But it’s simply not true. I, and many of my friends, read voraciously at that age. We read to escape, to relax, to have fun, to learn… all the same reasons people of every other age read. Yes, we went out and partied. Yes, we studied. Yes, we got our first jobs. But people who love books will always love books; they don’t take a seven year break from books just because they now have access to alcohol, university and/or a job. Could I afford to buy books at that age? Sometimes not: when I was that age it was often a struggle financially to even buy food. But today ebooks cost less than a cup of coffee, and eReaders and tablet computers are portable, easy to pick up and put down and almost everyone in that demographic has one. This is why there is a growing lash-back from the Indie Publishing industry who are quickly proving the experts wrong. New Adult is an untapped goldmine: just look at success stories such as Jessica Park, Abbi Glines, Tammara Webber, Jamie McGuire, Tina Reber and more. It is also, however, a sales demographic. A target audience. It tells one nothing about the book inside other than the age of the protagonist. So how do you classify a book using today’s accepted genres?

In my case, my first book series crosses so many of the accepted genres that it becomes unwieldy to categorise at all, and is therefore unmarketable (in the opinions of some). If I were to accurately assign a genre to Amaranth, it would be a New Adult Contemporary Paranormal Urban Fantasy. Try saying that five times fast!

When adult fiction is well-written and doesn’t fit comfortably into an accepted genre, it is often called Literary Fiction; but there’s no such thing as Young Adult (and certainly not New Adult) Literary Fiction. Why not? Because Young Adults don’t read ‘literature’ unless they’re forced to for school.

Again, I think this is a fallacy. ‘Literary’ need not mean pretentious, bloated and self-consciously wordy. When done right, it should mean intelligent, exploratory and thought-provoking. Why wouldn’t we want to provoke young people to think? Why don’t we want them to read things their parents will also enjoy, which they can discuss together? And why on earth don’t we want them to extend their vocabularies, their ideas and their understanding of humanity?

The book market is a tough place right now. The advent of indie/self-publishing, ebooks and print-on-demand publishing has meant the marketplace is flooded with books, good and bad, available at next-to-no cost to the consumer. Authors who want to make any kind of success of writing must strive to do something different, be The Next Big Thing. That alone would be difficult enough if that’s all there were to it, but on top of that your work must still fit into a marketable genre within the current framework. Translation: be different, but not too different.