I keep hearing about this genre called new adult fiction, a.k.a. fiction for and about people from ages 18 through their early or mid-20s. From a reader's perspective, I can certainly see a gap between the young adult market and the adult market- there are fewer books out there about people fresh out of high school plowing through college or their first job. Though I've seen books about college life (e.g. SWEET VALLEY UNIVERSITY) or first jobs (e.g. THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA), the former has often been written as YA and the latter is usually marketed as adult fiction or chick lit.
Some bloggers have mentioned St. Martin's Press attempt to launch the new adult genre by hosting a contest for writers of this genre. But the big question centers on whether new adult fiction is currently considered a legitimate genre among industry folk.
In a blog post, writer and lit agent intern C.A. Marshall shares her ideas on why the new adult genre hasn't really taken off but encourages writers to write what they want to write because "great books are great books." While Sarah LaPolla, an agent with Curtis Brown, Ltd. acknowledges in a blog post that the new adult crowd "deserve their own literature," she shares her reasons as to why new adult isn't a marketable genre...yet.
At WriteOnCon last week, I joined a chat where I asked a panel of industry professionals- three agents and one editor- if they thought there will be a legitimate market for the new adult genre. One agent responded that there is a legitimate market for this. But another agent said that readers find college characters harder to root for. The vibe I got from the overall responses was that it would be nice if there was a market for new adult fiction, but it's not something that has potential to really take off. (The editor recommended a book that she liked which could qualify as new adult called WHERE SHE WENT.)
It's always helpful to know what industry professionals think. I'm cautiously optimistic and hopeful for the future of new adult writing. I have a lot of stories in this genre I'd love to tell.
Have you ever had any story ideas set immediately after high school, in college, or in the post-college work setting? Can you think of any published books out there that qualify as new adult?