What's the current status of New Adult


Which to be fair there isn’t anything wrong with romance.

@all But I feel like New Adult has a lot more potential.


That isn’t what I’m saying. NA just got thrown out because it was marketed as erotic romance and nothing else, while in reality it’s as diverse as YA.


I used to write NA and abandoned it a few years ago. Other than Wattpad and Amazon, there is no market for it. It was hot for a few years with books like Beautiful Disaster, Easy and others, but then it became a market for bad boy romances filled with sex and, in my humble opinion, very unhealthy relationships. And like chick lit before that (way before that because it’s hot again), no agent/publisher would touch it. It’s just the way the publishing cycle goes.

It may gain resurgence again, but if you plan the traditional route, you won’t get anywhere with NA right now. I’m not even sure there are many agents looking at it.

I loved writing NA - with positive relationships and messages - but I now stick to contemporary romances.


Yea that’s why I’m thinking, if I do write New Adult ( the next book, a Tech Memoir, is projected to be ) I probably wont put “New Adult” in the query letter, but let it coincedentally have New Adult themes:

  1. getting used to no longer being in high school,
  2. not really knowing your way in the world,
  3. the realization that your parents wont rescue you if you screw up,
  4. the necessity of owning your mistakes.

Some of which segway right into regular adult as well. For example, my favorite Manga series, while it start out YAish, is really closer to a New Adult novel than a Young Adult novel in terms of thematic approaches.

That’s Battle Angel Alita. Which makes sense, as it was marketed as Seinin in Japan by Yukito Kushiro.

In my own work, it gets blurry, because in the first novella (I wrote the series somewhat out of order), the MC is basically a very very young teenager, but ages to around New Adult age by the end. But the entire 20,000 words has themes like the ones mentioned above, where they’re coming to grips with the fact she experiences “adult” things such as the afforementioned concepts above.


That’s an excellent plan. I think labeling anything NA is a kiss of death.


How did YA not have that same crash? Other than obviously (and thankfully) not be overrun with toxic erotica.


YA has always been around and always been popular. NA was created and veered on into a highly sexualized direction that pigeon holed it. It never seemed to diversify whereas YA can encompass so many genres. That’s just my humble opinion.


Yea although I’ve had similar thoughts. Even NA Science Fiction kind of … kind mature erotica tendencies.


Something else as well: It seemed like dystopia/post apocalypse was encountering a similar issue New Adult was it seemed like. I sometimes joke I write Literary Fiction, although that’s definitely tongue in cheek. I still consider myself a New Adult Post Apocalypse/Cyberpunk writer.

Mainly for me, whether it’s New Adult or Post Apocalyptic/Dystopia, it conveys the most extreme case of a genre/target audience, without nuance that I find important.

In Post Apocalyptic, it doesn’t take into account a scenario where the only “end times” scenario is experience within a limited region, and is not a world wide phenominon. For those old enough to remember (so I’ve been told), there used to be discussions about “Limited Nuclear War”.

With New Adult it also seemed to have a lack of nuance, that I personally found annoying, because it didn’t include cases where people aged faster than most people, or aged slower.

So I had a lot of issues, that would not have made trade publishing “New Adult Post Apocalypse” super practical.


Ah, when trad publishers refuse to listen (as always) this is what happens.


This association of NA with smutty romances is so frustrating. I have an urban fantasy novel featuring protagonists in their early twenties that I am working on querying. NA would be a great way to describe its target audience, but the novel focuses on mystery and adventure, not romance. Plus, urban fantasy too has supposedly become maligned as a genre.


Yeah :frowning_face:


Agree, but that’s unfortunately the way the genre was developed on the traditional market. My friend landed a traditional publishing contract with Sourcebooks for her three book paranormal romance and the first thing the editor asked before they offered her the contract was if she was willing to add sex (and a lot of it). The general notion is that this is what readers expect.

Even though my books could be labeled NA, I classify them as mature YA. That has become a little bit of a trend. It’s really NA books in disguise without heavy sexual content, but the themes are too violent/heavy for younger teens. As with other YA books, the commercial audience is mostly adult who prefer younger protagonists and are not into smutty romance.


That… Is honestly disheartening. Like, sex should be an integral part of the narrative (unless it’s certain kinds of erotica) and shoving them into a WIP is damn hard unless the tone is there.

What did she end up doing?


I find this pretty annoying to be honest, not to mention impractical. Instead of accepting a new ‘genre’, they go out in a limp, dissorting YA.

I’ve read so called upper YA books and had to mentally age up the characters because they didn’t feel like teens to me and it just seemed they were simply aged down to fit the more popular bracket.


She went with them (she really wanted the traditional publishing deal). Personally, I liked her WP versions much better (they were really original with great voices) – the published version is very sexual (the term “like rabbits” springs to mind) and I found it lacked character depth. But it fitted the mold, which is what they were going for.

It’s a trend I noticed with traditional publishers in general. Work that doesn’t follow industry tropes are usually rejected. To a degree, I get it – publishing is a business and ultimately, books need to make money. Even as self-published author, my books are influenced by market trends and genre rules or they would simply not sell. However, when you actually sacrifice your ideas and MC’s voice just to fit in, your work suffers. Readers can usually tell if you heart isn’t in it.


That’s a valid point, but unfortunately the game you have to play if you want to sell certain books. Sure, on WP, it doesn’t matter, but there are certain expectations with commercial readers. It really depends on your end goal and long term publishing strategy.


That’s what I fear most about traditional publishing and where I’m not sure I’d fit in. It’s not like my works are suuuuper original, I just don’t think they fit that very specific mould you know?

And I feel bad for her. I mean, good on her on getting published! That’s absolutely amazing. But I still can’t help but feel bad her work had to suffer just so they could cram it into an NA mould no one really asked for?


Just when you thought media couldn’t get any more oversaturated with sex. :roll_eyes:


Every NA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy fan should definitely check out The Order on Netflix. It really does show how diverse NA can be and that the demographic is out there - at least for TV series!

(And it’s freaking good, omg)