Monday, October 22, 2012

New Sub-Genre of Romance

I recently came across a new sub-genre of romance: New Adult. In my quest for an in-depth definition of this new sub-genre, I came across this blog from September 16, 2012 by NA Alley.

The basic definition of New Adult is that it starts when Young Adult ends and ends when Adult starts. By this I mean, for a contemporary fiction novel, the age range for the protagonists is 19–25. There are plenty of people who would say that 19 is really YA and not NA, and in our modern times of the 2010s, the upper range for NA should include the very young 30 also.

The definition gets tricky where historical fiction is concerned. Take Regency-set romances: heroines typically are 17 or 18 on the lower end and by historical society standards, they're adults, not young unattached independent adults (i.e., NA) but full-fledged adults. So would these books come under NA or A? Well, according to NA Alley, it depends on the emotional maturity of the characters.

For heat level in a NA romance, expect the same levels as elsewhere in romance, namely, sweet, sensual, spicy, and erotic.

I hasten to add that contemporary NA is not chick-lit, or rather, it doesn't have to be chick-lit. It can involve all sorts of human life situations and events, just so long as the emotional maturity level and ages of the protagonists remains at the early adulthood level.

For author promotion efforts, NA Alley recommends that writers seek college bookstores and newspapers and NA-friendly social networks.

The NA category is so new that it's not a classification that's widely known even within the publishing industry. So you cannot walk up to a Barnes & Noble employee and ask where they have these books shelved. They're most likely going to be shelved with the adult books.

Note: As of today, Harlequin's Carina Press is open for submissions in the New Adult category.