Hey, gang! Here in the United States, we're moving--albeit VERY slowly in some places--toward spring, but it feels like New Adult literature has already been there for quite some time. In fact, I'd argue the category is entering its first real summer.
In the last year we've gone from sprouting patches of delicate blooms across a budding landscape, to a thriving meadow packed with an abundance of life. And it seems there's no shortage of worker bees (writers and readers) eager to see New Adult spread its boundaries even further.
New Adult is thriving, and that growth has also gotten the attention of larger beasts, namely those who've orchestrated the book business for so many years: traditional publishers.
It's important to remember that while electronic publishing, independent authors, and ravenous readers have certainly played a major part in the development of the category, New Adult's roots come from traditional publication.
Way back in 2009, St. Martin's Press coined the term "New Adult". Via the St. Martin announcement: "We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.”
Though having somewhat slipped from the radar of larger publishers in the years following that announcement, the overwhelming popularity of New Adult in the last two years (One... Two... THREE examples! Ha Ha Ha Any Sesame Street Count fans out there?) has rekindled interest.
So much so that major publishers like Bloomsbury have opened their doors to New Adult, and star literary agents like Sara Migbow and Jordy Albert are searching for the next NA hit.
In fact, our most recent New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter (#NALitChat 9 PM E every Thursdays night ... stop by, say howdy, and give us a follow @NALitChat) was devoted to finding the perfect partner (agent) for your New Adult publishing goals.
We picked the brains of author Cora Carmack (who happened to intern for an agent and publisher before she self-published her debut NA smash hit, Losing It) and author KK Hendin (who runs an awesome agent wish list Tumblr) about what agents are looking for and how to find the right one.
Although NA is clearly gaining viability in traditional publishing circles, some are still a bit uncertain as to what to make of it. The Adventures In YA Publishing blog recently shared this collection of responses from various agents who were asked to define NA and compare it to YA.
The basic consensus seems to be that there isn't a consensus! Some are taking a 'wait and see' approach to New Adult in terms of its longterm appeal outside of self-publishing and romance, while others see it as the birth of a new category that will stay perched as THE natural stepping stone from Young Adult.
So in the face of all this uncertainty, we want to hear from you: What have you observed? Do you think New Adult is gaining traction in traditional publishing? If yes, do you think the attraction will last? What will it mean to the longterm success of New Adult if it is just a fling?