YA or adult genre?


Question: I'm writing a book that has characters from ages 20-23. There is no sex mentioned, but it has cursing in it. It takes place at a college. So, the question is, should it be for a Young Adult audience, or an Adult audience?

Answer: Some publishers have created a third category called "New Adult" for books aimed at college-age readers (early 20s), while keeping the term "Young Adult" for high school age. One reason is that college-age readers are more likely to be sexually active (some are even married with children). Also, there is just a big gap between the low end of YA (age 13) and the high end (24).

However, it is not just the age of the characters that determine the genre. YA (the traditional definition) is typically concerned with themes such as adventure, finding true love, developing a sense of identity, and coming of age.

You could, for example, have a book about a teenager, but if it is told from the perspective of a much older adult, concerned with more mature issues, it might not be considered YA.

I would suggest that, when you query an agent or a publisher, you simply describe the essence of what the book is about and not provide a genre label. The job of the agent/editor is to determine what audience the book can be marketed to as well as its commercial potential.

Best of luck.

Comments for YA or adult genre?

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 30, 2016
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for answering my question. It helped me a lot. Thanks! :-)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Genre Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero