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To date, however, the majority of titles being marketed as New Adult are being published by either adult or YA imprints: Little, Brown’s YA line Poppy recently released Sophie Flack’s by Gemma Burgess.
Some industry insiders argue that New Adult should simply be included in adult fiction.
What started as a largely grassroots phenomenon driven by readers and the savvy self-publishing authors willing to give them what they’re looking for is becoming increasingly mainstream.
Traditional publishers are following suit using many of the same techniques, relying on targeted packaging and social media marketing to reach the New Adult audience in the absence of designated shelf space.
There’s one other prominent area of debate about the growth of New Adult fiction, and that’s the question of how much sexual content is appropriate in a genre that could so easily hold crossover appeal to the younger YA audience.
There has been public criticism that the genre is merely “sexed-up YA,” and that unscrupulous marketers are using erotically charged themes to entice teens to buy their New Adult books.
“They wouldn’t be successful in YA and they wouldn’t find an audience in adult. It seems the 18–24-year-old had been forgotten in literature.” For Grove and many others, that in-between time is one of the most exciting periods of personal growth, full of tension, mystery and joy—all of which is ripe ground for fiction.
“The mindset is different in New Adult,” Grove says.
The new adult brings their young adult experiences and discoveries to a new level, and they get to choose the adult they want to become.” Random House has also launched a New Adult imprint, the digital-only Flirt.But Grove is optimistic that dedicated New Adult sections are on the horizon, in large part thanks to the Web.“When bookstores eventually find a place for NA novels, it will be because the category has been so popular in the electronic world,” she says.While some skeptics have asserted that that sounds suspiciously like repackaged “chick lit,” there are key differences—notably, characters skewing younger, and the existence of New Adult subgenres, such as historical (as in Allison Rushby’s ). Martin’s Press launched a contest calling for novel submissions that would appeal to “new adult” readers in their early 20s. Martin’s publisher at large Dan Weiss, the experiment generated instant excitement among authors and readers alike.“I had known for years that older readers were reading [young adult novels],” Weiss says.