…you go somewhere else. And that’s precisely my plan.
For the past few months I’ve been contemplating how best to position my work so that it makes sense to my readers. My readers. Not people who don’t enjoy my work, or people who don’t like controversial reads, or those who take offense to the substance within the pages of my books. Certainly not the ones who don’t understand it. No, I’m talking about my readers. And I use the word “my” with fierce possession. I’m allowed to be possessive of my fans because I worked hard for them, and I made them work just as hard with the books I write. They are loyal to me just as I will continue to be loyal to them by giving them the types of stories they enjoy.
I realized I was doing a disservice to myself and my fans by positioning my work as New Adult. It is not New Adult. It’s nowhere near New Adult. I thought it was, initially, because of the age of my characters (so far, I’ve only written stories that take place in high school). I realized that characters’ ages aren’t nearly as important in choosing a genre as themes, literary technique, and story tropes. Those writing elements should be the factors in choosing a genre because those are the elements that matter most to readers when they pick up a book.
While I don’t think the New Adult genre ever intended to be defined by a certain type of story, it has. And my stories simply do not fit. So I can understand the frustration of a reader who sees my book labeled “New Adult,” picks it up to read, then becomes disappointed that it isn’t the love story she expected. She has a right to be upset. The book is in the wrong section of the library! So while my stories involve teens, the multiple layers I choose to include in my books along with the risks I take addressing controversial topics head on force my work into this weird, doesn’t-quite-fit indefinable genre. A no-label genre. A we-don’t-really-understand-these-books genre. They’re certainly not YA. Too much language and explicit sex. They aren’t NA. They don’t follow the NA love story model. Are they adult fiction? I can’t think where else to put them. And adult fiction, to me, seems like the most “accepting” of the genres. For my books, anyway. I can allow my characters to explore spirituality in adult fiction. I can write stories that include a love theme, but that theme doesn’t have to be the dominant one in adult fiction. I can make sex as important or as unimportant as I want to in adult fiction. I can practice literary techniques in adult fiction and have those techniques matter.
So adult fiction it is! And I came to this decision based on my own feelings as well as the advice and encouragement of bloggers and fans. I’m excited about this change. I wanted you to know that I will no longer be writing or tagging my fiction “New Adult” so that there is no confusion when my next stand-alone releases. It is my last stand-alone that will take place in high school, and it involves high school seniors. And because of the subject matter, it will be labeled “adult fiction.” I’m excited for this change because I think it will eliminate the confusion my books have created, and it will open up a whole new readership to me. My hope is that the readers I’ve garnered from the New Adult world will journey with me into adult fiction. My books won’t change. They will still be distinctly me. But they will make more sense to readers who see them positioned in a genre that fits.
A match made in heaven, I hope.
Oh shit. I mentioned heaven. Should probably scratch that. *wink*