If you’re an author – whether new or established – you’ve probably been told that you need to build your brand. I’m a very new author. In fact, I’ll be releasing my first book this spring, so it was my alter ego as a communications professional that compelled me to write on this particular topic.
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(Please note that my future blog posts will be located on that site.)
When I tell people that I’m writing a new adult romance book series, a few people will ask: “what’s new adult?” I happily give them my five-second response: “It’s a genre of stories about a young character who is venturing into adulthood and dealing with all the challenges that come with doing so – whether they be related to their career, sexuality, family or sense of self.”
People normally bob their heads in full understanding and then ask: “Is this like a trend or a real genre?” If you remember the whole ‘chick lit’ phenomenon then you know why they ask.
Starting out on my writing journey, I wasn’t entirely sure what new adult meant. All I knew was that I enjoyed the books people were calling new adult, so I figured I must be one of the fans. After doing quite a bit of research, I discovered the truth was I had been reading new adult (of the romance variety) for some time now. The themes that are dealt with in the new adult romance novel are not uncommon – though sometimes buried – in adult romance fiction. It’s through the rise of e-books, indie writers and a healthy dose of a few mega-successes that the genre has gained some much deserved definition and prominence.
And those new adult fans are just gobbling up the books .
New adult is just getting the wind under its wings. As the new adult readership grows and demands more, I see the genre expanding to include diverse themes, settings, relationships and more male leads.
So, yes, I do think the new adult genre will last. It will evolve like any other genre, but will remain for as long as there are readers interested in stories about self-discovery through overcoming obstacles in the early days of adulthood.
I did it. Well, almost.
I’m nearly finished with the final edits to my first novel, Awakening. It’s book one in a new adult romance series set hundreds of years in the future and filled with passion, tension and political intrigue. It was a labour of love that, from concept to publication, will have taken about six months to create.
In these final weeks, I figured I’d want to take some time to focus solely on how best to promote Awakening, but those character voices in my head keep on talking, so I decided to keep on writing as well.
In a series, you think ‘OK, I’ve already done the hard work up front in book one; set the stage, established the characters and got the wheels in motion for the plot to take flight.’ And you have. The challenge in a sequel is how much to remind your readers about what happened in book one without boring them with these details in book two. Do I have to reintroduce all the character quirks and motivations? Do I need to describe the world I’ve created to the same extent? Where do you start?
After doing a bit of research, it became clear that I had to get out of my head a bit. Step back and approach the sequel as a separate work from its predecessor and one that has a life of its own. While it should build on the characters and story in book one, a sequel should feel connected, but not tethered to its past. I had the realization that I should simply use book one as my highly detailed backstory for book two and pepper exposition throughout the novel as I would any stand-alone book.
I’m looking forward to showing you how it all works out…But first, I have to finish those edits to Awakening.
Recently, while speaking to a relative stranger, I started talking about the phenomenal success of Fifty Shades of Grey. At the end of our conversation, the young woman said to me: “I guess anyone can write a book nowadays” to which I responded: “Yes… but the challenge is selling it.”
I don’t have to tell you how much the publishing industry has changed for the better for writers. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity and freedom to tell our stories how we want and when we want. As a communications professional by day, I can tell you that no matter how amazing, people will not spend a cent on a product unless they feel there is something they will get out of it – in this case a book.
I decided to write a new adult book series because I love the genre, read it regularly and thought I could add something different to this exciting developing space in writing and publishing. While it’s a romance, unlike many new adult books it is set in the future, shows diversity and takes on a number of social conventions that we take for granted today. Nevertheless, it maintains its core as a romance that I hope many new adult readers and maybe others will enjoy.
Like any new author, I’m over the moon excited about the release of my first novel. Book One of the series comes out in late spring, which means I have to wait with bated breath for a few more weeks before finding out how well it will resonate with readers.
In the meantime, I’ve started working on Book Two, continue to learn more about new adult readers, engage with the wonderful writers and editors of this genre and strategize how best to get my book discovered. Because, yes, anyone can write a book… but selling it takes research, a respect for the reader with strong writing and a solid plot and the stamina to keep getting the word out about your amazing story.
Here’s to my first rebel blog post!
First off – my promise to you: my blog will keep in mind the fact that you have a lot to do!
These posts will be short, to the point and hopefully, leave you thinking in a different way than when you first stopped by. I’ll be sharing behind the scenes stories about how I write my books as well as factual information and opinions about the publishing industry.
I hope you stick around to follow my journey. I look forward to hearing about yours as you read my books or create your own!