struggle.
Let's just hope my passion is marketable!