Hi there!

Remember how NA Alley does a yearly survey, like the survey you filled out earlier this year that was for 2014? Well, today we have the results. The link to the full survey and results are at the bottom of the post.

Here are a few highlights:

Do you consider NA a category or a genre?
Category 158 80.6%
Genre 37 18.9%
Other 1 0.5%

The majority (approx 77%) also places NA protagonist in the 18-26 range. The 16-28 range comes next at close to 30%. A few people also noted that they feel the themes are more of a deciding factor than the age group, which brings us to the next question…

What distinguishes NA?
Tone 49 25%
Theme 52 26.5%
Maturity of content 112 57.1%
Life stage of protagonist 148 75.5%
POV 12 6.1%
Other 8 4.1%

Some of the other responses included were vocab used, graphic sex, and issues in the book.

"NA is just sexed-up YA." [How do you feel about these statements?]
Strongly Disagree 48 24.5%
Disagree 98 50%
I'm not sure 16 8.2%
Agree 30 15.3%
Strongly Agree 4 2%

In the Public Sentiment department, I'm glad to report the majority do NOT feel NA is sexed-up YA, or that sex is required in NA to "be NA." People are on the fence in regards to NA novels being formulaic. To see the statistics for the rest of the sentiments--including diversity, covers, etc--clink on the link below.


The majority of survey takers were between 25-37 years old, with 35-44 coming in second.

Reading Habits

  • New Adult was the favorite category (as expected ;) )
  • Contemporary Romance was the favorite genre, followed by paranormal romance (29.6% and 15.8%, respectfully)
  • Overall, close to 40% of people said they learned about NA through some form of social media.

And, one of my favorites

Which genre(s) would you most like to see more of in NA?
Adventure 63 32.1%
Contemporary Romance 54 27.6%
Dystopian 77 39.3%
Erotica 25 12.8%
Fantasy 92 46.9%
Historical 47 24%
Horror 36 18.4%
Inspirational 16 8.2%
Multicultural Romance 53 27%
Mystery 52 26.5%
Paranormal 75 38.3%
Paranormal Romance 84 42.9%
Romantic Suspense 64 32.7%
Science Fiction 64 32.7%
Space Opera 26 13.3%
Sports 20 10.2%
Steampunk 41 20.9%
Suspense/Crime 42 21.4%
Thriller 52 26.5%
Western 11 5.6%
Women's Fiction 30 15.3%
Other 15 7.7%

Click here to see the full survey results (with pretty charts!)

Here's what a few survey takers wanted to share, and have to say about NA's past, future, content etc

I think NA is in its infancy, soon to grow to the stature of YA fiction. Personally, I would love to see more male protagonists and more NA fiction that includes an LGBT protagonist or primary character.

Less abusive boyfriends and no billionaires. The genre is over run with rich bad boys.

It wasn't until earlier this week that I had even heard of NA. I was talking with a friend, who is an author, about how I was having a difficult time finding books that related to where I am in my life (23, recent college grad, etc). YA was feeling a little too young, and "regular fiction" was feeling too distant. I am so relieved to discover that there is a category that (I hope) is for me, and hope to dive into a great NA book soon!

I would love to see a spotlight shone on NA authors of different genres than just contemporary romance. I have read an NA horror and an NA mystery and I loved them.

I am so fed up with the bad boy hero and the virgin heroine trope that seems to be dominating a majority of NA books. We're writers for God's sake. Let's use our unique talent and get creative! Confession: If I read a blurb that hints at this trope, I won't buy the book.

Sadly I think men are especially disadvantaged, both as readers & writers of NA. Largely because of the heavy romance & slutty book covers. NA needs to get more literary.

Many people have the distorted view that all NA should be steamy and graphic. That without the sex, it's really YA. So when a NA horror is queried the agents say it won't sell to a publisher. The self-publishing arena is the only way to currently change this trend.

While I'm in no means anti-sex, I've noticed a trend. NA books have TOO MUCH sex. There are only so many ways to write sex scenes to make them sound unique. I've noticed that I've just started skimming the sex scenes, because they're so... blah. I never in my life thought I'd say that. Two to three sex scenes per book is more than enough. Any more than that and I find myself skimming. Indie authors need to lay off the sex and have more of a story to go along with their sex.

2015 should be the year selective color NA book covers die—especially ones of the almost humping variety.

I hate that all that keeps coming out is the same 3 or 4 basic troupe laden books that are all contemporary and full of college girls getting with stupid rich billionaires that think they're Christen Grey with out the Red room of pain. Or it's the girl running from a past that finds a damaged guy. Why not have a hero or two who are not running from something or emotionally stunted?

I thought it wasn't going to be something I'd like, but I am happy to say that I do.

I'm in strong support of NA becoming a real catigory because I feel like there's a missing period of time between YA and adult fiction. I think that the stage of life that NA covers is very important. That stage of discovering oneself and entering new situations and growing. I feel like NA has the potential to be very character driven stories and those are some of my favorites. BUT at the moment I have trouble taking NA seriously because the majority of NA in the 'spotlight' right now is very cliche, very sexualized stories that have little substance and I feel like that's giving the category a bad name. I think a lot of people see NA as a genre right now, a synonym for erotica or romance novels, so I think it's important that NA gets many different types of stories so that we expand the title into a category rather than a genre. There needs to be general romance NA, and then there needs to be sci-fi dystopia NA. We need variety, the same as the variety in YA and in adult fiction.

At first I was little unsure of NA (much like YA in a way) as I always thought it was silly anyway to separate teen fiction from adult fiction. With that said, knowing what New Adult is now, I'm glad it's becoming more popular.

When I think of New Adult I mainly view it as any book that has more mature themes and story lines not just sexual content, but content like strong language, desperate emotional standpoints and situations, trauma, desperate family situations, eating disorders, drug use. Basically content that many people under like 16 have a hard time processing or maybe have not yet had much education or exposure too. But really appropriate age for such content is a person to person situation.

I would love, love, LOVE to see more NA taking place in locations outside of the U.S.! My personal favorite NA books are ones that take place - or at least start - during study abroad or something similar. I feel like studying abroad has been a HUGE part of my experience as a person in the NA age range and has helped shape the person I am today, and I would love for that to be explored more in NA books. Cookies for books that take place in non-English speaking countries! Not many things make you feel as proud as when you can finally get around a non-English speaking country without any help. Also, multilingual hot male love interests? Bring. It. On. One more thing: I'd enjoy seeing characters who are not defined by tragic or otherwise terrible events in their past. I don't mind characters with dark pasts, but I don't want that to define them! Where's the story where the girl's ex-boyfriend cheated on her but she's moved on now and is of the "I don't need a man but I wouldn't mind having one" mentality? Or the story where the guy used to have a drug addiction but has been clean for years and he gets into a romance with a girl whose dad used to be an addict and so she can understand him? I think it'd be awesome if NA had more books like SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - where there's darkness but it's dealt with in a light and funny way. Actually, now that I think about it, I'd be willing to pay almost anything to get an NA similar to SILVER LININGS!

I love that there are books with college age characters. I like reading books with characters that are my age.

For shorter stories lower your price. There is nothing more annoying than paying full price for a short story. If I buy your book and it ends up being shorter than average, if I have paid full price for it, I will NEVER buy from you as an author again.

NA is the only contemporary I'll read (as I'm not a big YA contemp fan), however, after reading quite a few NA contemps, it's becoming rather competitive, the formats of their stories. The only difference are the characters and slightly different situations. I'd rather start reading something more original and something that doesn't follow the 'NA outline', if you will...

I love NA I think it needs to have sex in it because of the age it's targeted at but it doesn't have to have it on every other page either. NA is my favorite to read because that's the age where you are figuring out what you want to be and who you are. Falling in love possibly for the first time. Experiencing life on your own terms.

My observation is that NA has flourishes with the help of ereaders and self-pubbing. With this in mind, my only suggestion for erasing some of the stereotypes surrounding NA is to elevate the quality of writing and formatting (and platforms like NA Alley, Indie-Visible, etc) definitely help in raising the status quo...

I think this is a very unique time in life: in your early 20s you're on your own but not completely and most people go through some level of confusion about what their relationships, job and life should look like and about what they want. Not just people in college: everyone in this phase of life. It seems like traditional publishers are afraid to take a chance on this genre unless it's an already bestselling indie author they can snatch up, but really it's a huge gap in the literature that should be filled. Plus, the Harry Potter generation is growing up! They want more mature books. A friend of mine (22 years old) the other day said to me, "I wish there was something between YA and Adult. I feel like neither really fit me anymore." She was so excited when I told her NA existed! However, I do feel like a lot of the stuff out there is pretty low quality romance with too much of an emphasis on smut. There's huge potential to dig into sticky issues with this genre. Let's help it expand and get better!

I've always held that NA could be so much more than what (agents) have regarded as "marketable" formula, that is sexed-up YA. It's depressing, actually. Think of it! The intelligence of budding adults, the fresh (and stinging) exposure to reality w/ the vibrancy of youth still intact. To then fall back on "will they or won't they" is depressing + banal. About "feeling" the sentiments I checked: I THINK this is how NA is regarded; I FEEL as if it shouldn't. I BELIEVE it could be so much more...BUT! When covers show otherwise...? Hard to convince otherwise. As a WRITER? I'd like to change that.

I just found NA about 2 months ago & I love it!

I'd love to read more NA, but as it stands, the genre seems to be swamped with derivative crap. If I see another innocent, virginal, good girl get with a jerk with a heart of gold, I might hurl something.

Even though its amazing the awareness that themes such as rape get touched upon, NA tends to "cure" it with a guy. It doesn't work like that and every other NA features that.

Amazing books, cant stop reading!!!!!!

i write those three genres above and I feel like they don't exist in NA! As targeted NA reader, I know that others want books like these too.

I feel that right now NA is mostly just like YA with a bunch of sex or precieved as that way, usually revolving around college aged students. I wish that NA of other genres would be promoted more. I would love to see more NA fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction.

While I feel like genre fiction doesn't lend itself to the NA category very well, it'd be nice to see NA expand beyond contemporary romance.

I feel like everyone tries to make NA about romance and sex but it can be SO MUCH MORE if people gave other genres a chance. The reason why other genres aren't as popular is because readers keep buying the romance, so many writers write what sells. That won't change until more writers stand up and say "I'm going to MAKE a change and write the genre I write, even if it doesn't sell right now" and readers start pushing for genres outside of romance and erotica.

Thank You!!!!  (Awww,we thank you too!- The Alley) 

I think NA gave younger readers a place in the world of romance. I felt that most romance novels were aimed more at older women. NA gave me something to enjoy as well.

I love NA!

NA has a terrible reputation as sexed up YA, but I'm afraid it's true. Take out the erotica and hopefully NA will stick around a long time not just flash and burn. It's such an important time in life and there are far more fronts to explore than sexuality.

Romance is an expected component of NA, and even explicit romance, and I'd like to see more diversity and genres overall within the category, much like YA.

It's growing! I'm seeing many new authors dabbling with NA stories in genres outside of contemporary fiction. Readers seem receptive. Dedicated NA readers are noticing as well. That being said, I believe the perception of NA in the larger publishing industry is still that it's a niche genre label for sexed up YA contemporary. I believe those perceptions will change in time, albeit slowly.

NA is here to stay.

I love NA, but I'm not 100% sure yet that it's here to stay. I think fresh, quality writing is what will make it get noticed and give it staying power.

There needs to be more NA fiction that isn't focused on romance!

I'm kinda sick of all the NA erotica.

I love the creativity in YA, but I no longer relate to the age range. I can't wait for NA to expand in Speculative Fiction, and I can't wait to see it on the shelf in Barnes and Noble! I would love to read more about characters in my season of life, or even just before (when they are making those critical decisions for the first time as full-fledged adults). I'm excited to see the growth in this genre, and I'm excited to see Traditional Publishers realize its value, and potential in the marketplace.

I think NA needs to break apart from the cliche because it's all becoming one jumbled mess in my head with few stories standing out.

Please stop with the broken characters, especially if they find another broken character, fall in love and fix each other. Over done to death!!!!!!!

And that's it!! Thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

  1. Interesting results. Out of interest, what do people view as the main themes that make a book NA? The answer seems to vary every time I ask someone.

    1. Great question, Tad. The primary themes I most notice in NA are coming of self for the characters--usually with a rejection of who they were, how they were raised, etc. It's less defiance (like in YA) and more out and out rejection and change.

      Defining sexuality is another major theme. NA characters are usually deciding what type of person they're going to be from a sexual perspective. There's experimentation, but usually with more of a purpose--if that makes sense. (Which isn't to say NA has to be about sex, but most will address it.)

      There's also usually a moment when the NA character becomes their own person and steps out of their parent's shadow. Sometimes this happens offstage, but it's usually a focus of NA stories. This may or may not directly involve the parents. (A lot of NA is devoid of parental characters.)

      Again, I'd say making peace with who/what you are is a major theme for NA stories. I've read a lot of NA that has the characters reconciling with difficult things from how they were raised, etc. and becoming a 'whole' person.

      I know for me personally, my New Adult years were the time I really quit trying to fit in and accepted who I was, warts and all. I see that echoed in a lot of NA (which is what keeps me reading and writing it). :-)

    2. Thank you good sir for a detailed response. I can certainly see finding yourself as a running theme. As a side then, you say that a lot of NA books are devoid of parental characters, but do you think that's important? I ask as my current project is nearing completion and I've been pondering whether to market it as NA or not.
      You see, I have 5 POV characters. 3 fit in the 19-25 age bracket and have their own issues to deal with that kinda fit the themes you mention (one dealing with her rough past, one trying to step out of the shadow of the man she viewed as a mrntor/professional father cigure, and one who will need to decide whether to keep accepting his self imposed emotional baggage or start taking risks to advance himself). The other two are 39 and 65 and have different issues to deal with (a life of oppression and trying to live up to the pedestal she's put herself on for the 39 year old and facing his own mortality for the 65 year old).
      So the question is, does giving two older characters a voice negate it being NA or can older characters take centre stage briefly in NA Literature?

    3. Apologies for the poor spelling by the way. I sometimes think my fingers are far too large for touch screen phones.

  2. Great results on the survey! To the person looking for NA overseas, I have a book for you this summer ;)

  3. Always love pouring over these. :-) Great work getting it together, L!

  4. Fantastic post! As an author getting ready to release my NA futuristic novel, this is just the information I needed. Thank you!

  5. Interesting stuff! Thanks for organizing it this year, L. :D

  6. SO excited about this survey. I cannot wait to see what 2015 holds for New Adult!

  7. I'm glad fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, space opera, and steampunk are in demand. These categories overlap each other.


We LOVE hearing from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

NA Alley © 2013. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Blogger