Self-Publishing New Adult Books, Easily

Authors are self-publishing New Adult books to help niche their market. Wherever you are in the writing or publishing process, I go over how to self-publish a book the fastest and easiest way.

But First, What is New Adult?

What is New Adult and how does it differ from Young Adult and Adult genres?

The term “New Adult” was first coined by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. New Adult differs from Young Adult based on the age of the target audience. Young Adult is aimed towards those aged 13-18 (teens in middle and high school). New Adult is aimed towards those aged 18-25.

These stories deal with issues people face during the 18-25 age range. Themes vary from leaving home, navigating career choices, and developing sexuality, to name a few. In short, it’s a second “coming of age” genre for people finding their place in society.

“The New Adult trend is a response to desiring novels that focus on the transitional point of early adulthood, presenting more adult situations than a YA novel. It’s a result of desiring something that doesn’t quite fit into adult literature or YA literature, almost in an awkward transitional point.” 

Recognize any of these? Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is a great example of NA books.

How to Self-Publish New Adult

Gone are the days of sending query letters and waiting for editors to offer a contract. In the last decade, self-publishing has become a more accessible route for established authors and indie beginners alike.

Unlike traditional publishing, self-publishing allows for:

  • A faster and guaranteed path to getting published
  • Ownership over the rights, creative direction, and decisions overall
  • More royalties, up to 70% with major book retailers like Amazon

The self-publishing journey looks like writing → editing → designing book cover → manuscript formatting and conversion → choosing a self-publishing platform → marketing → tracking performance and collecting royalties. Let’s go through each step.

If you’re already looking for a self-publishing platform, check out PublishDrive. The all-in-one dashboard has helped tens of thousands of indies publish 100K+ books so far.

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Writing New Adult

For those who have yet to start or are in the middle of the writing process, here are a few pointers.

Common elements in New Adult stories include:

  • Protagonists usually in the 18-25 age range
  • Young characters but serious topics (e.g. substance abuse)
  • Older and wiser narrators

Watch this quick 13-minute video that further differentiates New Adult from Young Adult:

If it’s your first time writing, ever, see:

New Adult attracts younger readers who are most likely to buy book series. I suggest preparing for a series to retain recurring readers.

Editing Your Manuscript

When you have your finished manuscript, rewrite and edit repeatedly. You want a spotless story:

  • Hire a professional editor (costs start at $10 per 1,000 words)
  • Check the Chicago Manual of Style or your preferred style guide
  • Use free proofreading tools like Grammarly or ProWritingAid
  • Find critique partners or beta readers to review your content

Designing Book Cover

A book cover is the first thing your audience will see. In a sea of competition, you want a design that stands out. I suggest hiring a professional designer. But if you’re under a tight budget, you can opt for making one yourself. I created this mock cover with the free tool Canva:

Read the guide on how to make a book cover for free.

Before finalizing your design, be sure to get feedback. Ask your network what they think. Or post in places like Reddit’s group for self-publishers or PublishDrive’s Facebook group for indies.

Manuscript Formatting and Conversion

To sell your book in stores like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you’ll need to submit two main files: 1) book cover and 2) manuscript in the correct format.

You can find a professional on sites like Upwork or Fiverr to format your book. Or you can DIY it.

  • For ebook, this requires removing all formatting on your Word or Docs file and then reformatting it with ebook requirements. Then, you’d need to convert it – check out this free ebook converter.
  • For print, it's a similar process minus the conversion.
  • For audiobook, mp3 files are divided by chapters.

Choosing a Self-Publishing Platform

By this milestone, your book files are ready to go. What’s left is choosing a platform to upload, publish, and start selling. Here are some of the best self-publishing companies to consider –

Amazon KDP: Most first-timers go with Amazon KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing), where you can earn up to 70% of royalties. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to publish on Amazon KDP.

Although Amazon is a fantastic store, KDP requires you to sell exclusively to them for the first 90 days. That means you miss out on at least half of the online book market. Instead, you want to maximize your revenue stream by selling in multiple stores. That’s how indies made 85% more book sales via PublishDrive. 

Apple Books: As you can see in the chart above, Apple Books saw 29% more sales in 2020 (despite the pandemic). With the reading app pre-installed on every Apple device, that’s over 1.4 billion users who may come across your book. It’s free to publish and you can earn up to 70% royalties.

Barnes & Noble: Unlike Amazon, Barnes & Noble does not require exclusivity. It’s free to publish and reach millions of readers on BN.com and NOOK devices.

PublishDrive: As an aggregation company, PublishDrive gets you into numerous book stores (with only a few mouse clicks). PublishDrive’s distribution network includes all major retailers, like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. They also send your book out to foreign book markets like China and niche channels like Dreame.

Marketing Your Book

Your job doesn’t end after publishing. To meet readers online, you have to promote online. Here are top book marketing tactics to know:

Collect book reviews: Make this a priority. Having zero reviews can deter people who end up on your book page. Without at least five solid reader reviews, it’d be a waste of energy (and money) to run other marketing efforts.

Set up a pre-order: Because stores count sales on the first day of release, you can shoot up the sales count by building pre-orders in advance. That means a higher chance of getting listed on bestseller lists.

Engage with bloggers, booktubers, book clubs: New Adult readers are especially spending their time in these online spaces. Browse around and reach out to those who peaked your interest for special featuring or partnering events.

Run price promotions: Indies made 10x more book sales by running discounted and free price campaigns in retail stores like Amazon. These work.

Feature in stores and newsletter: Get featured in newsletters looking for free or discounted books (like Freebooksy). Or regularly submit your book to free featuring opportunities.

Tracking Performance and Collecting Royalties

Self-publishing is a business and you should treat it as such. Stay organized by setting up a system for tracking book sales performance.

A tool like PublishDrive gets rid of the Excel sheets and administrative duties. On one dashboard, see real-time sales for multiple stores, automatic royalty reports, and pre-made charts. Keep track of store links, rankings, and ratings in one location.

Ready to Self-Publish Your New Adult Book?

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“I know when I submit my information to PublishDrive, they're in charge of getting it up where it needs to be. As long as I’m on time with my files...I trust PublishDrive to see it done...They handle all the heavy lifting...To take five minutes and do it with PublishDrive saves me a bunch of time.”
– Bestselling Indie Author Lauren Smith