December 13th, 2012
Genres, What are they really?

Yesterday I made up a new list of possible writing projects. This time I broke them into genres. It turns out that two are paranormal romance, three are contemporary romantic suspense, three are sci-fi romance, two are YA fantasy, one is YA sci-fi, one is hardboiled crime/dark fantasy, one is urban fantasy, and two are horror with other elements added. As you can see, they don’t exactly go together. I did this so I could take a look at the bigger picture of what I was writing (or planned to write). It was actually eye-opening. I was surprised to see so much science fiction. I know I incorporate a lot of science fiction into my writing, but I didn’t realize I had so many future stories that revolved around that particular genre.

Most readers don’t break genres down quite to the level that I do. And they shouldn’t. Genres are created so bookstores know where to shelve books. These days the designation isn’t nearly as important, especially if you’re writing mainly e-books. Readers only really care about a good story. I think writers could call their books, Pumpkin Fiction and it wouldn’t matter as long as the story was solid. 😉 Again, that’s as it should be. But for a writer, it’s important to know what type of book you’re trying to create. It keeps you on track when you’re writing. Not that other things might not creep into a story. They do–at least for me. But it helps to know what type of story you’re trying to tell (ie genre, theme, subject, etc.).

I’m looking closely at my genres because I don’t want to confuse readers. At the same time, there are stories that I want to tell. Does designating a genre matter to you? Do you buy based on author name or subject matter? Both? I’m genuinely curious.

5 comments to “Genres, What are they really?”

  1. For me, the subject matter and the preview play a huge part, but name recognition draws me. I have previewed many of my favorite authors lately, and didn’t buy because the story did not draw me in. Amazon gives enough of a review to either hook me or dissuade me. Also, If I see ten pages starting out the preview of advertising nonsense as filler, I’m figuring someone is trying to obfuscate my preview. 🙂

  2. Bernard, I’m a HUGE fan of the Amazon preview set up. I’ve bought a lot of new to me authors because of the preview. I also agree that if the front of the book is filled with ads/publishing info/TOC and no content whatsoever I’ll skip purchasing the book. I want to be able to check out the writing. Voice plays a large part of whether I buy or not.

    So far, you look as if you’re writing in two genres. Have you thought about what your readership responds to genre wise?

  3. I’m writing YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, and Action/Thriller. My Writer/Assassin novel you reviewed has been the best selling one of the thirteen I have for sale. I’m hoping the YA/Paranormal trilogy I’ve completed takes off when I release the first book near to Christmas, but I’m still clueless with marketing. I’m trying everything for the next six months, ads in BTSe-mag, more of those radio interviews, and keep converting novels into screenplays. If I ever snag a screenplay sale, it could change everything, but it’s a pipe dream so far. 🙂

  4. Bernard, Are you talking about paranormal romance? The reason I ask is because of the separation between paranormal and fantasy. I know there’s a difference. I’m just curious why ‘you’ have divided them. I’m glad I am not the only writer that’s scattered over several genres. 😉
    I’m not surprised the Assassin novel is your most popular. Your ‘voice’ in that one is really strong. Good luck with the YA! 🙂 I’ll also keep my fingers crossed for you that a screenplay gets picked up.

    As for marketing, I am the absolute worst. I don’t do most of what I should be doing on that front. :-/

  5. Everything I write has some romance in it. 🙂 I’ve been confused by the blurring line between paranormal and fantasy. From the myriad descriptions I’ve read, the fantasy genre incorporates a host of fantastical characters in a real world setting as I did with LAYLA. A paranormal genre would be a setting where the reader is drawn into a plausible story of something supernatural acting on the real world setting. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my YA trilogy. I got in it so deep, I went way over the YA guidelines for length. Each book is 80,000 words or slightly longer, but they’re fast paced.

    All we can do is keep producing, and having fun doing it, my friend. A ‘Fifty Shades’ lightning strike possibility makes it all exciting. 🙂