Difference between Young Adult, New Adult and Adult?

SashaMcallister

Active Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
41
My book is probably good for anyone age 16-100 (maybe a smarter-than-average 16 year old). There's no sex, very little language, but it has some mature/dark themes and a lot of violence (although the violence is not overly descriptive/graphic). Which catagory should I market it to agents/publishers as?
 
Last edited:

Guanazee

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
74
Location
California
I believe New Adult is a short-lived market on its way out. YA is in the children's market and that market usually has entirely different agents and publishers. Is everything else you write firmly adult?

If you didn't purposefully write the book for the children's market then its likely you'll be better off in the adult market. But look at MSWLs and comps to find a fit.
 

luriantimetraveler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Messages
84
I believe New Adult is a short-lived market on its way out. YA is in the children's market and that market usually has entirely different agents and publishers. Is everything else you write firmly adult?

If you didn't purposefully write the book for the children's market then its likely you'll be better off in the adult market. But look at MSWLs and comps to find a fit.
Agree — everything I've heard from editor interviews is that NA is...not a long-lived category (and in terms of where books are sold/libraries — there don't tend to be separate NA sections...).

Age of protagonist matters some, but as @Dragonlady said, theme is much more important. YA (I'm a teen librarian so this is my NICHE) tends to focus on identity development as a young person separates from their family, often while they clash with the outside world. Without denigrating YA lit, I would also add that much of contemporary YA fantasy (if you're writing fantasy) is that the worldbuilding tends to create systems that are black & white (good is good, bad is bad — which is developmentally very appropriate!). I've found that adult spec fic/fantasy tends to have more nuanced ideas around good and bad. But that's just VERY GENERAL strokes.
 
Last edited:

Juliana

Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
Supporter
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
4,954
Location
Connecticut, USA
Yes to much of what was already said!

YA is not just about protagonist age but about capturing the sort of thoughts/fears/dilemmas that teen readers can identify with (even though YA has a huge adult readership, too). It's a marketing bracket, so you need to think about if it attends the demands/needs of the readership.

Lots of adult fantasy has teen protagonists (or MCs who start out as teens); this doesn't make it YA. :)
 

Top