New Adult or YA?

NicoleAisling

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So I've been waffling for a long time on how to market my current book. The characters are all in their early 20s, which at its most basic definition places this in New Adult. I would like to market it as NA, since my target audience is college aged readers. However, a major expectation that a lot of people have with New Adult books is some explicit sex, which my book does not have (and I have no interest in adding it, as it doesn't work with the plot). I don't think I want to market it as adult because it has themes that are very YA/NA (eg. figuring out your place in the world as a young person). Do you think readers will be upset if I advertise it as NA and then there's no spiciness? Should I just call it Young Adult instead?
 

CMBright

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If it doesn't have both young adult (late teen) POV characters and young adult themes, don't market as YA. There have been a lot of discussions on NA as a category, with many saying it either no longer exists as a category or it only applies if there is explicit sex. Personally, I'd shy away from NA. Which leaves the unadorned genre your novel fits in, contemporary, sci-fi, mystery, whatever it is.

At least, that is my understanding from lurking in NA and YA discussions on AW.
 

lilysheaven

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From my understanding, NA is a genre that never really caught on in Traditional Publishing except for the romance scene.

From my research (from many eons ago) it's also mostly self-pubs that market as NA.

Thus, in trad-publishing it's either YA or Adult, but never NA (unless it's romance).

So, in your case, it would be Adult because YA needs a teen protag as CMBright pointed out.

Maybe someone else can shed more light on it :) I never really researched further than that.
 

FirePrince

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Thus, in trad-publishing it's either YA or Adult, but never NA (unless it's romance).
I agree with this.

It's hard to see genres shelved as NA unless it's romance. Most fantasy-romance books are usually shelved as YA even when the characters are above 18 or 19, with a mixture of both the NA and YA voices. I've mostly seen YA and Adult thrillers only.

Try to weigh between the YA themes and NA themes you have and if you think the NA part is higher, market it as adult. Also, I have read YA books with less spice/explicit sex scenes, so, if you think the YA voice shines a lot in your book, market it as YA.
 

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Do you think readers will be upset if I advertise it as NA and then there's no spiciness?

Yes, very much, probably.

At least 60%-70% of them will be. The rest might actually prefer it that way and welcome the unexpected surprise.

NA is heavily associated with Romance and explicit sex scenes, so if you were to market it as NA, I'd suggest warning your readers beforehand by making it very clear that it is a clean NA romance story. That should do the trick. People just looking for spiciness will go find it somewhere else instead of leaving you a bunch of angry, negative reviews that could have been avoided otherwise. And like I said before, there's still an audience for actual clean(ish) NA romance out there. Sometimes, people just want to read a cute, wholesome story between 20-year-olds that isn't all about the sexy times in bed (or anywhere else).
 

mccardey

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Traditional Publishing

trad-publishing
*cough*

It's trade, not trad. You publish to the book trade, or you self-publish (also perfectly legitimate and an excellent choice) or you can legitimately vanity publish as long as you know that that's what you're wanting to do - and why. But trad-publishing is not a thing. You can't publish to a trad because there's no such thing, and you can't really publish to a tradition. That would mean something different.

Per the AW Dictionary -
Trade publishing – Publishers who sell to the book trades, that is, to book stores. Most books that are published for general consumers, including genre fiction, are published by trade publishers. The Big Five publishers are mostly trade publishers (some of them also produce text books). See: What Do Publishers Do?

Traditional publishing – a term without meaning in the publishing industry, popularized by vanity presses and those promoting self-publishing.
 
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I love this topic because I was confused about YA vs. NA and the guidelines. I'm currently writing a YA novel and my protagonist is 17 years old but it starts with her graduating high school so for the rest of the book, she's in college. I was told that I should keep it as YA since NA hasn't really become a category yet. So, I tweaked the more intimate sections so it could be more appropriate for a younger audience.
 
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susanthebookish

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I was looking at Chloe Gong's How I Got My Agent post on her blog, and she mentioned having some trouble with this. The publishing house wanted to market her book (These Violent Delights) as Adult, but she was literally a teenager writing about teens. These Violent Delights doesn't have any explicit romance scenes -- considering it's a retelling of Romeo and Juliette, it doesn't even have that much romance in general -- but the industry was more concerned about the feel of the book and said it "felt" Adult.

I think they ended up marketing it as crossover, which I *think* is the same thing as NA.

Also, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is about a first-year university student, but it doesn't have any explicit scenes, and I'm pretty sure that's YA, too.

I dunno why I keep referencing Chloe Gong on here. I didn't even like These Violent Delights all that much.
 
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Crossover isn’t NA, really. It’s more that it can be marketed as either YA or adult. I’ve only seen that book as YA, but that’s where I shop, so that’s not surprising ;)
 
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NicoleAisling

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Yeah I wouldn't call crossover and NA the same thing.

I've seen a lot of college-set books marketed as YA. I think those should have their own genre, and potentially NA could have been that genre, but it just didn't go in the direction I would have liked. I guess college students at this point is just upper YA (unless it has erotic elements, in which case I would never classify that as YA, even though some people try to).
 
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Jennifer_Laughran

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*cough*

It's trade, not trad. You publish to the book trade, or you self-publish (also perfectly legitimate and an excellent choice) or you can legitimately vanity publish as long as you know that that's what you're wanting to do - and why. But trad-publishing is not a thing. You can't publish to a trad because there's no such thing, and you can't really publish to a tradition. That would mean something different.

Per the AW Dictionary -
This is off-topic, SORRY!

You're technically correct, of course -- but you're tilting at windmills.

Trade Publishing IS the term for what most major publishers do -- books that sell into bookstores are generally speaking "Trade", I sell into the Trade market (as opposed to the Educational market, or the Religious market, both of which are vast and their own things with their own imprints/publishers, different rules and expectations, etc) -- while there's a LITTLE crossover between these markets, the vast majority of books you see at B&N are Trade books from Trade publishers, and that's usually the kinds of books we are talking about on this type of forum.

I'll go further -- "Indie" for a publisher means "an independently owned publisher" -- ie, a publisher that is NOT owned by a major multinational corporation -- rather than "self-published".

That being said: This semantic battle is lost, I'm afraid -- since many MANY self-published authors identify as "indie authors" or say that they are doing "independent/indie publishing", and identify the opposite of that as "traditional publishing" -- I think we have to accept that this has entered the lexicon when referring specifically to self-vs-not-self publishing.
 
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Cyia

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It seems like publishers who take adult-market will also consider NA, but not YA. (At least those were the guidelines on Berkley's open submissions, recently.)
 
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