Recently, I stumbled upon what is apparently a thing right now. Publishing two different versions of a novel, often simultaneously, with different ratings. For example, one that is YA with little language, sex, or violence, and one that is geared toward adults that is more NC-17 or worse.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't seen a LOT of these, but more than one or two, and it's enough to make me wonder about it. I was thinking about my work, and if I could even imagine making a YA of my, definitely geared to adults book. The answer? A huge, resounding NO.
Even if I wanted to, which I don't, a lot of the best moments in my books are when there is something adult-y going on. No, I don't just mean sex. For example, in Devil's Dilemma, my favorite scene in the whole book involves lots of blood and gore. My second favorite scene involves a heart getting torn from a chest and thrown at another character. Neither of which would be suitable for a younger audience.
For me, if I were to take it down to PG-13 to make it suitable for teenagers, there wouldn't be a book left. If it's just taking the sex scenes out of one, then fine, no big deal, but in most adult books--especially those written in the Fantasy genre, there's a lot more that makes it "adult" than just sex. It's the age of the characters, it's the themes, the violence, the language, and yes, the sex.
Overall, I don't understand this new phenomena, and I don't think I like it too much. I'll be the first to say that it very well might work for some other authors, and I'd be very interested to read some good examples of it, but for me, I just don't see it working. I love a good YA book(Mortal Instrument, Hunger Games, etc) and I love a good adult book. They are written for very different audiences, and I happen to be young enough to still appreciate YA, and old enough to understand adult. I just think that trying to make one book suitable for both audiences by producing a PG-13 AND an NC-17 version is a little odd.
Imagine Hunger Games in NC-17. It doesn't work. Conversely, imagine your favorite romance novel in PG-13. It doesn't work.
In my humble opinion, I think authors need to write the book they want to write, be it YA or Adult, and stop trying to change it to meet the demands of very different markets JUST for the purpose of selling more books. There are plenty of authors who write BOTH, but they write DIFFERENT books. Check out Evangeline Anderson as an example of this. She writes alien erotica for adults, and a very different YA series. If she tried to turn her Brides of the Kindred series into YA, it would be a spectacular failure.
Though again, if anyone knows of an author that has managed to do this successfully, without compromising the integrity of the work, please, tell me about it in the comments. I'd love to be proven wrong.