Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Books That Defy Genre Labels

Today I'm turning my blog over to author and blogger, AB Shepherd. She talks about the genre challenge facing writers whose books aren't a perfect match for the major book genres. Over to you AB...

"What is a genre? It is a label used to categorize a book. It is intended to be useful to help readers discern whether they will enjoy it, and to help book stores know where to stock it on their shelves.But what happens when a book just doesn’t fit quite so nearly into a pre-established genre?

You end up with a book like Ann Massey’s Salvation Jane - which is chick lit, wrapped up in a political thriller, tied together with a romance/contemporary fiction/literary fiction/drama. It is one of those books that needs to be read by the masses, but just how to get them to read is tricky, because it doesn't fit neatly into any genre category so it can't be marketed easily.

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The same can be said of my book. Lifeboat is a science fiction/mystery/thriller with aliens and UFOs, but it is so much more than that. It is a story of love, loss, isolation, coping mechanisms, manipulation, and mind games. It is a story that will leave you thinking. Don’t take my word for it - read the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.
But it is difficult to market because it doesn’t fit neatly into one or two of those predefined genre categories. Several readers have said of Lifeboat, “I hate books about UFOs and aliens, but I loved Lifeboat”. But because so many people dislike books about aliens and UFOs they will pass it by and miss out on a really good (if I do say so myself) book.
How many other authors are having this difficulty with their novels? I’m guessing many. I almost did the same with Salvation Jane. I don’t enjoy books about politics, so I nearly said “sorry”, but Ann told me it was more than that, so I gave it a chance and I really enjoyed it.

Oh sure, there are some authors who say “I write romance” or “I write thrillers” and that is exactly what they write. Those books easily find their target audience. There is nothing wrong with that, and good on ‘em. But what about the rest of us? Ann, me and all those others authors out there whose books are more than they appear at first glance. How do we go about finding our target audience when our books are different, and we don’t have a defined target audience?

It is difficult. All we can do is list the category we think it comes closest too and cross our fingers, hoping.
We can only hope that some open-minded readers like you will find them, like them, and share their discoveries with the world by not only leaving reviews, but talking about them with their friends and family.
I hope you will give Salvation Jane, and Lifeboat, a chance and keep your minds open.
What books have YOU read lately that defy their genre label?  

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