I'd written a rough draft of this post last week and shelved it, but Lisa at Read. Write. Repeat and Shelli at Market my Words asked me some great questions yesterday that set the light bulb a'glowin'. :)
When your protagonist is a twenty year old girl-woman questioning her ingrained values, it's tough to choose between Young Adult and Adult. Do I think a high school freshman will enjoy (or care about) reading Kat's issues in college? Maybe. Will a thirty five year old? Again, I say maybe. I'm twenty eight and tend to think I have a lot of my freshman self in me. It battles with the forty year old I sometimes think I need to be to deal with 'big girl' responsibilities. I'm a middle-of-the-roader, and that's kind of what your twenties are like. All my opinion, of course, and based strictly on my own experiences.
So, I starting googling a genre that perches above YA, but below Adult. There's isn't one, but there is. New Adult. It exists thanks to St Martins' Press, but you won't find it labeled at your local Barnes and Noble.
Check out this article and then this one. I know, lots of links, sorry! The long-and-short of them if you don't have time is that New Adult embraces that cranky transition period between teenager and adult. It's basically graduation day. When I gave my valedictorian speech in high school (we already established that I'm a big nerd, right? Right), it was all about Changes. How no matter where we go next, college or the workforce or the military or anywhere else, we all have big LIFE decisions that no one else can make for us. Blahblahblah, not a dry eye in the house, but should the world of reading specifically recognize this period as its own genre?
From a marketing perspective, I say absolutely not. You're telling customers that readers between 16 and 25 will enjoy this book, and now you've seriously limited your potential readers. I do realize that isn't a hard-and-fast rule. I myself love a little Ralph S. Mouse on occasion, but it might take a colossal marketing revolution to create a New Adult shelf.
Now, from the writer's perspective, YES PLEASE. :) Shelli (link above) made an excellent point yesterday that YA usually maxes out at 18 years old. High school. Middle grade is self explanatory, and Adult is, well, everything else, right?
I've gone long, and I apologize, but here's the million dollar question...
How do you pitch/query a New Adult novel when the genre isn't recognized? Comment, comment, comment.
Be safe if you'll be in winter wonderland weather today, and check out my FLY TO 500 Contest if you love prizes!