Embracing New Adult
Posted On: 2014-10-08
by: Mercedes Tabano
In the publishing world, books are categorized by type and genre. Types include fiction and nonfiction. Genres include categories such as self-help, hobbies, businesses and so on for nonfiction, and romance, thriller, horror, etc. for fiction.
Among these genres, books are then split up even further into children's young adult, adult, and more.But have you heard about the latest category, New Adult? In this article, we'll look at this emerging category so you can decide if it's right for you.
What Is New Adult?
New adult was coined by St. Martin's Press in 2009. That's when Dan Weiss shook the publishing world by declaring the ages between 18-25 needed their own category. His research showed that this age group loves to read, but finds very little they want to read about. Since most adult books are written for ages 35 and up, this age group could not relate to those experiences. Likewise, most books written for teens are considered 'unrealistic' in their treatment of drug use and sex.
The types of books this group likes include, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight., In other words, young adults read more books intended for younger readers. In fact, Bowker reports that 55% of books marketed towards twelve to seventeen year olds are actually being read by people aged eighteen and up.
Why the Distinction?
Until Dan Weiss came along, publishers assumed all adults were the same. There were no special categories for adults based on age as there are for children. From the publisher's standpoint, an eighteen year old thinks the same way as a thirty-five or sixty year old. But of course, they don't. People ages eighteen though twenty-five are still trying to find their way in the world. They are caught in that awkward age between being treated as an adult but still feeling like a child. (After all, they were a child for a longer period.)
What This Means For Indie Publishers
Currently, St. Martin's Press is the only major publisher that publishes and markets in this new category. This leaves the market wide open for some clever indie to dominate. In fact, most new adult books are written by indie authors and sold on Amazon.
Since this an emerging market, it has no established conventions, yet. These will be determined later by the most popular books in this category. Who knows, it could be yours...
What Do New Adults Want?
The secret of writing for new adults is to know what they want. So what do they want? They want books that are a lot like teen books, only different. For example, traditional publishers frown on sex between two young people, or gratuitous violence or drug use. However, new adults want to read about these things. New adults feel it's unrealistic to show a couple going together for 5 years and still be virgins, (which is often the case in the teen books.)
They want stories they can relate to; stories about finding your way in the world, identity, independence, and separation from their parents. A story about a woman throwing her first dinner party (which of course goes horribly wrong)This story would interest a young adult because they are also doing it for the first time. However, such a story would not interest a sixty year old, because by that age, they have thrown many dinner parties.
New adults have money to spend on books, and they want to spend it on books that interest them. By embracing this new category, an indie author can become a forerunner in this emerging field. After all, currently, the competition is low. There's never been a better opportunity for emerging writers in our lifetime.
Until Next Time,