We view coming-of-age (CoA) fiction as a niche encompassing three different categories of literature—upper young adult (upper YA), new adult (NA), and select adult titles. At their cores, these books aim to capture the transition between adolescence and true adulthood. Simple as that.
Characteristics of CoA Books
Protagonists generally somewhere between the ages of sixteen and thirty, though cultural and period exceptions apply, i.e. People settled down much earlier in pioneer days. Characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.
NA Alley launched in 2012, just before what some are referring to as the "NA Boom". At the time, our goal was simple: We wanted to make New Adult happen. Here’s a quick timeline of our history:
· Early 2012 - NA Alley was founded by Carrie Butler, L.G. Kelso, Bailey Kelsey, Juliana Haygert, Victoria H. Smith, Jaycee DeLorenzo, and Summer Lane.
· Mid 2012 - Thanks to a few independent bestsellers and an underserved market, New Adult began its shift from industry taboo to the next big thing.
· Early 2013 - After Bailey left to concentrate on her education, an open call was put out, resulting in an overwhelming number of applicants.
· Mid 2013 - Two new contributors, E.J. Wesley and Lynn Rush/Reese Monroe, were added to the mix. Diana Long came on as the Alley’s coordinator. This period marked the first official NA Crush Tournament.
· Early 2014 - Summer stepped down to focus on her career, and the remaining members decided to divide their focus. Carrie, E.J., and L.G. worked on the website–which continued to act as the category’s central hub—while Victoria, Jaycee, Juliana, and Lynn/Reese steered the blog into a more promotional direction.
· Mid 2014 - NA Alley surpassed one million hits, and the second NA Crush Tournament took place. Shortly thereafter, Victoria, Jaycee, Juliana, and Lynn/Reese left the Alley to pursue other interests. The remaining members (Carrie, E.J., and L.G.) took that opportunity to breathe new life into the project by imitating a complete site revamp. Over thirty industry professionals took part.
· Mid 2015 - After compiling a massive amount of feedback, the board implemented format changes to meet both audience and contributor needs. This included a more inclusive scope (all coming-of-age titles), a brand revamp (NA Alley to NextLit), and the move from blogging to bi-weekly newsletters.
· Early 2016 - After another round of research, we decided to focus our attention on our podcasts (formerly known as Alleycast), using the newsletters as an informational supplement.
What's next? We hope you'll stick around and find out! :)_