In 2009, the St. Martin’s Press created the term “New Adult Fiction.” These books are very similar to Young Adult books, but the age group is different: roughly 18-25. According to Wikipedia (where everyone gets information but never admits it) “New Adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.” That makes sense because when I looked up the genre I stumbled upon a lot of books that had a lot to do with sexuality. Actually, at the time, most of the books were about sex. There are some who believed the genre became even more popular thanks to the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey because the main character was in college.
This makes me question my book’s genre altogether.
Dead Dreamer was written with the tone of a young adult novel, even though it’s not classified as one. The series follows the main character, Brenna, from ages 18-22. Although she is in college, that isn’t the main focus. With Brenna discovering conspiracies laced within her college’s history and mysteries within the Fade, she barely has time to focus on passing her classes.
Unlike most NA fiction novels, Dead Dreamer isn’t focused on romance or sex. The story is focused on the mysteries behind the Fade and how Brenna handles the challenges thrown at her. She must learn to adapt if she’s going to survive the four years of college.
A publicist from HarperCollins stated that the label of NA fiction was created merely to be a marketing ploy. It was convenient for bookstores and shoppers. This was when the label was first created. But there has been a great success for the genre. For example: Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, Colleen Hoover’s Slammed, and Cora Carmack’s Losing It.
Sadly, many agents and large publishing houses still don’t recognize New Adult as a new category. Or they won’t represent it because it is still unfamiliar territory. They still see it as a marketing scheme. Which means many New Adult writers have to find alternative methods to get noticed.
But as the genre grows, it has lead to some agents to start wondering if they should take the genre seriously. Not only that but the success of some self-published authors has lead to many independent publishing houses popping up. Perhaps in time, the larger publishing houses and agents will be more open to it.
“Major New York publishers are taking self-published authors of these titles and acquiring them for mass market sales. Some authors include:
- Cora Carmack for Losing It
- Kathy Clark, a New York Times Best Selling author at the start of her romance /women’s fiction 23 book career has released a new adult genre novel in her Scandals series, titled Due Dates, in November 2013.
- Sylvia Day for Reflected in You
- Colleen Hoover for Slammed and Point of Retreat
- Jamie McGuire for Beautiful Disaster
- Tammara Webber for Easy“
The genre could still be classified as young adult novels, in my opinion. Maybe not for all of the novels, but some. For instance, I keep wanting to label Dead Dreamer as both YA and NA contemporary fiction. It all depends on who you’re talking to.
I only hope the publishing industry will begin to look at the genre as an opportunity, not a risk.