If you're one of my fellow NA Alley contributors, you know that THIS IS PERFECT FOR ME. (L.G. = Self-Proclaimed Speculative Fiction Spokesperson)I pretty much harp about this all the time to to my Alley lovelies. It's not that I'm against contemporary--far from it. I read some contemporary and I even write some contemporary. But my passion really is the fantasy side of things. I love when an author can take the unrealistic--the fantasy--and make it reality.
But this topic goes beyond my preferences and my passions and touches on the fact that books are books and WE, as readers, WANT CHOICES. We as writers want CHOICES. No category has, nor should it have, one genre.
Before we get into this, quick reminder: New Adult is a Category, just like YA and Adult are categories. Each category has multiple genres: fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary etc.
So far, we have seen a lot of contemporary in NA. And that's great. But there are other genres out there. Just within the NA Alley contributors we have writers of many different genres, ranging from dystopian to paranormal to sci-fi.
Here's my theory on why contemporary took off the way it did:Note: I believe that contemporary really helped bring NA to the stage, so to speak.
Disclaimer: This is just my theory. I am in no way indicating this as the view of NA Alley or its contributors. Feel free to ignore any or all of it :)
As we all know, YA had a HUGE paranormal trend. And people eventually got sick of paranormal, just like they do with every trend. It explodes and it seems like it's all people read and all people publish. Publishers want to sell what they know will sell. In that case, it was paranormal. But then publishers also got tired of paranormal and they wanted something new, but once again, it's a business and they still wanted what they knew they would sell. This led to, what I feel, less variety.
Talk about a tough market for non-paranormal and paranormal that didn't fall into the guidelines of what was selling well.
Paranormal became hard to sell. It's still hard to sell. There are always people who want paranormal (raises hand), but the market got saturated.
Agents started wanting contemporary. I saw this on twitter and blogs. They requested it; readers asked for it.
Enter New Adult.
While there was some speculative NA at this time, there was also contemporary. It was a major breath of fresh air from the paranormal YA trend. Why?
- It wasn't paranormal
- It wasn't YA
It was another option for those who had been reading YA and wanted something a little different, with maybe some more mature themes. The want for something new, for contemporary, latched onto NA and contemporary became the thing.
I could go on and on, but there are my thoughts in brief.
And, just like the YA paranormal, trend writers jumped on the contemporary bandwagon. The market sold/sells contemporary and so that's what continues to be published. By the way, trend writers can really make it hard on the rest of us. Resist the trend writing!
It doesn't mean that contemporary is all that is available. It just overshadowed the other options. But those options are wonderful and those other genres are growing in NA. NA is still new and is going to continue to grow. The best thing we can do to add to the number of books in other genres is to read the speculative fiction, and support the market for it.
I think NA has come a long way in a very short time frame, and it's going to continue to go up.
For a look at some non-contemporary books, check out a post from Laure Carter, @LoopyLu, on her BLOG. She makes some great recommendations. You can also check out the Speculative New Adult Fiction page on Goodreads