Blog Me MAYbe
May I tell you something about the New Adult category?
NA Alley hopes that everyone had a good weekend! Welcome back to another week of Blog Me MAYbe.
Last week, Juliana posted here about NA. I also want to discuss some of my views on the emerging category, so here we go. I really hope that those of you who may not like the idea of the NA will give this post a chance.
I have heard and seen a lot of resistance from authors and readers regarding the NEW ADULT category. The main point in the resistance, from what I can gather, is that they feel that adding NA restricts readers and authors more and that those who are a part of the NA world are causing more restrictions.
Here’s the thing: The New Adult category is a response to agents, editors and publishers. Honestly, at this point the NA category isn't a choice for those who want to remain true to their vision.
NA has formed because there hasn’t been any other choice. NA has formed because the very market that doesn’t have the bookshelf space to sell NA—and therefore making publishing NA in the traditional manner very difficult (see Juliana’s post)—has pushed out novels because they don’t fall perfectly into the traditional categories.
Personally, I would have been fine having my “NA” novels in the upper YA or regular adult category. And I know quite a few other writers who agree. After all, there is a ton of upper YA that crosses into NA and a lot of “regular” adult that could also be considered YA. But if the “NA” is being pushed out because it doesn’t fall into a traditional category, then it needs to be recognized as its own.
But here is what happens (often) to those who try to publish novels viewed as NA:
They are told to lower the age of the characters (which would also cause the rest of the novel to be reevaluated because you can’t change ages much without needing to reevaluate the character’s goals, motivations and reactions) so that they fit into YA or to up the ages (and often times add more sex or sexual elements) so that it fits into adult.
New Adult isn’t something that was created to restrict readers or writers. It was created because the publishing world left no choice. It is a REACTION and a RESPONSE.
Maybe some writers are willing to change the ages, and maybe that works for some stories. Though, I do believe that if you can simply make a 22-year-old into a 16 or 17-year-old without making some serious changes in the novel something is wrong. I’ve wondered how much agents and publishers think of that when they suggest changing the ages because the reality is that if there is that much of a drastic age change, the story isn’t going to be the same story.
But for those writers who want to tell the story they want to tell, well, now there is an option. The publishing world is what restricted readers and writers, and New Adult provides a way for those writers to write the stories they want and actually will make it even less restrictive for readers.
And, for those who do want to read about a very important time in our lives, then what’s wrong with giving them a direction to look in? We have it for teens, why not for the next and just as important stage of life?