Friday, December 28, 2012

Young Adult vs. New Adult

As recently as a month ago I had never heard the term “New Adult”, but now it seems to be cropping up everywhere. As a writer trying to finish a couple of YA novels the new designation intrigues me. And after I read New York Times columnist Leslie Kaufman’s article “Beyond Wizards And Vampires,To Sex” (December 22, 2012) I realized I needed to do some serious critical thinking about my WIPs.

For the one person left in the universe who has not yet heard of this new term, New Adult is a category aimed at 18 to 25 year olds. The characters are older, and apparently have a lot of sex. Parents also tend to be much less visible. While there has long been a cross-over appeal to YA books, with older adults also buying YA books, publishers are seeing greater cross-over numbers with the New Adult books.

As with other current publishing trends, New Adult got a foothold with self-published books. According to Kaufman’s article this is, in no small part, due to the fact that brick and mortar bookstores haven’t had a place to shelve New Adult. That concern isn’t a problem online and especially not with ebooks, with which the targeted audience is very comfortable.

When Kaufman mentions that some authors and publishers are now publishing two versions of books, one for the YA crowd (less graphic sex) and another for the NC-17 group (more sex), I sat up and paid attention. The WIP I am currently focusing on would lend itself well to this treatment. As I mentioned in my last post, When Ignorance WAS Bliss, I may choose to self-publish this particular novel. There is a fade to black scene when the female protagonist loses her virginity to the male protagonist who is a redeemed ne’er-do-well boy with a lot of sexual experience. I could keep the fade to black version for the YA market, and include a more graphic version of the scene for the New Adult market. There is another pivotal scene in which the redeemed protagonist is seduced by a demon straight from hell, which could also be given this treatment. Doing so would be rather simple and wouldn’t change the story at all. But it could open the book up to a larger market.

I know it is hard enough for experienced authors to keep up with the fast changing trends in publishing, but for the fledgling writer it can be a bit overwhelming and daunting. I think, though, that this is one trend I’m going to have to keep my eye on.

Happy writing! And Happy New Year!