New Adult, Old Adult


One week out from publication day, and things are going a little better than I’d hoped: When I’ve released books in the past, that first week or so after tends to be crushingly anticlimactic. Books come out a little hard and green sometimes; it takes time for them to ripen. It seems a book needs to sit around for a month or so before any kind of activity takes place, and Amazon won’t give you a ranking till you make that first sale. But not only did I actually sell a batch of books this week—a baker’s dozen to be exact—I also got my first review on Goodreads. Five stars! And from a complete stranger! It was a great review, but the reviewer got the genre of my book wrong. It’s definitely NOT young-adult. It’s NEW ADULT. But I forgive everyone for not knowing the difference. NEW ADULT is a fairly new, and somewhat controversial, sub-genre: It’s directed at the after-YA crowd, and the age group is 18-30. It’s supposed to deal with true ‘adult’ matters in a more sophisticated way than the young adult genre—which is often read by children as young as 10 who should presumably be spared the more explicit realities of life.

To be honest, I’m not really sure of the validity of this new genre, but when I saw it listed as a choice on the various book promotion platforms I’m working with—notably NetGalley—I decided to go for it. After all, I have a coming-of-age tale, with a 19-year-old main character who’s starting college, it seems to fit. But…I never saw my audience as primarily the 18-to-30 crowd—my daughter’s generation, by the way—because this doesn’t seem a group that in general reads a lot of books. I always felt my average reader would be a little older, or even a lot older. But there is no genre for Old Adult. It’s just not a sexy term the book industry would want to use; you might just as well call it Old Fart Fiction. And yet, the over-40 crowd, the Baby Boomers—they read like crazy! So why not market to this group? Not sure what you’d call it: Mature Adult? Sounds like it would be light porn. Maybe Adult-of-a-Certain-Age? Or how about simply, The Mature Reader?

Not that any of this matters right now: Amazon has given me no sub-categories, so I’m simply “Literature and Fiction.” And I guess I should feel privileged to be in this august category, crowded as it is.

The Goodreads promotion is moving along slowly, but I’ve come to regard it as a sort of online author’s cocktail party. I’ve been contacting and connecting with other authors whose work intrigues me, and I’ve already become friends with Lynn Wachtel, the lady standing right next to me, so to speak, on the list: Our book promos began, and end, on the same day; and I read her book, THE ZUM ZUM GIRLS, over the weekend: A fun read about 1960’s NYC. Like any cocktail party, there’s the folks you want to avoid, and the really intriguing and talented people you want to approach, but feel shy about. It’s been a great way to distract myself from the stats, and it satisfies my need for adult contact, after a day at the learning center struggling with four- and five-year-olds over the intricacies of the alphabet, or trying to convince a sulky preteen to write something, ANYTHING…

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