Laura Howard: The New Adult Genre with Allie B


The New Adult Genre with Allie B

I'm so happy to have Allie as a guest to talk about a subject we're both passionate about- the New Adult craze.

She currently lives and works as a graphic designer in 
Yukon Territory, Canada. 

She's always working on several story ideas in different corners of the YA and New Adult genres.

What is an author to do if they want to combine the ‘coming of age’ YA story with the more mature situations of an adult story?

Create a new genre of course.

What’s the best way to start a new genre in an industry full of the ‘fear of change’ and ‘profitability’?

Self-publish it of course.

While I find that Young Adult and the sparkly new New Adult are less ‘genre’ and more of a ‘category’, the important thing is a whole new world of possibilities has just opened up.


While there is no hard and fast definition, there have been a lot of new patterns in writing toward young people that are becoming the New Adult Conventions.

These emerging conventions are (but are not limited to) college aged protag’s (~18-25) who are experiencing life and change for the first time, but at a slightly more mature level than their YA counterparts. As the characters are over 18, sexual situations, controversial topics such as drug use, and the pesky problem of the parents are suddenly much easier to handle- leaving more time for writing gritty stories and less time worrying about the offensiveness of it.

New Adult opens up an authors readership as well because both teens and adults can pull something from these books that they can relate to. Thanks to the ever popular Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Veronica Roth and the plethora of authors who have flooded the main stream, reading these kinds of ‘kids books’ is no longer shameful, or embarrassing or whatever ridiculous reason people were ashamed to read them in the first place.

New Adult is also a pretty easy transition for a YA writer and it seems every time I log into Goodreads I see established YA writers releasing their first New Adult novel.


While I can’t be certain, because I do not have accesses to any of the big 6 publishing houses, I would be willing to say that it seems more self-published authors have been embracing the New Adult storytelling.

My theory for this is that it takes years for a sneeze to happen in traditional publishing and Self and Indie publishers are more on top of this fun new genre because they are just faster at putting stuff out, and they don’t have the ‘bottom line’ to worry about.

Self published writers write stories they are passionate about, publishers publish stories that will sell.

But without taking the risk of publishing a few NA books how are we to know if this is the next ‘million dollar genre’?

We look to the Indie writer…

Indie and self-published writers are taking risks and blazing the trail for New Adult Literature.

Traditional’s will catch up, they usually do.

But in the mean time… Blaze away great writers! Blaze away!

Some New Adult reads:

I've read a few in this category, and I am really enjoying them. Have you read any New Adult titles? 


  1. Great post. I hadn't realized this new category had emerged, but it's definitely a welcome one.

    1. New Adult is something that St Martins Press came up with a couple years ago and has recently become somewhat of a craze! I can't understand why it has taken so long for people to realize that life happens between the ages of 18-25. :)

  2. My novel, The Big Smoke, (which I'm independently publishing later this year) is definitely New Adult. It's about two country teenagers moving from their hometowns to the city for uni. I'd love to see New Adult emerge as a proper genre in its own right. I definitely wished it existed when I was in my teens and still do now.

  3. Hi Cally! My novel which I am also publishing later this year, would be considered a New Adult. I've just recently learned of a chat on Thursday nights under hashtag #NALit, you should certainly check it out.

  4. I've read easy and beautiful disaster but in my mind had labeled them YA, so the first New Adult novel that I read was "Last Summer" by Rebecca A rogers.

  5. It would be nice if self-publishing authors didn't have to worry about the bottom line.
    In fact, while publishers can afford the occasional loss; not every author can afford to lose the money it takes to self-publish, at least if you do it properly. The self-publishing revolution is brilliant in theory, but in practice, unless you're already an established author, it's a rich man's sport. Not to mention it's threatening to turn the publishing industry into something not far removed in terms of quality from the fanfiction community - you hear plenty of claims that it's good for readers as well as writers; I am inclined to say the opposite.

    1. It's true that you have to spend money in self-publishing, but this is true of any business. I am lucky in that I have another business that funds my publishing, but I didn't have that when I started the first business. I made money, I spent more money to make money. I did that for several years before it started to pay off - this is how business woks. You have to invest in it.

      For publishing I invest the most in editing and covers, but also in marketing (namely blog tours and giveaway prizes).

      I agree with Laura, there are a LOT of fantastic Indie books out there. I don't go looking for them, not at all, but I always seem to find them because they actually do rise to the top. :)

      And as for NA - I love it, I write it, and I blog it!

      Julie~ New Adult Addiction

  6. Well, I don't consider myself a player of the rich-man's sport. I consider myself someone who has given herself permission to perfect my story over time, and release it when I can afford it, slowly putting the pieces together until the puzzle is complete. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that there IS poor quality. But, with recommendations from my friends, I've read fantastic books that were self-published. The cream always rises to the top.

    1. I've also read fantastic self-published books. But that's the point: there's good stuff out there, just as good as traditionally published, but you can't tell which is which until you read it. Yes, you might get recommendations from friends. But you'll also get friends promoting their own books which turn out to be so bad you can't believe anyone would ever think it was ready to be published. And you'll find books with a dozen glowing reviews which, after you've bought and read it, you realise must have been paid for or actually written by the author.
      Hence the comparison to fanfiction, with the difference that fanfic is usually free to read and no-one bothers to write fake reviews promoting it.
      And you'll forgive me for wanting to at least try to get my work published when I have perfected it, not years later, if at all, which is what it will be before I can afford to risk a couple of thousand pounds, likely more, on something as chancy as a first novel by an unknown author.

  7. What's happening in NA and indie publishing reminds me a lot of what YouTube did for video creators a few years ago. Suddenly, anyone could make a TV show (or a web series). All you needed was a camera, some elbow grease and an idea. Some people did that well enough to get noticed in big ways online and by traditional media, like iJustine, Michael Buckley and Rhett and Link. The same thing is happening in indie publishing. EReaders have brought the walls down and make the gatekeepers less necessary just as YouTube made the gatekeepers at network TV less necessary. Then, the cream rises to the top. The web shows people like get watched; the books people like get read.


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