Genre? What’s the Big Deal?
But I reckon you can get too fixated with purity of genre. Take A Tale of Two Cities, for example. In terms of Amazon’s fiction categories, it could justifiably be classed under Adventure & Action, Historical, Horror, Political, Psychological, Romance, Thrillers and War, not to mention Classical and Literary Fiction. Considering what a mongrel it is, it has done not too badly.
Anyhow, are Amazon’s genres relevant or up-to-date? On Twitter, countless folk say they’re writing Paranormal or Young Adult, yet Amazon doesn’t count these as genres (sub-genres, at best). And why are Women Writers a separate category? Didn’t that go out with the ark?
The reason why this is on my mind is that I’ve made big changes to my novel, The Girl with the Haunting Smile, so that I can list it under Romance. Okay, it has a powerful love interest that runs through the whole book but it isn’t by any means a conventional romance and its lead character is anything but conventional. It’s also told from a male POV, which isn’t exactly standard.
What I’m confessing is that, while I think genre can be rated too highly, I’ve got down from my soapbox and given in to market reality. Romance sells consistently well, so that’s the place for me. If you want to make your mark on Amazon, you have to play by its rules.
Do I feel bad about what I’ve done? Not really. Quite the opposite, in fact. The sobering truth I’ve now discovered is that, by homing in more consistently on the love interest and ensuring it is never out of the reader’s mind, I’ve given the novel a much stronger, more compelling focus.
Maybe genre isn’t so bad after all.