There’s been a lot of discussion over the reality, need and description of the new adult genre. This age group, at least in the Euro-western culture is between about 18 years and 25 years old usually and is characterized by several items most notably has been termed “an age of transition”. A time to transition by moving out of their parent’s house, to their first serious relationship, or transition to their first meaningful job in their chosen career, and of course transitioning from high school to college and so on.
In the UK for example earlier this year, psychologists have even discovered additional reasons why this is a uniquely different group of people when compared with those in their late teens or age 30 and over. But I believe there is yet another set of circumstances that make the 18 to 25 or maybe even 35 year olds different than those younger or older. In fact different than how anyone born before 1960 were when they were in the 18 years to 35 year old range.
In a word, ECONOMICS. TIME Inc. has supplied the lion’s share of the next set of facts. Facts that cause the 18 to 25 year old age group to be different culturally and therefore represent a unique genre to be addressed in literature, music and entertainment.
My blog, like all blogs, has a global reach so this is being written from an American perspective. In the U.S. the “kids” coming of age in the last 5 to 8 years have overall not been typical of the generations before them.
For years, retailers, marketers and businesses of all shapes and sizes have gone out of their way to try to win over that “all-important” 18-to-34-year-old demographic. Now that this age group is broke and facing huge student loans and a lackluster job market, though, the realization is setting in that perhaps it’s not such a good idea to focus on a bunch of consumers with little disposable income and increasingly frugal habits.
The perfect customer is one who is young (and has the potential to keep being a customer for decades), hip (so others will follow in his footsteps and also become customers) and always supplied with plenty of money to blow on the latest products and services. Thanks to the Great Recession and its fallout, however, it’s unlikely that someone who is young and hip also has all that much cash to throw around.
Here’s a handful of facts about this age group:
- Only 54% of Americans ages 18 to 24 have jobs, the lowest rate since the government started tracking such data in 1948.
- Young Americans are increasingly likely to live with their parents because they cannot afford to get out on their own, and outstanding student-loan debt is near $1 trillion for the first time ever.
- The combination of soaring student-loan debt, rising costs of higher education and an employment market that’s short on jobs — and especially short on well-paid jobs for young workers — is forming the next massive “debt bomb,” according to a recent Washington Post story.
It’s no mystery why so many young Americans are now living with their parents: What with unemployment rates high, and the jobs that are widely available to young workers tending to be those with meager salaries (and few or no benefits), more of today’s young adults are too poor and ill-prepared to leave home and head off on their own.
These factors have trickled down to the young adult generation as well. If you were born before 1955 for example one of the rights of passage was to get your driver’s license. The number of teen drivers has dramatically decreased over the past couple of decades. Consider this:
- In 1983, 69% of all 17-year-olds had driver’s licenses.
- By 2008, only half of 17-year-olds had licenses.
How can these kinds of changes where first upward mobility was impacted and now horizontal mobility is being impacted not impact their leisure time entertainment?
Pew Research provided even more background for this blog. The 18 to 29 year old age group is unique in other ways as well and these differences drive their “new adult” genre needs:
- 75% have created a profile on a social networking site.
- 20% have posted a video of themselves online.
- Almost 40% have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more).
- Almost 25% have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe — about six times the share of older adults who’ve done this. But 70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath clothing.
- About 90% either say that they currently have enough money or that they will eventually meet their long-term financial goals. But at the moment, fully 37% of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades.
Research shows that young people who graduate from college in a bad economy typically suffer long-term consequences — with effects on their careers and earnings that linger as long as 15 years.
When my husband and I sat down to develop our new adult series, SCANDALS, we factored as much of this background into the story lines of the books as possible. The voice of the new adults is different, decisive and entertaining and any author who writes these characters as just another adult age group is missing real opportunities as well as a very large market that will remain unique for decades. Book #1, BABY DADDY, was released a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the blurb for the new adult book, BABY DADDY, a SCANDALS Romantic Suspense, book #1.
An inheritance brought her more than she ever could have imagined…
Killeen Ames has it all…beauty, brains, a college softball scholarship and a rich and handsome boyfriend who has helped to stretch her college funds and fill her social calendar. He is the only boy she ever allowed past second base and now he’s her baby daddy. However, being a father was not in his short-range plans. He graduates, then he splits, leaving Killeen to decide what she wants to do about the pregnancy…and to worry about how she’s going to keep her scholarship. With no marketable skills, no job, no home and medical bills for her and the baby on the horizon, she knows she must move forward. A knock at the door of her boyfriend’s apartment changes the game forever when an attorney gives her the news of an inheritance from an unknown dead relative.
After traveling to Austin, Killeen walks into the meeting and is surprised to find out that the relative was actually her birth father, and he had been a popular music star who recently died of an overdose. Even more shocking are the four strangers who share the same absentee dad. He has left them a highly successful private investigation agency, Scandals. The catch is…they have to make the commitment to work there.
Their introduction to the P.I. business almost gets them killed when a bomb goes off in the warehouse that sends Killeen to the hospital. She has kept the secret of her pregnancy from everyone, including Christopher, the totally irresistible manager of Scandals. Their hot night of wild sex in the office was a one-time thing…right? She chalks up her attraction to him as just raging hormones. They have no chance of a future together. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and successful. He would never want anyone with so much baggage.
Christopher has a secret of his own. He’s been investigation the possibility that, despite popular opinion, their father’s death hadn’t been an accidental overdose. He thinks it was murder.
Even though the five siblings still haven’t accepted the fact that they have a father who made no attempt to be a part of their lives, they join together to discover the truth about his death. The search throws Killeen and Christopher together and their passion grows hotter. As her feelings for him slowly become more serious, she knows she must tell him about the baby.
After a fun day in the sun, an event happens that outs Killeen’s secret. Christopher, as expected, doesn’t take the news well. But they must continue to work together to track down a killer, especially since the killer has now focused on them.
Someone doesn’t want them to stay and take over the business. In fact, someone wants them all dead and now the decision on whether or not to be a part of the agency seems very unimportant compared to the job of trying to stop from being killed.
They set up a trap that goes terribly wrong. Suddenly, Killeen must make a big decision. Who should she save? Her baby? Christopher? Her new brothers and sisters? Their lives are in her hands.
Baby Daddy is the first book in the Scandals New Adult series of romantic suspense. Each book of the series will focus on one of the offspring of Roger Elliott, a famous musician who left them with a legacy they weren’t expecting. This book is about Killeen Ames who must deal with an unexpected pregnancy, an absentee baby daddy, an irresistible attraction to a hot new guy and four new half-brothers and sisters. Tramp Stamp, the second book in this series will be released in Spring, 2014 and will tell Reno’s story.
It is currently available on a number of book retailers:
SMASHWORDS – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/379398
iTunes / Apple – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id757465403
This blog only touches the surface of the impact of the economy on growing up in America. Bottom line “kids” 18 to 25 or even 30 are a unique demographic and authors and screenwriters are ahead of the curve in many cases but some publishers and studios have yet to invest.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, BABY DADDY, like many of the new adult genre books, is written in first person. While it changes the way the book has to be written the ability to place the reader deep inside the story is amazing. It’s one thing to describe how someone is attacked by a killer it’s totally another to describe how the character felt about being attacked.