So You Want to Write NA Contemporary Romance?

Photo credit: idea ablaze on Flickr
Note: The inevitable has happened, my friends. After 600+ posts, I've accidentally re-written a post. The original is here, and this one is slightly different (since, you know, I wrote it thinking I hadn't written it yet). Think of it as having 1.5x the resources if you want to write NA Contemporary Romance. :) 

What is it? 

College (or college-age, at least), swoony book boyfriends (and girlfriends), awesome voices, awkward moments, stepping into adulthood, there are so many components of NA Contemporary Romances.

What do they have in common? They all feature college-age protagonists, are in a modern day setting, and the plot largely revolves around a romance.

Pros/Cons of Writing NA Contemporary Romance: 


  • Wonderful voices. Like YA, one of my favorite things about NA are the incredibly diverse and powerful voices. There’s a very distinct sound to NA and some really wonderful voices that set them apart and absolutely fit the age range of their protagonists. 

  • Adorable (or heart-wrenching) romances. The tone in NA novels varies greatly, but in the end, the romances are really great. From the light, fluffy and adorable to the darker, emotionally-ridden conflicts, the romances stick with you long after the book has ended. 

  • Very popular (right now). Which means there’s so much to choose from! And it’s pretty good from a marketing standpoint, because books in popular categories and genres generally have a better chance of selling well. 


  • Stigma/common misconceptions. There are a lot of people out there who still believe (and say) that New Adult is Young Adult with sex. Or that New Adult is the same as erotica. Neither of which are true, but it is an assumption a lot of people make about the category, particularly NA Contemporary Romance. 

  • Mostly digital. I mean, this is really only a con if your dream is to be traditionally published in print. NA is actually doing really well in the digital marketplace, and some NA authors have gone on to be traditionally published after their digitally published books took off (see Tammara Webber, Cora Carmack and Jennifer Armentrout, for example). But at the moment at least, NA is mostly a digital phenomena, and while it’s (painfully) slowly breaking in the traditional print sphere, it’s not quite there yet. 

  • Very popular (right now). Which means it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Being part of a popular movement definitely has it’s pros and cons. 

Recommended Reading: 

As I’ve said in every other So You Want To Write post, reading in the genre (and category) you’re writing in is mandatory. Lucky for you, there are loads of awesome books out there to enjoy and learn from.

Note: I’ve read (and enjoyed) all of these except for Unteachable, which is on my TBR list because I’ve heard great things about it.

For more, check out Goodreads’s New Adult page (which includes more than just Contemporary Romance) and their Popular New Adult books books shelf (which are mostly, but possibly not all Contemporary Romance).

Helpful Links:

Do you enjoy reading or writing NA Contemporary Romance? Share your experience! 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Thinking about writing NA Contemporary Romance? Writer @Ava_Jae shares some tips, recommendations and more. (Click to tweet)  
Do you write NA Contemporary Romance? Share your experience at @Ava_Jae’s So You Want to Write series. (Click to tweet

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