Running Out of Steam
Is anyone else feeling the pressure?
When I first started writing and fighting for NA, it was fine to publish a paranormal romance series on the PG-13 end of the spectrum. New Adult fiction was only limited by the life stage of the protagonist, and agents/editors weren’t interested in the category yet. What was the risk?
Enter: The Snowball Effect
► Several NA contemporary romance titles hit the big time in 2012.
►That success triggered a slew of coattail novels—each seemingly steamier than the last.
(I have no problem with this. I’m just giving a gist of the timeline.)
►Sensationalist media stories deemed NA nothing but ‘sexed-up’ YA, reshaping its initial definition.
►Consumers reinforced that notion by purchasing semi-erotic NA contemporary romance in masses.
►Many came to expect steam in their NA novels—some are even going so far as to take stars away for lack of sexual content.
So, now I’m feeling the heat. (Hah! Heat.) If I force myself to write a steamy contemporary, I know I’ll reach more readers. I’ll get to share my love of storytelling with a broader audience and provide them with a fun literary escape. But can I do that?
*Sigh* No, no I can’t...
My imagination doesn’t go there. I daydream about supernatural battles and banter-driven relationships. When I hear about characters getting action, I assume it’s a kick to the face. I mean, the handcuffs in my books belong to hostages, for cryin’ out loud!
Don’t get me wrong. My characters do give in to their urges from time to time; it’s just that the story doesn’t linger there. So, is there still a place on the New Adult shelf for me? Have I spent years fighting for a category that no longer represents my work? Who knows.
If other genres within the NA category don’t take off, I may have to reconsider rebranding my series—and that’s okay. Readers have the freedom to choose which books they prefer and the power to determine trends. I’m merely here to entertain, regardless of what banner I do that under. :)
Question: Have you ever felt pressure due to your category or genre?
Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.
Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—one of the first websites dedicated to the category. A year later, she started a design business specializing in graphics for the publishing industry, called Forward Authority. Her Mark of Nexus series has appeared on Amazon bestselling, top-rated, and hot new release lists in various genres.