Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Ongoing Debate: New Adult

*I originally posted this article on my blog on January 20, 2013. This week Publishers Marketplace decided to add a New Adult category to it's book sections and everyone started talking about it again. Here's what I had to say about it 5 months ago. I still think the same things.)

Honestly, I just don't get it. The discussion that is. People tend to want to make it into this, "issue" or something and to me it is what is it is. I think I've blogged about this before but it was a while back. I couldn't find it in my history over the last 9 months or so.

What is New Adult? Well, it's this category of books that falls into the ages of 18-25. Older than Young Adult, younger than Adult. Part of the problem I think is that New Adult isn't really a genre, more a category. This is true but when I go to say...Target, the bookshelf is for young adult and it merges left to right from contemporary to paranormal. So yeah, stick all the New Adults on a book shelf and divide them by color cover. Doesn't matter to me. Just give me options.

Despite all the technical/industry discussion about New Adult, I think it really comes down to a couple of basic reasons why this category is being pushed so hard.

1. The readers want it.

2. The writers want it.

Everyone else is sitting around trying to figure out how to make a new "shelf" in the bookstore, library or whatever and writers and readers are moving on without them. Interestingly enough, I read an article the other day about how our early 20's hold strong memories for us as humans. We can vividly recall much of that period and hold a fondness for it.  This comes as no surprise to authors, who desperately want to delve into this area for material but are consistently told that it's too "old for young adult" and it's too young for adult.

Hence, New Adult.

(See, this seems so logical I'm not sure why we're talking about it.)

Our late teens early 20's are the time when we experience so many new things. School, jobs, relationships, independence, travel, marriage, childbirth, etc...yet for some reason so often it seems like authors are discouraged from writing about this.  An 18 year old girl dating a 20 year old man is to big of an age difference for YA. But what if it's plot oriented (my book FanGirl was like this) But the book isn't necessarily adult content, yet it could push the limits if the characters chose to. They're "adults" they can have sex. Drink.  Even smoke or use drugs. Is it a good idea? I don't know. Depends on the characters and what the writer wants to convey. Young people do stupid things *raises hand* and you learn from those stupid moments and either go on to do further stupid things or you figure it out.

See? That's a book right there.

Ultimately, what I think will happen is that the traditional publishing industry will allow self-publishers and indies to feel this territory out, until best sellers emerge from the over-loaded Amazon pool. They've already started and will most likely continue, which is a topic for another day...should authors even query agents anymore? Should we just stick our books on amazon to see what happens? Will we get notice? It's happening more and more, making the slush pile irrelevant.

We can talk about that next time.

Until then go find a good New Adult book and give it a shot. I count my book Serial Summer as a New Adult because Paige, the protagonist, is 19. Plus, it's about the beach and summer and today would be a great day to feel the sand between your toes.


No comments:

Post a Comment