I noticed this week's Publisher's Marketplace included a brand new deal category.
My deal was listed under it, like this:
Christina Lee's debut ALL OF YOU, a New Adult with a virgin hero, to Jesse
Feldman at NAL, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in Fall
2013, by Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency (World English). European translation: email@example.com Asian translation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to this, New Adult deals were listed elsewhere, like in Women's fiction or under Young Adult. Once Publisher's Marketplace made this distinction and people took notice, Twitter was abuzz with conversations about it. Some supportive, others not. Which didn't surprise me. Change is disconcerting and confusing. And leads to questions and misconceptions.
But the overriding question I heard on social media was: What exactly is New Adult?
As an avid reader and writer of New Adult, I thought I'd throw in my two cents.
First,much like Young Adult, New Adult has implied age parameters. New Adult protagonists are roughly between the ages of 18-26. Just like Young Adult used to be included under the Children's section until it was defined, New Adult could be classified separate from adult, chick lit, or romance. There is wiggle room, however, which I will mention later.
Second, the theme of New Adult would be: new found INDEPENDENCE. The protagonists have graduated high school and gone on to college. If not college, they've entered the workforce or some other form of higher education, maybe joined the military, and are attempting to make it on their own. They're experiencing life for the first time, without certain parental, social, or age restrictions. They are wondering what the heck they're going to do to make ends meet and how they're going to do that successfully.
They're balancing all of this new found FREEDOM with sexuality, alcohol and drug experimentation, and adult peer groups (different than high school peer groups, but college has it's own set of peer pressures), and sometimes even marriage and pregnancy. These issues might be front and center in New Adult novels, and other times, they're in the background.
Third,New Adult novels are NOT ONLY Contemporary Romances. Romance is only one of the genres in this category. It just happens to be the most public and popular genre recently. Many talented New Adult authors paved the way by self-publishing and finding a very enthusiastic audience. The genre took off like wildfire--leading some of them to a big six publishing contract (Tammara Webber and Cora Carmack, for example) and/or status on bestseller lists.
But, there are other New Adult genres out there (paranormal, fantasy, historical, science fiction) that are popular and/or finding footing. The exciting thing is, there's room to grow these audiences.
So, New Adult is not sexed-up YA, erotic YA, or only about virgins and sexual escapades (there is plenty of sex in YA, already). There are different levels of sexual encounters you'll find in NA novels, from no sex to explicit sex, but this depends on the genre and/or themes inherent to the plot. I chose to write about a male virgin in my NA Contemp Romance, but there are other overarching themes.
Fourth, my New Adult novel, as well many others I've read, tend to be written in first person point of view (present or past tense). Much like young adult novels, this point of view makes the characters and the story line more accessible and personal. But I suspect this won't always be the case.
Fifth, just like in Young Adult, there is crossover, depending on the audience and subject matter. For example, HOPELESS by Colleen Hoover and CRASH by Nicole Williams, have protagonists in high school, but the books are considered New Adult by many. Much like SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller and WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman, have protagonists post high school, but they're considered upper YA.
It just happens, based on different factors. And there's nothing wrong with that. Except, people might get confused, which is why parameters help. Mostly, they help readers find the kind of books they want to read, and that's a good thing!
I can FINALLY tell the whole world my wonderful news!
I had to keep it secret a whole month. I know, I know, feel sorry for me. *wink*
Anyway, a few weeks back, I completed a NEW ADULT contemporary novel. I'd been reading this genre like crazy, loving it, and felt an overwhelming need to contribute something to it. It was a departure from my other Young Adult novels, but not a huge one. In fact, the very first novel I'd ever written back in 2008 would have been considered New Adult--but thankfully, that one will never see the light of day. We'll just call it *practice*.
When I finished writing this novel, I had a special feeling about it. Like maybe this might be *the one* to find readers and a good home.
My agent loved it. My CP's and betas gave it two thumbs WAY up. I went on submission to publishing houses. And within a very short week, I had several editors interested!
I am THRILLED to announce that I sold my New Adult novel,ALL OF YOU, to PENGUIN Books, in a pre-empt, in a two book deal! *YEAH, BABY* *wipes away the tears*
Here's the announcement from Publisher's Weekly: Lee’s New Adult Goes to NAL In a deal at
Penguin’s NAL imprint this week, Jesse Feldman bought world English rights to
two books by Christina Lee, including the author’s new adult title.
Agent Sara Megibow, at Nelson Literary, represented the author and said six
publishers made offers on the book before she accepted “an aggressive preempt”
from Feldman. NAL will be releasing the book as All of You—it’s about a
nursing student who meets a handsome guy at a party, then
discovers he’s a virgin—in September 2013, with a second book, a tie-in,
scheduled for early 2014. In an unusual twist, NAL plans to make the series an
e-only one, exercising its print option if it feels there is a market for
the book in that format.
This quote rings true--despite not doing very well with instability, uncertainty, unresolved issues, or imprecise data.
It requires patience, living in the gray, for an indefinite amount of time.
But along that blurred horizon lies the hint of a promise. That things will grow and take shape the way you might have envisioned them, or maybe not. Maybe lead you down a different path, an even richer one.
Like that saying: LUCK is PREPAREDNESS meeting OPPORTUNITY.
It requires a chance taken, a movement forward, a dream set, a door opened.
If you can exist, thrive even, in that instability for a bit longer, stuff can happen. Good stuff.
As writers, we want to make sure our readers can see the gaps, the fractures, the holes. To infer on their own what may happen next or what might have been. To go on their own trip of discovery, awareness, unearthing, with your characters. HAVE A GOOD WEEK!