Monday, December 9, 2013

New Adult, Schmoo Adult

I almost titled this, "Why Categories are for Dummies." But that seemed a bit contrived...

Two important things you should know about me before reading this post:

#1-I used to be a high school English teacher, and
#2-I used to manage a book store.

Both of those jobs I only held for one year in my 20s, but I learned a lot about books and why we need fancy labels for them that seldom fit properly.

NA? YA? Who knows.
Over the weekend, I had a brief, unplanned mini-chat with writer-friend L.M. Augustine (link), who writes really funny romantic comedies. I'm sure you've heard of Two Roads (link).

(Aside, if you haven't, get it--Two Roads is FAB.)

He asked me if it would be okay to include one of my books in a list of "New Adult Books with Nice Guy Heroes and Little or No Sex." (link)

[**Free Tip, writer friends: If a writer-friend ever approaches you about promoting your books for free, the answer is always YES. And always, always follow up with a big THANK YOU.**]

Back to categories. The question became, "Which book?"

New Adult was such a charged category this time last year. Was it "sexed up YA"? Was it a genre dealing with the college years (which were pretty much unexplored at that time in commercial fiction)?
Get me; I am FAB!

Writer-friend Tammara Webber caused a commotion July 2012 with her self-published blockbuster Easy, which focused on a (gasp!) college romance and made the case for the latter definition.

But what about self-published sensations Hopeless by Colleen Hoover or Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay?

Both of them feature main characters who are seniors in high school, but were classified "New Adult."

Personally, I considered them YA in which the characters are dealing with heavy subjects not usually addressed in YA... But hang on just one minute. Is that true?

In my experience (see way up there ^ ^ ^), the most successful YA books often deal with heavy subjects. Anything John Green? Or the Hunger Games? (Actually, I think THG is now being targeted at middle school kids.)

Last week, I was part of a round-table discussion with my buds at YA Confidential (link) on literary vs. commercial fiction and how do we distinguish?

Someone tossed out the idea that "literary" is more character-driven and "commercial" is more plot-driven.

And then we tried to apply that rule, and we all started arguing about how it doesn't work in reality, and then we drifted to male vs. female writers, and then we got into "gratuitous diversity," and then I started rapping.

It was a productive round-table! (My good buddy Matt MacNish is a member, so yanno. I love those guys.)

What's it all about, Alfie? I don't know.

But L.M. Augustine has compiled a great List of "New Adult books with Nice Guy Heroes and Little to No Sex." (link)

We decided The Truth About Letting Go should be a part of the list. It's pretty sexy, it has characters who are both in high school and college, and it deals with heavy subject matter...

New Adult? Get me & decide.
It also has the truest nice-guy hero I think I've ever written in Jordan.

LM also asked "where have you been?" Well, I'm in the cave working on a Top Sekrit Project, reader-friends. I hope one day to share it with you.

In the meantime, here are some Fun Reminders:

-Dragonfly is only 99 cents now! Get started on this fun series that's either New Adult or mature YA... I don't know. (The series grows up with the characters.)

-I have a SWAG STORE! If you want merch or posters or postcards or iPhone cases featuring the covers of any of my books, Go Here (link).

Have a super week, reader-friends! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Paperbacks make great gifts. (wink wink, nudge nudge)

((Hugs)) to all of you! Enjoy your books, regardless of category~


Barbara Watson said...

Great points. As with YA and NA, I think there's a division in middle grade (which right now is only MG and upper MG), but in the library or at a bookstore, there is only MG, unfortunately. But these books really do target different age readers.

Laurel Garver said...

The more books on the market, the more I wish there were sub-sub-sub genre delineations that make sense to both authors and readers. At the moment, it does seem like so much of NA is post-HS/collegiate erotica. I'm glad to hear someone's at least keeping a catalog of clean titles for clean-reads fans.

Old Kitty said...

I can't keep up with all these genres and sub genres!! LOL!!

But it creates discussion and debate and positive writerly vibes so it's all to the good! Take care

Unknown said...

I'd love to be on LM's list. The Minstrel Series books have good guys and no sex...

S.A. Larsenッ said...

You completely just made me think. Ouch!

No, really. You make some valid points. I understand labeling and such, but for me it always come down to content and character. Either way.

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