New Adult – Everyone’s talking about it, but is there really a consensus on what it means?
It certainly doesn’t look that way. Most people who are supporting the New Adult “genre” use the definition given by NAAlley – after all, they’re the experts, right? They list typical ages as being between 18-26. Other places seem to think it can go up to 28. People mature at different rates so it’s hard to label. We all know people who’ve had their quarter-century crisis…and then those who are well in their 30’s before waking up to find their little niche in life.
The way I see it, New Adult is a demographic. Within this demographic can live different genres – romance, thrillers, paranormal romance, scifi, etc. It still lives in the adult genres of fiction, but is a subset targeting a set niche – people (mostly women at this point) between the ages of 18-28. If you want to break it down further, it’s the coming of age for adults. Before life is settled into the happy white picket fence, successful career, and 2.5 children. New Adult is the bridge from YA to Adult.
If YA is about finding one’s self, NA is about finding one’s niche in the world. Finding love, trying a career, even deeper soul searching than what is possible at 16, looking for that stable ground.
Do I think it will ever truly get marketed that way? Shrug. My psychic powers are missing.
However, do I think it’s a handy way to explain your novel now, especially if you’re self publishing? Hell yeah.