Monday, August 8, 2016

Young Adult vs. New Adult , Defined

I’ve been busy adding more failed blurbs to my collection that I shared in April.  One common problem is the poor choice of which genre or reading audience would be interested in the book.

This is a serious flaw because the wrong genre or audience tag means those who would enjoy your book won’t find it, and those who want a certain type of book will be unhappy if they buy yours and discover you lied to them about what they bought.  This is definitely not how to build your readership and your writing career.  

One very common area where authors make the wrong choice of an audience tag is New Adult and Young Adult which are not only about the age of the main characters, but also the issues that drive their lives.  If the book isn’t about those issues, particularly New Adult, then it doesn’t belong in that category.

One instance of this was an urban fantasy, I read recently, with a younger protagonist who must deal with a death sentence and solve a murder.  Her age and life choices have nothing to do with the plot yet it is labeled as New Adult with no mention of urban fantasy which not only fits it better but has a much wider audience.  

What exactly are New Adult and Young Adult?  Here are some definitons I found online.  The link to each has an interesting article attached if you’d like to delve more deeply into the subject.


“New Adult books feature characters with slightly older teens or in their very early twenties. They are more commercially accessible coming of age stories, ones that take a look to life beyond school. They are learning who they are and how they are going to respond to adult challenges. Moreover, and this is important to me, they are fairly independent.” from Dear Author 

“New Adult fiction bridges the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 30.

The genre tends to focus on issues prevalent in the young adult genre as well as focusing on issues experienced by individuals between the area of childhood and adulthood, such as leaving home for university and getting a job.

New adult is typically considered a subcategory of adult literature rather than young adult literature.” from Goodreads


“Essentially, it’s just literature for and about teens, there to bridge the gap between children’s and adult’s books. It can be subdivided into the same genres as adult books—romance, paranormal, mystery, horror, literary fiction.” Jim McCarthy, agent.  

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