Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To NA or not to NA, that is the question.

Hi. This is a rant. How are you?

So today Publishers' Marketplace said: Guess what? New Adult is a thing. A real thing.

Yes. Those of us who write it already knew this. The readers knew it. The money coming in for it says it does in fact have a place and a demand. You know who doesn't?

A whole lot of agents. Now, before I get massacred, there are plenty of agents and editors who do love it and want it - yay!! And not everyone has to like NA or want it and even believe it exists. But here's what is pissing me off.

The ones who don't think "it's a real thing" seem to be very vocal in saying horrible things about it. Wow, this piggybacks my last blog post about how our community should root for each other. Anyway, why are they doing this? And more importantly, if they don't read it and don't want it, why as they saying things about it that aren't true?

We are told as writers - know your genre, know what's out there, read, read, read! Well, maybe these people who are spewing idiocy everywhere should take a second to do the same.

Here's what NA is: Books with main protagonists between the ages of 18-25 and usually themes of transition between Young adult and Adult. Yep. That's it in most basic form. And it ranges from college stories and contemporary to historical to sci-fi to everything else.

Here's what people are saying it is: Kids in college (sometimes, not always), contemporary(um...not even close to all the time), and sex, sex, sex. (Wrong, wrong, wrong. I can think of two right off the top of my head that have no sex, or at least very little.) Here's the one I hate most - Easy money. Ha! Tried to write a book lately? There's no such thing as easy in this business.

I don't understand the fuss. When I was growing up there was no YA. You had kids and adults. I went to the basement of the library to check out my Nancy Drew books because they were in the same area as Dr. Seuss. Now we have a division. Picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult and you know what it does?


When I take my kids to the bookstore or library, they can go right to what they want. I, however, have to search or go in with a book rec already in my hand to find a book that fits the New Adult specs.

Now that's it's a real thing, I can walk in and go to the New Adult shelf and be well read in the field I write in. I saw an agent say it was porn. Based on what? Fifty Shades of Grey? Um, I read Erotica and no, NA is not porn or erotica. (But neither is 50SoG.)

Do the characters have sex? Sometimes.
Do they drink? Sometimes.
Do they cuss? Sometimes.
Could you ask these same questions and get the same answers about YA? Yep. Adult? Yep.

MG, YA, PB - all defined by age. Why is there such a fuss over making one more distinction that in the end will basically just make it easier for readers to find what they're looking for?Which means more sales. Which means more books. It's not rocket science, kids.

Not every agent takes historical or contemporary or sci-fi but never once have I heard them say on Twitter or social media hateful things about aliens or corsets or ....whatever a good example of contemporary is....so why this about NA?

Are people just that resistant to change? Well, guess what? I'm a NA writer. I know lots of NA writers. And they work hard on their craft. Hell, they're some of the best writers I know. Their stories have depth and world building. They have great characterizations and yes, sometimes very hot scenes. They bust their ass trying to make the best book they can because they are writers and that is their story to tell.

I may just be one little person and maybe my words won't matter, but you calling their hardwork "complete crap and fluff in a letterman's jacket" might. They might not write their story. And that might have been the next big thing you were looking for.


  1. Agree 100% I've been writing NA since 2007. And it annoys the ever loving crap out of me when people think NA is nothing more than YA with graphic sex. As observed in MY rant on that topic, seen HERE: http://feakysnucker.blogspot.ca/2013/01/sex-slippery-slope.html

  2. Well said! *runs off to read Feaky's post*

  3. I, too, am surprised by the comments some industry pros feel comfortable making regarding New Adult. Anyone who has worked in consumer products knows that the markets set themselves. We do not control them. To belittle an emerging market just because you either don't understand it or are fearful of it is unprofessional at best.

  4. I'm starting to think the MS I'm drafting right now (a prequel to a series I've put on hold until I get the backstory hashed out) might be *GASP* NA! It's about the MC's transition from life at home to life as an adult, on her own in the world. There's no more graphic interpersonal relationship descriptions than in any YA novel I've read. It isn't even necessarily about the MC's age, but about what she's going through: a first SERIOUS relationship (like living together), leaving her parents' home, etc. All things that happen to people in their late teens/early 20's.

    So there it is. I inadvertently wrote something that could fall under that banner. The rest of the series might be adult, but this first novel is definitely NA. I'm extra-glad now that PM thinks NA is a real thing!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Agree 100%! :D

    Especially since I'm writing an NA at the moment!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Hey Angie,
    It is kind of interesting I have a MS that I written and I couldn't really figure out a good genre fit, but NA according to the most basic definition seems to fit.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Hey Angie,

    Is New Adult just about the transition period for the characters? Or could it be content that is more mature then regular YA but isn't quite adult? (The kind that would be for more mature YA readers) I know it may be a stupid question, but I'm kind of pulling my hair out trying to figure out what category to put novel in.