Monday, May 14, 2012

New Adult - Let's make it happen

This is the suh-weet Day of Sacrifice Omnibus cover that Keary Taylor designed for me and I'm revealing it for the first time today, here, on the Indelibles site! (You can download the first DoS story for free from Amazon, BN, Smashwords, and iTunes.)

The last novella in the DoS series, Unfavorable, will drop next weekend and the Omnibus soon after.  I've got all my ducks in a row and am so happy to have another series under my belt.

Great cover.
Fun, sexy paranormal stories.
Awesomely edited.
Beautifully beta-read...everything seems in order.

Except, well, the problem I run into every time I publish a Day of Sacrifice story.

What category does it fit in?

These stories are not quite YA. The characters are predominantly 17-25. And only one story - Rebellion - has main characters that fit into the age range of Paranormal Romance for Adults.  There is also, on average, more language and sexuality than a YA novel, but less than, say, what you'd find in the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.

As a self-published author, marketing the book is only slightly less important than writing the book and, frankly, marketing these stories has been a bit of a PITA.

At the #indiechat last week, we got to talking about New Adult as a category. It's not a new idea, but it seems the category is as enigmatic as the books that belong in it. Many publishers, large and small-two exceptions being Rhemalda Publishing and Crescent Moon Press, don't use it because it's not recognized by Amazon or Barnes and Noble. In addition, some feel like there isn't a need to further compartmentalize novels, grouping them by genre, then sub-genre, then category, then sub-categories.

The thing is, YA isn't really recognized by Amazon or Barnes and Noble as a category either. You list your books in Children's or Juvenile Fiction and then you can choose teen-ish sub-categories from there.

It makes me feel skeevy.

My YA novels are intended for upper teenage readers and to see them pop up next to children's picture books is just not right.

That being said, YA, Young Adult, is a thing and we've all embraced it. Books need a proper category to go in so that they reach their intended readers. That doesn't mean that adults don't read YA or vice-versa, but it would certainly cut down on some confusion.

And there has been a lot of reader confusion with the Day of Sacrifice series. Reviews indicate that readers think it's too racy for YA and too vanilla for adults.

Yeah, because it's New Adult. :)

So, here's the deal. Many of the Indelibles have written/are writing/want to write novels that fit into the New Adult category.

We're all just going to agree that it's a thing. In the world. That people want.

Like I said before, I'm self-published and half the reason that works for me is because I don't like to sit around waiting for permission to do things the way I want to do them. Now, I know full well that Amazon and Barnes and Noble aren't going to include New Adult in their categories (or even create a joint YA/NA category like they should) any time soon.  What we can do is start using the label in our tags, descriptions, and in how we refer to the books we write.

If we want it, let's make it happen.

(For a more in-depth discussion of the New Adult category, check out this rad article here.)

Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business - a collection of essays, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her poet husband and their two young children.


  1. Great cover! It would be interesting to see how many writers out there would write for that age group - or already are!

    1. Thanks! I really love the cover. I, of course, just saw one that was similar right before I revealed it. Oh, well. My cover models have shirts on. lol

  2. Hey Stacey, love the cover!
    I support New Adult (and write it). My "sisters" and I launched a blog 2 weeks ago entirely dedicated to New Adult. It's called NA Alley:

    Let's make it happen!

    1. Oh my gosh! NA Alley. I'm all about it. I'll go check the blog out right now!

  3. Yesssss. This post feels so empowering! I have no desire to write NA yet, BUT I work with college students and every one of them who loves reading has expressed a wish for books like these. So, I'll be cheering you on.

    1. It's great to know that readers actually want this category too. Thanks for the cheers!

  4. Thanks for this. I totally agree about needing this category.

  5. I love your cover :)

    I think it would be a good idea to have this catagory as well, but on Amazon at least, they don't even have proper paranormal fantasy or romance catagories... *sigh*

  6. Usually, I just classify what you call New Adult as Mature YA. I'm not the kind of person to really nitpick at categories, but if labeling helps the book find readers, I'll pay attention more.

    Thanks for this post, I really love the cover!

  7. I'm so with you. All my books are NA and I'd love for it to be more recognized in the book market. I say, YES!! Lets start using NA tags and categories when we can. Maybe it will catch on and the big boys will see there's a need for it.

    Great post and LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover.

  8. I love Keary's work, just contacted her for my next novel.

    Anyways, I agree if we start using this category then hopefully it will catch on. I also have a 4 part short story series with characters in the 17-23 age group and after seeing people talk about New Adult I realized that story should fit in there perfectly.

  9. This is a fantastic discussion. My favorite series of all time, THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY, has main characters who are in university--I think they're like 22-25 or so. And even David Eddings' books--they're all that NA age-range, but they just hang out in "fantasy".

    I'm totally like you--I feel like it's absolutely wrong that my book is in the children's books. It is NOT a child's book. Hopefully my cover and blurb make that clear but still . . .

    I will totally use the "new adult" label and try to help affect a change from the inside out!

  10. New Adult rocks! Thanks for being a part of the NA sisterhood. :)

  11. Thanks for all the cover love, you guys! It is awesome to know that so many people love their New Adult books and series.

  12. Definitely a fan of New Adult! I think Entertainment/Media, particularly TV, have been doing New Adult for a while... but I think it takes on a whole new life in books. And I love that. Can't wait for this particular bit of the genre to explode. :)

    Beautiful cover!

  13. Gorgeous cover Stacey! I'm releasing a book this September that fits the New Adult category and I'm always excited to see discussion about it.

  14. A lot of people say New Adult is one of the first "genres" to emerge primarily from non-traditional publishing. When more of these books begin to be noticed by mainstream audiences, traditional publishers and bookstores will shift to accommodate them, much in the same way they shifted to accommodate e-books. In other words, the only way "New Adult" will emerge as a category is if writers keep writing it and readers keep buying it.

    1. "In other words, the only way "New Adult" will emerge as a category is if writers keep writing it and readers keep buying it."

      Exactly. And I think there are enough of us writing NA that if we make those types of books available to readers its acceptance by the mainstream isn't far off.

  15. This cover is awesome! I love, love it!!!

  16. Love the New Adult tag!

    Tha cover is beautiful and story sounds awesome!

  17. Heck yes! New adult for the win! My characters are always a little older than typical YA characters--sometimes physical, sometimes in other ways. ;)

    GREAT cover!