What is New Adult Fiction?

bwbooks2I still get asked about New Adult on a regular basis. So here’s my notes about what it is:

  • New Adult is about characters from age 18-25 engaging in the next step of their lives
  • It’s about many firsts (like romance and going out into the world to live alone)
  • It’s intense, 1st person writing, dramatic fiction and very fun.
  • It’s about high intensity, lots of stakes, a passionate journey, and strong desires.
  • New Adult readers are an engaged readership. They are loyal readers and fans.
  • New Adult readers should go to their bookshops and tell booksellers what they want to see in stores. Booksellers need to know what readers want.
  • New Adult editions are original trade paper. Editors are looking for authors that can write and produce fast, good work.
  • New Adult readers don’t care if books are self published or traditionally published. They’re looking for great books no matter the format (e or p). They are a digital age group.
  • Repurposed chick lit or things that didn’t sell before aren’t New Adult.
  • Many agents who represent both YA and Adult books are interested in NA because it’s that college age gap.
  • But not all agents are interested in NA if they rep YA. It’s a different category with different editors.
  • Review agent guidelines and check the deal reports for agents that are repping and selling NA.

Required reading: See Abbi Glines, Cora Carmack , Jamie McGuire, Katie McGarry, and Tammara Webber.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

13 thoughts on “What is New Adult Fiction?

  1. Thank you for this insight! It helped me designate my speciality within the YA writing world. Would love to hear more about how I can attract and promote this specific type of work to agents, if you would oblige sharing some insights with me.




  2. I remember a time not so long ago when authors had a hard time selling work with protagonists in this age group. They were too old for YA and too young for women’s fiction. It’s great that this new genre has taken hold.


  3. This is the first time I’ve heard of New Adult…and you just answered the question I’ve been asking myself of what genre the manuscript I’m currently working on is in! Very encouraging.


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