New Adult Fiction: Broadening the Scope

By E.L. Wicker on Jan 7th, 2015

'Fractured Immortal', by E.L. Wicker
It wasn’t my intention to write New Adult books when I began my literary journey, however, as I wrote, my characters insisted they wanted to be older. With each chapter I began to realize that the situations from their past and the new paths they were about to embark on were not compliant with what is expected or acceptable in a Young Adult novel. I suppose being a NA junkie had influenced my writing far more than I thought possible. My kindle app is bursting with NA books. When St Martins Press first made the call for a book genre a step outside of the Young Adult zone, it’s unlikely they knew just how much of an impact they would make. The New Adult genre was born and it opened the floodgates to a new type of fiction that would eventually be enjoyed by millions of readers. New Adult fiction has well and truly found its feet and for authors like me, this is fantastic. Or it should be… but I’ve found the case to be that it’s not. When the day finally arrived that I could call myself a published author, I researched the many reviewers reading and reviewing New Adult fiction. From there I contacted some big reviewers and I heard back from… zero. That’s right. A big, fat, round 0. Luckily for me there were a handful of smaller reviewers willing to review my book for me and the feedback was beyond excellent. I was so happy and grateful. These ladies really helped me and for that I will be forever grateful. But what about the big reviewers, where were they? Well, there are a number of factors to consider here. First of all, being as well known as they are, they get a tonne of requests so it’s obvious that they can’t reply to all, and that’s cool. However, an emerging pattern I found was that the New Adult books that were being read and reviewed, the ones that really found their feet, were contemporary romance. Sure enough, when I checked out my kindle, I realized that about 90% of the books on there were NA Contemp Romance. And that made me mad at myself for being such a one dimensional reader. So I set about hunting down other genres of New Adult. And there are some great ones out there, but when compared with other genres in the NA category, contemporary romance is by far the biggest. This needs to change. You’ve heard people say: ‘We need more diversity in books’, right? That I agree with. We need more diverse books, because, as a culture we are thriving with more different creed and race immersed in our world than ever before. Our books should reflect that, they should reflect our world and the people in it. I couldn’t agree more! And this leads me on to where I was going. I believe that in New Adult we need a diversity of genres available to us. Keep the contemporary romance coming, I love it, but I also want to read more paranormal, more dystopian, more – heck, more everything! Give it to me, please.

The sad thing is, these books are out there, but right now they’re drowning in a pool of the ‘unnoticed’. Is it because none are good enough to make the grade? No, I believe not. I’ve read some and they are excellent. There are websites out there that encompass all of the New Adult categories, but it seems to me that the majority of the big reviewers out there review maybe one NA ‘other genre’ in every ‘goodness knows how many because there are SO many’ NA contemp romance. I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to contact a reviewer whose recommendations you’ve been buying for ages, and get no response. There is no room for sour grapes, like I mentioned, these reviewers get flooded so I am still a regular reader of their reviews and I still purchase so many of my books based on those reviews. And, to be fair, some people know what they like to read and will therefore stick with what they know. But we need more reviewers to read our books. We need more people to step outside of their comfort zone and dip their toe in the ever expanding pool of other NA genres. We need more diversity in books, we need more diverse genres in New Adult and we need more diversity on major reviewing sites. ---- About the author: Born in Dublin Ireland, E.L. Wicker moved to England when she was nine years old. There she attended Coombe Girls School and her love of writing developed as she began to win literary competitions. A graduate of the Social Science's at University of Essex, E.L. Wicker uses her knowledge of human nature to craft interesting characters and emotional relationships. 'Fractured Immortal' is her first publication and the first in The Bearwood series. Links to E.L. Wicker's book: 'Fractured Immortal', Amazon USA 'Fractured Immortal', Amazon UK