|Remember who your target market is!|
Sometimes they're 8 year-old girls like I used to be.
New Adult books are basically books that deal with characters that are no longer in high school, but they are adults. They're in that in-between stage of life, building their lives and their careers. And since I'm in my twenties, too, I always identify with characters that are closer to my age. Don't we all?
Now down to the nitty gritty. I'm a Young Adult and New Adult author. The Collapse Series is a crossover series, meaning it falls into both Young Adult and New Adult categories. How is this possible, you ask? Simple! My characters are all older - the protagonists are in their twenties - but the content is appropriate for anybody age 13 and up. That's right. It crosses over into Young Adult territory, but keeps its New Adult realism because my characters are dealing with some pretty difficult situations: first real love, death, warfare, betrayal, survival, and so forth.
How do you classify your own novel? Like so: Ask yourself, is this appropriate for a Young Adult audience? Remember, you're dealing with a target market that is primarily comprised of kids 12 and up. My advice has always been: if you have any F-bombs in your book, forget shelving it in YA. If you have anything graphic in your book, the same goes. Granted, there are YA books with all of this in them, but I can guarantee that something cleaner will be more universal, and will result in more success for you!
If your characters are beyond high school, you're probably dealing with a New Adult book, right? Remember, the age range of the characters will help you shelve your book. 30s? Adult literature. 40 year-old detective solving a murder case? Men's action and adventure. You see what I'm saying. Age and gender usually play a big part in shelving your book. Women's romance is a genre all its own, but it can be categorized in New Adult. A category is merely an umbrella under which you hang your genre.
Be true to your book: categorize it correctly! :)