During my association with writers, I have noticed reluctance—if not a downright stubbornness —among them to admit that they are writing in a genre. Most of them seem to be holding out for the Big L. (literature)
Academia would have us believe that genre is a disagreeable, four-letter word, but any bookstore owner will tell you that genre sells.
In reality, being cast in a genre is the best thing that could happen to a writer. It is the shortest route to your audience and the easiest way for the READER to find YOU.
My mind has been busy putting all the piece together, and I have realized two things:
1. the issue of self-promotion is too long for one post, so I’m going to break in down into a series.
2. While I’m coalescing these thoughts, your input would be valuable to me!!!
Many writers have trouble pinpointing what genre they write. I say to them: take your hands off your manuscript and point your finger at your potential audience. Are they women? Are they men? Are they children, YA or middle aged? Are they educated, or is your piece more pulp fiction? Is your work inspirational–chicken soup. Is it action adventure or fantasy? Does it go back in time or forward? Is there a murder mystery? Is it romance?
Thus we begin to narrow the gap. You can not think that your work will appeal to everyone.
* As a side note: I have a very good friend who writes romantic stories, but because he is a man, I don’t think he wants to admit it. His mind is locked on the glitter of LITERATURE. Until he does admit to romance, with a side order of erotica, I don’t think he’ll have the kind of success that he’s looking for. That’s double IMHO. (in my humble opinion)
* I have another friend who is writing—at least, in my mind—an inspirational, science fiction/Armageddon type story. He reluctantly calls it science fiction, hints at inspirational and down plays Armageddon. I might add that it took me several weeks to arrive at this idea. Why so coy? In my mind, he should have blasted me with these descriptors the very first time I clicked on his site.
* I have another friend who won a fantasy award, but was discomfited because he thought the piece sci-fi. Please, you won, I said. Take the prize and run.
(I hope I don’t lose any friends on this account. I am rather blunt, and, damn-it, if you can’t say what you really thing, then why speak (write), at all?)
Honesty and information is critical to the sale.
Perhaps, you have crossed one genre into another. Maybe, your writing a romantic, space opera with a an adventure wag. Maybe, you can’t sum it up with one word. So what? The more identifiers you can put on it; the closer you get to the readers who will enjoy it.
Cast aside your dreams of the Big L and the noble peace prize. Call an apple an apple, and let the critics decide if it’s literature. It isn’t your call, anyway.
Think of it this way: If an agent walked up to you today, what would you say? Would you stumble, er, ah, and speak of dreamy things? Or would you say: I have the most awesome vampire story that you’ve every read. Blows everything else out of the water. It has elements of romance. It’s directed at adults and it’s loaded with survival skills. Sounds awesome to me; I’d buy it.
Or, think of it this way: We’re on EBay. You want to sell me a car, but you won’t or can’t tell me what make, model or year. End of conversation, I say.
How many writing blogs have I clicked on, how many posts have I read, without having a clear idea what the writer was working on? TONS! This is self-destructive to your work. Put on your ad-man hat. Promote your work immediate. Don’t expect your readers to dig up the truth.
With these things in mind, I’ve decided that I need a customized header on my blog.
Because: I WRITE SHORT STORIES OF MIXED GENRE FROM 30 WORDS TO 6,000. I SPECIALIZE IN, but am not limited to, SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND POST APOPCOLYPTIC TALES. INCASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW.
Also, to be frank, I post sporadically, so if you want to keep up with me, you’ll have to subscribe or play catch-up from time to time.
Thoughts? Questions? Disagreements? Advice? I am a gracious listener.