New Adult vs Young Adult: Editing Content for the Genre

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the New Adult genre and it seems that there really isn’t a lot of clarity about this category. Is it just that the characters are older or is the content actually more graphic than the usual YA fare? It isn’t easy to find a definitive answer. Some feel that the New Adult category allows for more sexual content since the characters are between the ages of 18 and 24. Also, the readers of these books would be expecting a little more smut which is clearly something frowned upon in the YA category. My questions is this: if more sex and violence is included in a novel that would otherwise appeal to readers in the YA category, are we losing a big part of the audience? As someone about to self-publish a YA novel, this is particularly important to me. While I do want to target as large a readership as possible, I don’t want to compromise my character’s integrity by adding scenes that may cater more to the tastes of slightly older readers. Although my character was initially written as a fifteen year old, as I’m in the process of editing, I am tempted to make her a bit older. My reason for the change is not the NA vs YA issue, but rather how the character naturally developed as I wrote the novel. However, since I am toying with the idea anyway, I wonder if I should add a little more detail to the romantic scenes. If any writers or readers out there have suggestions or opinions on this, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

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2 comments on “New Adult vs Young Adult: Editing Content for the Genre

  1. I’m just not sure I get the point in there being a New Adult category. Many of the teens I work with tend to read book intended for adults. So, having a category that is just for 18-24 or so seems silly to me. I think it all depends on the age of the reader mentally. I read adult books at eleven and enjoyed them. I’m not sure this will ever be as wide of a category as the YA genre in general.

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  2. I agree, Ionia that it depends on the age of the reader mentally. Plus some kids are exposed to more in life than others, so I don’t know that labelling books one way or another stops them from reading what they relate to. I think it is interesting though, that some view this new genre as nothing more than a marketing tactic to sell more books. It also seems as though many don’t regard NA as a genre of its own, but rather another category in YA.

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