Publishers Seek Next College-Age Bestseller

By Hsing Tseng on May 13, 2013

The world of creative writing certainly doesn’t guarantee easy entry to its pearly gates. The writing industry boasting such humbling statistics such a 9.2% unemployment rate for recent college graduates as of a Georgetown University study done in 2012. Needless to say, such competition industry makes it difficult for aspiring writers, especially those in college, to break into the business and get published.

Set those fears to rest! A new genre of literature – New Adult Fiction – needs college-aged authors to tell its stories, and publishers such as HarperCollins are looking to give those authors voices.

Not to be mistaken as a euphemism for Young Adult (YA) fiction such as “The Hunger Games,” New Adult Fiction is a growing genre featuring college-aged protagonists who face struggles more realistic and engaging than those of high schoolers.

“YA has always been really popular, and New Adult is actually a much wider world than YA,” said Tessa Woodward, editor at Avon Books, a HarperCollins imprint. “High school is a very enclosed space—you know, it’s just high school. But once you have these kids get out into the world, there’s such a broader range of things that they can experience. The younger writers aren’t afraid of having crazy emotional back-stories for their characters.”

And for that reason, HarperCollins is looking for younger writers to write New Adult Fiction. Though meant to appeal to an older audience than YA attracts, New Adult Fiction is not limited to stories about college, but encompasses the broader topic of adulthood and what that means.

“Some of them have those situations that deal with college or university, but some of them do not; a lot of protagonists are forced into certain circumstances. Many New Adult protagonists must skip college and live in the real world. New Adult authors are no strangers to confrontational subjects such as rape and unwanted pregnancy,” said Lucia Macro, vice president and executive editor at Avon.

As a new genre with a growing community both online and offline, New Adult Fiction has seen a growing digital trend with many novels published online on personal blogs and websites, making it easier than ever before for writers to write and readers to read. This, combined with the flexibility that New Adult Fiction has as an emerging genre, allows writers the leeway to play with new ideas and conventions.

HarperCollins is welcoming new and innovative New Adult stories for submission, with a shot at publishing opportunities. Aspiring authors, send your submissions to Tessa Woodward, at

HarperCollins is just one of hundreds of publishers in the writing industry that are eager to encourage this new genre. Make sure to do some research and submit your work to as many of these publishers as possible. If you have tips for other aspiring writers, be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

A second-year at the University of Denver, Hsing is part of the National Columnist team with Uloop. She loves covering the nerd culture and technology beat and aspires to work for Kotaku or IGN. You can find her gaming, watching anime, or blogging away madly. (Good luck finding her Tumblr, though.) She is super involved at DU, and wouldn't have it any other way.

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