Sunday, July 3, 2016

Genre Vs. Business

Like many, some of my stuff doesn’t fit neatly into a genre box.  Just where do you place a supernatural thriller with a hint of mystery and a tinge of sci-fi?  Shouldn’t we be able to place our work into the public domain without narrowly confining it to a box that might not be perfect?

Sure…and while we’re at it, I’d also like to win the lottery.

As I’ve often reminded you, writing is a business.  That means that the point is not to make ourselves feel good by putting out piece of art that only snooty people will appreciate, but rather to sell stuff to the public, and that requires the public to be able to find it.  The reason for categories of genre is so that readers will know where to find things that appeal to their interests.

As writers, we can gripe all we want about trying to cram our work into something that might not quite be right, but we better figure it out.  This requires swallowing our pride and balancing the merits of our work against the requirements of business.

Look at your novel and decide which category it best fits into.  Is it predominantly science fiction?  Is it a crime novel?  The fit doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need to find where it has most of its elements and where your potential audience will look.  And what if it doesn’t fit into anything?  Well, unfortunately, you might have to go back and do a massive re-write(I can hear the screeching from arteests now, but no one will find and buy your books…if you’re fine not making a living from writing, go ahead, but most of us want to make this a career, and we have to eat more than our dreams).

Think of genre as business.  Some of us enjoy that aspect; some of us don’t.  Regardless, it’s a consideration that has to come into play when we write.  Figuring it out beforehand can save a lot of heartache, but we have to figure it out at some point regardless.

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