Today, I am turning my blog over to author and blogger AB Shepherd. She talks about the problems writers face when their book doesn't fit neatly into a genre such as science fiction or romance. What is a genre? Over to you AB...
Genre 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 neatly into a pre-established genre? You end up with a book like Ann Massey’s Salvation Jane.
Salvation Jane:an amalgam of genres--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 it to them to read is tricky, because it doesn’t fit neatly into a genre category so it can’t be marketed easily. The same can be said of Lifeboat, my novel.
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?
A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia in 2009. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world. Lifeboat is her debut novel and is available at Amazon and most other online bookstores. The Beacon, her second novel, has an anticipated release date of Christmas 2013.
If you'd like to learn more about A.B. Shepherd please visit her website at www.abshepherd.net.A.B. loves to hear from readers. Feel free to contact her with your thoughts on Lifeboat, or anything else that takes your fancy.
You can also connect with her on Twitter@ABHPShepherd and on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-and-Blogger-AB-Shepherd/336336493057737.