Thursday, March 29, 2012
New Adult? Upper YA? No Market?
This topic is very near and dear to my heart because I’m coming across this time and time again as I interact with literary agents and publishers. The 18 to 22 year old age room is not a target audience in fiction books. My main character for Second Sight is 21 and lacks the marketability of a young adult novel with a teen lead.
When I went to college, I definitely came across this problem with finding books that fit with my age group. We weren’t quite “adults” with full-time jobs and familial responsibilities, but we weren’t exactly ‘kids” either. My roommate used to tease me for reading a series called “Making Out.” (Look it up, the books were AWESOME lol). So, where exactly do books with college age main characters fit?
A couple of years ago, there was this big hoopla over St. Martin’s Press looking for “new adult” genre books. These novels were supposed to be targeted at the upper YA audience. Nothing lately have been released about this imprint, but hopefully crossover novels with a broad age range will begin to pop up at more traditional publishing houses.
So, what’s a writer to do? I’ve been told to either make my MC a teen or drop the YA label. But when you change a character’s age from 21 to a teen aren’t you compromising many of the main components in the novel? Leaving the paranormal stuff aside, teens and college age students have completely different lifestyles and problems.
The other possibility is dropping the young adult genre label altogether and marketing the book simply as a paranormal romance. This would probably make the most sense, but I think many of the feelings and issues would resonate with YA readers.
My feelings right now are either to go with a smaller publishing house with upper YA novels or self-publish. You’ll hear differing opinions on the effectiveness of small presses which I’ve discussed in a previous post. My hope is that one day this won’t be a problem and crossover new adult novels will be more commonplace.