What’s The Next Big Thing in Genre Fiction?

Hi all! Welcome to another installment of GPF! Today the spotlight is on Shah Wharton, who’s going to share some info on New Adult.

Thanks Shah!

Firstly, many thanks to Misha for letting me stop by and have a chat with her readers. I’m honoured to be here, and I hope you enjoy my post. 

What’s The Next Big Thing

in Genre Fiction?

This is thrilling news for me (although nothing new to more savvy bloggers than I), as my beta readers recently suggested that my novel, Finding Esta – Book #1 in the Supes Series, is in fact, New Adult. I never really thought about it’s genre or the desired age of it’s readers when I first sat down to write a short story a couple of years ago, but as it developed into the monster it became, and as it is soon to be published, these things have become much more important to me.
So, I clicked on Google and asked, “What is New Adult and what’s all the fuss about?” Here’s the result…

1) What is New Adult?

‘New Adult’ fiction is aimed at post-adolescents and young adult readers aged between14 to 35 years.
I found this age range… difficult to relate to. The average 14 year old would surely find most ‘adult’ fiction irrelevant, and wouldn’t the average 35 year old find the adolescent ramblings of a 14 year old, well… boring? Perhaps.
But then again…
I considered my own reading habits. Like me, many readers overlap so much that the age category is often just a hint at it’s content rather than a strict border control – a cloudy grey rather than black or white. Nowadays, young adults still enjoy their category, but adult fiction along with it, and adults enjoy young adult reads alongside much more adult books. I am very much an adult (although whether I always act like one, could be cause for argument), yet I loved YA – Twilight, YA – The Vampire Diaries, as well as A – True Blood, A- Generation, and even A –Fifty Shades of Grey Series *blush*.
*I’m sticking to the genre I mostly read here, but I’m sure you could find examples of your own.


2) Is my book New Adult?

New Adult was first proposed by St. Martin’s Press in 2009 who wanted to address the coming-of-age era during a young person’s twenties, including stories about young adults who, although legally adults, still struggled to figure out what being an adult actually involved.
In Finding Esta, Luna is a young 23 year old who lives in her first home, works at her first job, post University, and is yet to experience her first physical relationship. She is also subjugated by abusive parents, and by paranormal, psychic issues (plus a supernatural world she soon discovers) and as a result, has a rather young voice for her age.
So, does all this mean it’s a New Adult book? I’m inclined to think so…

3) Is there any value in categorising my book as New Adult?

Well, major New York publishers are taking self-published authors of New Adult titles for mass-market sales.
Some examples:
▪ Tammara Webber for Easy
▪ Jamie McGuire for Beautiful Disaster
▪ Colleen Hoover for Slammed and Point of Retreat
This is great news and a good indicator of success and relevance… Of course, I don’t expect this kind of success (although hey, I wouldn’t mind it either), just that my genre (if it is indeed New Adult) must be of interest to a mass-market audience if major publishers are pushing it out there so fervently.
So, I’ve learned quite a bit. There’s been a readership group largely ignored by fiction writers – The ‘coming-of-age’ group, now the New Adult group, which explores a specific time and set of experiences, which although popular, other books seem to have ignored. Or simply didn’t concentrate on. Or perhaps many New Adult books are incorrectly listed as either YA or Adult books by category-loving Traditional Publishers? Hell, until a few years ago, no one would have known otherwise, right? And traditional authors would have been made to write to ‘fit’ established categories.
Fortunately, unlike traditional publishers, self-publishers were able to explore this specific time/these set of circumstances without such restrictions; they could write ‘outside the box’ of traditional publishing guidelines. The result is New Adult fiction and of course, its recent success means Traditional Publishers now want to harness New Adult’s popularity for themselves, and I seem to have inadvertently joined this group. Hurrah!
Interested in finding out more about this genre? Interested in reading New Adult books and don’t know where to find them? Well, I found this fabulous blog called New Adult Alley, which includes promotion of New Adult titles, community discussion and oodles of New Adult resources and information.

Author Mini Bio:

Shah writes urban fantasy novels and horror short fiction, punctuated by the occasional poem. She loves psychology, horror movies and a hefty drop of Merlot. Shah would love to hear from you at her blog: Shah Wharton’s WordsinSync.
* Finding Esta – Book #1 in the Supes Series is expected to be published Autumn/Winter 2012.
Discussion: So, what do you think of this new(ish) genre? Is it necessary? Are you a New Adult author/reader? Would you be more likely to read a book from the YA or NA section?
Thanks so much for this insightful post, Shah. Anyone else want to do a post? I still have spaces open in October and November. To find out more, please mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.
Have a great weekend, all!


26 thoughts on “What’s The Next Big Thing in Genre Fiction?

  1. Interesting post on a 'new' genre. I can see how it would fit in though.
    Still struggling with the genre on mine – police, crime, some First Nations people and culture, supernatural.

  2. I think I have a naturally younger voice so will edge toward this genre more naturally than adult, say. But I do believe there can be an overlap. Perhaps reclassify your books on the next edition/marketing plan?

  3. That is one major positive about the self-publishing of today – we don't have to fit into traditional convenient pigeon-holes. We can break the mold, so to speak. I believe this is where NEw Adult came from – people breaking the mold and refusing to make compromises, therefore necessitating a new more accurate genre title. A genre is only a guide, after all… and guides need to be updated.

  4. No, nor me. Although I never thought I'd love Harry Potter either (not that its N.A) and never even considered reading YA till then… now I read either or… it's about the story more than the genre, which might contradict my post I realise. But what I mean is I enjoy there being genres – they guide my initial search, they give my a clue about the content, but it'll be the blurb, the cover, the reviews and possibly the author, which ultimately makes me get the book. 🙂

  5. It is a large range, although at 14 we have very different priorities to when we're 35, and visa versa, there is much to overlap throughout the twenty years: finding our identity, searching for love, our desires, our careers. After 35 one hopes we've found all those (or mostly) and yet that doesn't mean we don't still fell entertained reading about other's struggles. 🙂

  6. Exactly – I won't write for the market, but if what I write is marketable and there is a way of marketing ing it conveniently for readers, for the benefit of both of us, then thats a win, win. 🙂

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