Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Adult (or I Guess This is Growing Up*)

*with apologies to Blink 182

Tip of the Day: Get ready for the WriteOnCon Luck 'O the Irish Pitch Fest in March! Start prepping your pitches now and get feedback in February. Get details on various book blogger sites.

As any YA writer who pays attention to the wide cast of the internets knows, the subject of New Adult has been gaining more and more attention.

If you do need to catch up, the awesome bloggers at School Library Journal's Adult Books 4 Teens (more specifically this post here; and you can search for "new adult" and get more hits) talk about the topic, as do the writers at NA Alley.

The pov I'm using to write this post is from my YA Librarian position, and the format I'm focusing on for the New Adult materials is print books, and the definition of New Adult I'm going to use is from NA Alley:

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature —- meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence —- a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction —- and true adulthood.

Protagonists typically fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

In my role at a public library with a specialty in materials for grades 6-12, the idea of New Adult as a focus from publishers is both fabulously awesome and a tidge bit daunting.

First, why the idea of NA rocks:

1. As an 18-22 year old college student, I remember it being difficult to find books that related to my life experience, and although today there are more titles that cover that time period in a young adult's life, there is still a gap compared to those titles focusing on older and younger age brackets.

2. As a 16-17 year old high school student, I remember it being difficult to find books that related to the life experiences I expected for myself (college), and again, there is still a gap compared to those titles focusing on other age brackets.

3. As a YA Librarian, I love reading, compiling, and recommending the Alex Awards titles and highlighting them in my YA area even though they are published by adult imprints and purchased by the Adult Services Librarian and her budget for the reasons listed below -- although those Alex Award titles don't often reflect the NA definition above.

4. I'm sure a number of great authors have NA stories in them, and that it is difficult for them to find publishers, so it is great for there to be a wider opportunity for stories that would be loved and appreciated by readers.

Now, why the idea of NA is a tidge bit daunting:

1. If YA imprints pick up NA titles, I can purchase them with my YA budget and shelve the books in my YA section because it spans grades 6-12...BUT if NA imprints become their "own thing" and the price point is higher than YA titles, it will be trickier for me to stretch my budget (since my budget is based on YA prices).

2. If adult imprints pick up NA titles, I COULD purchase them with my YA budget, but most likely the Adult Services Librarian and her budget would have to purchase them due to the price point...and I might have to continuously recommend these titles to her since they may be off her radar.

3. If the adult budget buys the NA titles, then they will be shelved with the adult books, interfiled by author, so without a pathfinder for readers, the books will not stand out.

4. Even though my YA Area is for grades 6-12, some parents/teachers/readers may complain that "risque" NA titles for 18-year-olds should not be in the same area as books for 12-year-olds (even though I don't have a problem with it).

Overall, I will embrace the New Adult books as they come down the pike, and take each reviewed/recommended title on a case-by-case basis to see which library division should purchase it/where it should be shelved, and time will tell how successful any of these marketing attempts turn out to be.

What are your thoughts on New Adult titles in libraries and where they should be shelved?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

No comments: