Is New Adult a thing?
The short answer, I think, is yes. New Adult is a thing. But nobody knows what that thing is.
It should be pretty simple. New Adult books are books that focus on twenty-something protagonists. Some people have said NA is YA with more sex, but I don’t think that’s true. At least not in all cases.
At any rate, every agent approaches the emerging NA category differently. Some embrace it fully, while others won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. A lot will look at it, but only if it could cross-over into another category (like women’s fiction, fantasy, or even young adult).
I see a lot of people out there writing NA, and I think there is a demand for it. I’ve seen plenty of it from indie publishers and on sites like Wattpad.
And it is getting published traditionally, though usually not under the NA banner. For instance, I would say Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is more NA than YA, even though you’ll find it on the YA shelf at the bookstore.
That said, I would expect to see NA become more recognized, even to the extent that I think you’ll be able to find a NA bookshelf at Barnes & Nobel in the nearish future.
Until then, though, what do you do with your NA book? How do you pitch it?
I think the top of your pitch list should be the agents who are very open to NA. If they aren’t interested, decide which genre would be the next closest fit. The pitch it to agent’s who represent that genre and let your query letter show the market potential.
I’d consider something like, “Novel X is a NA romance, but could be sold as women’s fiction.” It’s good to have some versatility in how the book can be marketed.
And as always, keep writing. If the book never sells, write something else and pitch that while you’re waiting for NA to become the hot thing that everybody’s after. More manuscripts=More publishing opportunity, after all.