Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you couldn't already tell, it's my favorite holiday. From the fellowship to the food, there's nothing like it. I also love that it doesn't get all tied up with the social and/or religious stuff that spoils so many other holidays. Thanksgiving is for all who are grateful.
And if I'm upright and breathing, I figure that's more than some folks have going for them, so I'm basically always grateful! One thing I'm especially grateful this year is New Adult (NA) literature.
|Photo Cred - Lisa L. Wiedmeier, WANA Commons|
The louder I squawk, the louder they squawk--and it all just ends up being noise. Noise that usually drowns out the things that the needed the attention in the first place (i.e. not me).
Today, I make an exception.
As many of you know, I'm a champion for the rise of New Adult literature. Now, I'm not the most prominent or eloquent--or tallest--of the banner waivers. (Maybe that's why I feel the need to stand on a soapbox for this issue.) But I definitely believe in it, and here's why.
New Adult is more than marketing. NA is more than a niche being carved out by fringe authors and readers. NA is big, small, smart, and slow. NA goes beyond what YA can (and arguably should) do, and fills the gaps left by the leap from YA to Adult.
More importantly than all of that, New Adult gives a voice to a specific set of readers and authors. There's a group of people who are 18-26 years of age, and everyone has--or will--fall into that category if they've lived long enough. And those folks shouldn't have to apologize for wanting their own shelf in a bookstore.
They read and write, and therefore have earned a say in what they want to see in a store. Well, at least in my eyes. As I pointed out above, there are definitely people who don't agree. A couple of recent articles I read reminded me of that (here and here).
Haters Gonna Hate, Yo
I think the kids call them haters, but whatever they go by, it's clear NA has its detractors. People who are cheering just as hard for NA to go away as I am for it to exist. The ironic thing for me, is that these folks seem to be losing their rational minds when they argue against NA.
They discount the Internet like it's a couple of goth kids crashing prom. Hello! The Internet practically IS society at this point. If it isn't on the Web, it might as well not exist in the minds of 80% of the US population.
They say NA is being foisted upon the world by self-published authors. Which, other than being insanely offensive, is dead wrong. It's actually the opposite: the world (or readers) is foisting New Adult on literature. (A great article on NA sensation Tammara Webber and her BIG NA book deal, and why NA has happened.)
So is the sky falling? Will a few 'knowledgeable' or 'important' people chime in, call NA a 'non-thing', and pee on the parade for the rest of us? Short answer: NOPE.
The NA THING is happening. It has already happened to an extent, and as long as authors and readers continue to demand it, NA will grow. And it needs to.
The Spice of Life
I sometimes think there are people who would prefer that we all read the same 6 books, from 2 categories, and that's it. (If it's coming from an author or agent, probably THEIR 6 books, incidentally.) Which isn't only misguided, it's dangerous.
That kind of thinking crushes the spirit of creativity. It stymies growth in both society and individuals. A great story can help someone take the next step in their life. A good book can shift the path beneath our feet, forever altering where, and how far, we can go.
For that to happen, there has to be as many stories as there are readers, because each person is going to be moved by something different. If they don't have it, an opportunity is lost.
I'll leave you with this: Be you reader or writer, beware anyone who suggests a niche or group shouldn't exist, and support those who struggle to be heard. Fight for the books and stories you like to read and write to be recognized--at every level. And the louder people are who oppose the idea, the more important it becomes for you to speak up.