Learning As We Go: New Adult & The Digital Revolution
Posted by Steven Lochran
I’ve been thinking about the difference between New Adult and Young Adult fiction this week. For a few years now I’ve been kicking around a story idea that, when I first heard about this blossoming genre called “New Adult”, seemed to fit the idea like a….can I say “glove” and not have my writer’s licence revoked for dabbling in blatant clichés? Yes? Okay. It fit like a glove.
Or at least I thought it did. The longer the New Adult genre has had to gestate, the more it’s been reduced to “Young Adult with sex scenes”. Worse, booksellers seem to be struggling to work out where to shelve New Adult titles, which can’t be placed with the kids books but get lost in the General Fiction section.
The suggestion would be to create a separate sub-section on the Young Adult shelves marked New Adult, but this creates extra work for the store for a genre that hasn’t yet proven that it has a dedicated market and warrants the effort.
It’s a shame, because I think there’s a great deal of potential for New Adult. As buzzwordy and marketing-driven as that term sounds at first, I think it correctly captures the mindset of the high school graduate/first year undergrad who’s out there looking for stories to read that reflect all the pressures and challenges they’re facing as they make that transition into adulthood.
But perhaps I’m being too Old World in my thinking about this. Shelving isn’t as much of an issue for e-books, and if the readership for a title is from the Millenial generation, who’s to say a bricks-and-mortar store would be their first destination in searching out a New Adult book?
As with everything in the Digital Revolution, we’re learning as we go. My sincere hope would be that this genre is used for more than Romance + Naughty Bits and actually takes advantage of its potential for looser boundaries and richer thematic material.
Not that I’m opposed to Romance + Naughty Bits. In fact, I may go copyright that as a book title right now…
In case you haven’t checked the Events page in a while (and really, why would you?), I’ll be at Eltham Library on October 20 (aka THIS Sunday) with George Ivanoff. We’ll be discussing Vanguard Prime: War Zone, taking questions from the audience, and then leading a workshop on Where Ideas Come From, which will cover genre, story structure, and creating characters. Bookings can be made through Eltham Bookshop. I’ll be bringing lollies with me, so expect plenty of sugary bribes to be made from the front of the room.
Listening: Champagne Supernova by Oasis
Reading: Gamers’ Quest by George Ivanoff, The Tournament by Matthew Reilly
Watching: ER Season 3, Adventure Time
EDITED TO ADD: I meant to mention that I’m actually using my Tumblr account now. I continue on in my cluelessness, however, by basically running it like it’s a Pinterest account, but if you’re curious to see what material I’m drawing on for my writing, then check it out; http://stevenlochran.tumblr.com/