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.