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Picking a genre -- YA or A

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#1 grace


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Posted 10 December 2017 - 10:36 AM

I'm having a really hard time deciding on the age group for my novel. I know it's too long (106,000), and the characters are in college, so I know it shouldn't be classified as young adult. However, I think it's clean enough in terms of language and violence to be read by young adult readers, and I think it could be enjoyed by any age.

Also, the premise involves a parallel universe that is currently in the Vietnam War Era. So I think it's primarily science fiction, but also includes historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

I'm looking for tips on what age group to put it down as –– is adult or new adult a correct term for my book? Also do I market the book on multiple genres or just focus on science fiction? Any advice would be much appreciated. 

#2 JoQwerty


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Posted 10 December 2017 - 12:01 PM

The language is less of a factor than the themes. YA novels delve into themes of interest to teenagers and some of them use raunchy language. If the main characters are 20 year old college students in the Vietnam war era, then I would expect the characters to be exposed to issues that probably are not on the horizon of a fifteen year, high school student which is the typical YA audience. Whether your novel is NA or A, is more difficult because the boundaries are not as clear cut; it depends on whether the events and themes are typical for college life or typical for the general adult community.


If the novel involves parallel universes, then it is probably science fiction, though there is a subgenre called alternative history in which people play with historical facts and timelines.


Often you will see books marketed as cross genre, but not multiple genre. Cross genre marketing means classifying your book in terms of two genres, for example, historical-romance or historical-mystery. The book Outlander has been called historical-time-travel.

#3 Nessa


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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:36 PM

If your characters are in college (18+ yrs), you're in Adult territory. New Adult is just a marketing term for Adult contemporary w/ a college-aged protagonist. It's also a tried-and-died genre.
Your work sounds like Adult Historical Sci-Fi w/ crossover appeal for YA. (I'm hesitant about recommending "crossover appeal" because I've seen discourse about what that actually means, so take it with a grain of salt.)

#4 pigeononthemoon


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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:49 PM

It's adult (so no need to say 'adult,' just don't say anything). IF and only if an agent has specifically requested New Adult, say it's NA, which it still might not be, since I think of NA as taking place in the 2000s. I worked for an agent who turned away all NA because it's an emerging genre and people disagree about what it means (fiction about 20-somethings vs. young people erotica).


Just say Scifi. Even 'historical' is considered prior to 1950s. I know it's weird to think of a story that takes place in, say, 1968 as contemporary, but according to the publishing definition it is.

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