Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are you a "New Adult"? I am!

Reading the ever-fabulous Guide to Literary Agents blog, I discovered that St. Martin's Press is seeking out YA-esque novels for post-teens, and they're calling this lovely new subgenre "New Adult" fiction.

Me: Intrigued.

So I linked my way around the blogosphere, and here's what I found.

From St. Martin editorial assistant JJ's blog:
Where does New Adult belong? On the adult shelves. The target audience are people in their late teens and twenties, the college-aged and post-undergraduate crowd.

Via that link, JJ also answers a lot of other intriguing questions about the purpose of the subgenre's creation, where the books might be shelved, and what current books could be categorized as "New Adult."

There's also a CONTEST! Go ahead, pitch St. Martin's your New Adult title. (Ends 11/20.)
From contest page: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.”

Whose brilliant idea was this? (thanks, Georgia, for this info!)
From Publishers Marketplace November 4, 2009: Dan Weiss Joins SMP As Publisher at Large
Former SparkNotes publisher and packager Dan Weiss is the latest seasoned executive to join Macmillan, taking the new position of publisher-at-large for St. Martin’s, reporting to paperback publisher Matthew Shear. Weiss will develop and acquire both fiction and nonfiction properties targeted at the audience of “twentysomethings, Gen Yers, and older young adult readers–those emerging adults who are navigating career, love and family in a 24/7 connected world.” Those books will be published through St. Martin’s as well as other Macmillan imprints as appropriate.

So dear writers and readers, what does this mean for you?
Writers: Well, if you're feeling pressure to young-ify your 23-year-old MC in order to fit more smoothly into the YA genre, STOP THAT RED PEN! (Who am I kidding: KEEP THE FINGER OFF THE DELETE BUTTON!) Your lovely novel now has a home.
Readers: Are you college-age and bored silly by adult fiction with forty-year-old protags? Or are you 17 or 18 and want to read relatable books outside of YA? Step on over to the New Adult section! (By the way, not-quite-30-year-old ... give YA a shot. It's delectable and much more substantial than you think. Your friends will only raise their eyebrows until you hand over your copy of The Hunger Games and then they'll follow you right into the Borders Ink section.)

My Humble Opinion:
This can only be a good thing. A LOT of college-age students stop reading because they're wrapped up in papers and midterms and sloppy alcohol-induced flirting. College is exhausting. First jobs are exhausting. People in their early 20s sometimes forget to take time to read for fun. Ten pound textbooks make them equate reading with evil torture.
A genre that targets them and gives them protags who are dealing with the same issues (Living at home again after graduation? It's much cheaper to read a book than pay a therapy bill.) will remind them of the awesomeness of books. I'm really curious to see how this one takes off!

What do you think of this subgenre? Any of you fit into the New Adult category? Can you think of any books that should be classified as New Adult?
* Added question - Do you like the name "New Adult"? If not, what would you call it?

PS - JJ's also a writer and illustrator, and she did an animated review of Shiver that's definitely worth linking. Enjoy!


  1. This is awesome, I had no idea, and yes, Im a New Adult ^^. I think is a great idea, a new subgenre for all the people in the middle of YA books a Adult ones, just great!!

  2. Yes, I do fit, and YES, I think it is amazing :D

  3. Whoohoo!!!! I think this is a great idea! I'm 19, and a sophomore in college, so as much as I love YA (and will never ever stop reading it), I'm glad that there's a movement to publish books more aimed toward that interlude between adult and young adult. Thanks for the post!

    Natalie @ Mindful Musings

  4. This is very cool! Unfortunately I don't have a New Adult book up my sleeve right now, but I'm looking forward to reading one.

  5. I'm way too old for young adult, dammit. I would have loved this in college though. Even though I was slightly sloppy and drunk for most of my college years, I read a ton. Mostly chick lit.

  6. I remember when I first heard about the novel Psych Major Syndrome and I was like FINALLY, a book about someone in college. But I distinctly thought, "Are they going to put this in YA or adult?"

    And from the St. Martin's description, I don't know if they're planning on including fantasy novels with protags in their mid-20s. If yes, Maria Snyder's Study series would fit in New Adult also.

  7. OMG my novel finally has a genre! As I've been writing, I've been back and forth a lot. It's not quite YA...but something about just calling it a mystery didn't hit home with me. and this did. Yay! Now back to writing. Woo.


  8. I'm really excited about this! Both for readers and writers. I've always wondered what great books we were missing out on, not having books for twenty-somethings.
    Oh yeah, and I am a New Adult so I can't wait to expand my reading. Very excited!

  9. The only thing about the contest is that they only want pitches from completed manuscripts and... yeah, I don't have one, alas. (My NaNo novel is exactly in the New Adult Genre, and I love the entire idea of it.)

  10. I'm a new adult too. I just turned 21 and now my novel has a target audience. I was kind of worried that I'd have to make my characters younger or hold back on some of the tough themes for YA, but this is perfect. I can't think of an novels for this new adult genre. Thought technically young adults are from the ages of 18-29, YA has been considered from teenagers. Unfortunately my novel isn't finished, but hopefully they'll have more contests like this as the genre becomes more widespread.

  11. This is a fascinating new trend and it comes at just the right time. I just finished the first draft of my novel and I had been worried about where my novel fit in! I'm looking forward to seeing where this 'genre' leads!

  12. This is so absolutely wonderful! This is a huge step for the modern literary world!

    My novel doesn't fit anywhere else. I'm so, so, so excited.

  13. I guess I'm a New Adult although I enjoy reading YA still. I'll have to keep an eye out for this section in the coming year.


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