The Rise of “New Adult” Fiction

It’s everywhere you look — media about young people in their 20s, trying to figure things out. It’s on HBO, it’s in film, it’s definitely in the blogosphere (it’s also the writer of this blog post, obviously).

Image by: Pete Ashton

Millenials,” as they’re known, have become a hot commodity in the media landscape, as this tech-savvy generation learns to deal with a recession and a prolonged adolescence that includes internships, grad school, and making a million different decisions about what they want to do with their lives.

So, it makes sense that a new genre of literature might emerge about this set. And, of course, it has emerged from authors who use multi-platform publishing. Cora Carmack, who self-published her book, Losing It, saw her book rise to number 18 in the New York Times bestseller list without it even having a print edition. She was then offered a contract from HarperCollins to write more books, as well as a re-release of Losing It.

The term itself – New Adult (NA) – was coined by St. Martin’s Press as a midway between adult literary fiction and young adult books. It didn’t really take off until this year, however, as scores of independent writers began writing novels that talked about these “Millenials” in an engaging, experimental and exciting way. A new website, call NA Alley, reviews a number of “NA” titles that are popping up from independent authors.

That a new genre would explode from the ranks of self-published authors makes total sense. Publishing through an open platform allows writers to experiment as well as publish books that might not already fit into a niche market. By finding readers, they are creating their own markets, and big publishers are beginning to notice. Publishers now follow the independent authors, not the other way around. 

As readers continue to look for new books that they can relate to, novels have to change with the tastes of each generation. Unfortunately, large publishing is slow. Independent writers, always keeping their ears to the ground, can identify new genres, know what they want to read themselves, and publish it without having to wait for the market to catch up with them.

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5 Comments

  1. This is good. I never knew how to describe the age group for my book. I’d say a high schooler can read it without fear of the language or content, but I wouldn’t know if an older adult would be comfortable. I wrote it in my early twenties and that’s where I kinda aimed it at.

  2. Doris Cornago

    How new/unique does a genre remain until all copycats swarm into it? Same thing happening again. I love reading something about a unique human experience that speaks directly to who I am or want to be. If I don’t get an immediate connection, I’m gone. Sometimes, I am disoriented by all this flimflam about being a bestseller. Is ROI all that matters now?

  3. There should be more about “millenials” out there. They (including myself) are a large part of society, with nothing figured out, and need someone to advocate (or at least represent) them!

    http://www.amazon.com/Intermix-Nation-ebook/dp/B00BPJ3Q4W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363051212&sr=1-1&keywords=intermix+nation

    Please check out my first NA novel, Intermix Nation.

    xoxo

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One Trackback

  1. By What Is New Adult Fiction? | BOOKFINDS on January 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    [...] twenties navigating the difficult dating scene and the newly entered workforce. According to the Lulu Blog, “New Adult was coined by St. Martin’s Press as a midway between adult literary fiction and [...]

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