Saturday, June 1, 2013


Old dogs CAN learn new tricks . . . but they have to be easy tricks.

I got a proposal that was aimed at a market I wasn't familiar with, new adult fiction.

I try to keep up, but that was a new term for me. Apparently it is for 18-25 year old readers.

Linda Glaz pointed me in the right direction to a couple of websites with more information. I do handle middle reader and young adult but this seems to be aimed at those who don't want to read young adult but more in tune with younger adult readers than the usual adult fare. The setting is likely to be a college campus or young people who haven't left their home town yet but who are stretching their wings. It seems to focus on young love but maybe in ways that I am not comfortable representing.

I do work in both the Christian market AND the mainstream market but I don't park my convictions at the door in order to reach to secular markets. Material I attach my name to doesn't have to contain Christian content but it has to at least be family friendly.

That begs the question, "Is there new adult fiction that meets that criteria?" And if there is, is there a market for it? A USA Today article quotes an author as saying "New Adult novels are appropriate for readers 17 and older because of the language, the mature themes, and there is more detail in the sex scenes." More detail? That means more graphic?

I've only gotten one submission that specifically defined itself as 'new adult fiction' but perhaps I have seen more that might have flown under that label. I haven't heard the editors that I'm working with asking for it, but maybe that is because I haven't asked them about it, or haven't tried them with a submission styled that way. Who knows?

In another post Kristin Hoffman says "New Adult fiction is, ‘…about transition. The transformation from child to adult doesn’t happen overnight—just ask anyone who is or has been (or is a parent to) a teenager. But the transition from teen to adult doesn’t happen overnight either. There’s a period of time where adulthood feels like a new pair of shoes. The expectations of independence and self-sufficiency are still new, still being broken in. New Adults are the people who have just begun to walk in those shoes; New Adult fiction is about their blisters and aches."

I didn't take the one I was presented with but I'm remaining open to it to see if this developing genre is for me. I do know old dog tricks for this dog don't include profanity or explicit sex scenes, but learning to walk in new shoes? I could get behind that.

6 comments:

T.W. LAWRENCE said...

Do you do any work with publishers that aim at the Cowboy Church market? Like books that are meant for new converts or about-to-be converts?

Terry Burns said...

I haven't seen any publishers SAY they were targeting that market. Are some selling to it? I'm sure there are but I don't know who that would be.

Ruth Douthitt said...

It isn't easy keeping up with all the changes. But I think more Christian authors will start writing for this market. Give them time. (And I'm sure they'll be about some Amish young adults, too...)

T.W. Lawrence said...

I went to an evangelism rally for the Cowboy Churches in Texas at the rodeo grounds in Mesquite last March. Ministers there told me that their parishioners are different than folk who go to regular church. Some of them have been to prison, others grew up poor and don't feel comfortable around more the well-to-do, and most of them don't read well (if at all). BUT they also said that they needed material to help reach these folks. And cowboy themes seemed to help.

Terry Burns said...

It's a market I would love to serve if I could find the material and find the publisher willing to address it. It would be a niche market though, and major publishers don't do niche markets. That's one of the reasons small presses came to be. One of my books of fiction was written aimed at this market and did pretty well. It's out of print now but still has a following, people writing me wanting to get a copy to give to somebody they want to get talking about religion.

T.W. Lawrence said...

What's the name of that book? I would love to read it if I can find a copy.