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In fact, independent e-book publishing has been the driving force behind the genre’s rapid growth.

Online venues have allowed writers with New Adult novels that were being shut out of the market to create their own place.

“To me, New Adult is a more specific name for what we would have called adult novels with strong crossover.

They’re targeted for those adult readers who really enjoy YA, and for 20-somethings that haven’t always been able to find a lot of novels taking place during the college years.” Sara Megibow, an agent from the Nelson Literary Agency, also strongly disagrees with the public criticism of the genre.

In November 2012, newcomer Cora Carmack signed a six-figure, three-book deal with Harper Collins based on the chart-topping success of her self-published New Adult e-book, .

As reader demand for more books in the genre has become clear, big publishers have since snatched up other indie New Adult authors, such as Jamie Mc Guire and Colleen Hoover, both of whom had also cracked the bestseller list on their own.

“The mindset is different in New Adult,” Grove says.

“There’s a focus on success and survival versus [high school themes of] popularity and acceptance.

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When the reviews for my recent historical novel started coming in, I was surprised by how often my book was referred to as “New Adult.” I’d heard the term bandied about in certain circles, but hadn’t realized it was growing into a full-fledged genre of its own—even as I was writing work that fit the description myself.

And newer co-op websites such as NA Alley (naalley.blogspot.com) and blogs such as A Tapestry of Words (atapestryofwords.blogspot.com) are helping to give voice to both traditionally published and self-published New Adult writers.

What started as a largely grassroots phenomenon driven by readers and the savvy self-publishing authors willing to give them what they’re looking for is becoming increasingly mainstream.

New Adult titles are finding their audience largely through word of mouth—many successful authors in the genre credit their success to social media and bloggers.

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