New Adult – a contested, constricted, and ultimately confusing age category. Here are what two #FicFest mentors, Laura Brown and Michelle Hazen, have to say about what it really is – and what the market really wants.
What is New Adult?
“To me, New Adult is a novel where the main characters are 18-24 and coming into themselves as an adult. The novel needs to involve a journey, a sort of self-discovery. If the character is in the right age range, but is already established in their life, then it’s an adult novel, not a New Adult one. Conversely, if the character is still waiting to start their adult life, then it’s a Young Adult one.” –@AuthorLBrown
What NA projects are agents looking for?
If you think your book fits the above description… what are your chances for getting traditionally published?
“Currently, Big 5 publishers are buying very few NA books, which has made some agents stop signing NA books, and others become incredibly selective. For a debut novelist, Adult or YA is a much safer sell right now than NA.” –@MichelleHazen
It’s unfortunate, but agents simply aren’t seeking much NA. If you feel determined to keep that age category, however, here are some ways to optimize your chances:
“In order to gain attention, one needs to have an original concept and be unique enough to stand out from a pack. Even if an author gains the attention of an agent, they may have a novel aged up, or down, or simply called YA or A instead. I landed my agent with a NA novel, but I was also turned down by other agents simply because my novel was NA and they were not confident they could sell it.” –@AuthorLBrown
Does the market exist?
“When I was a new adult, I struggled to find books I wanted to read. The sweet NA that’s out there might have done the trick for me, and I wish I would have stumbled across something like that way back then! My reading tastes were in an in-between state, and rather than finding something, I gave up after picking up book after book that didn’t mesh for me.” –@AuthorLBrown
On the Future of NA:
Everyone knows the publishing industry is constantly in flux. What will it take to change NA’s limitations?
“Here’s some honest and harsh truth: time. New Adult began by [Indie authors] and gained great love and admiration with readers. Publishers then stepped in, but so did more and more Indie authors. The genre is overcrowded and still so new that it hasn’t found a home in brick and mortar book stores. It needs time to come into its own, for publishing to really see what it’s going to become. I’d love to see more genres recognize NA, but until things settle and it proves a strong home, it’s going to remain in flux.” –@AuthorLBrown
Want some good NA?
Here are a few recommended NA books:
- Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown
- The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
- Losing It by Cora Carmack
- Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
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