The risk of too many genres

I came a cropper writing across too many genres when it came to publishing.  I decided to do a form of deconstructed palimpsest that provided more layers and texture to the novel. When doing my University course in Creative Writing as part of the Eng. Lit, they did stress that it was a more interesting book if, in their terminology, an author wrote ‘across the grain’, ‘across genres.’ It is obvious the course did not take into account the publishing aspects.  Since writing first as a nonprofessional with Authonomy and then as a publisher with Kindle, I discovered it does incur difficulties. 

My first book, Stone Relics, really had a wide cross grain, with science fiction, prehistoric themes, crime, paganism, romance and some incidents of erotica with the ancient goddesses. It also incorporated mythology and the latest research in genetics.  When it came to assessing it for the categories offered by Kindle, it fell between all these posts.  Amazon is generous with their categories, but Stone Relics outstretched them. I don’t think anyone could actually promote it even under four of the categories offered.  However, Stone Relics got into the top 100 hundred for its subgenre in Science Fiction and High Tech quite a few times. I was happy about that, but disappointed it did not reach those readers who like myself love mythology, ancient religions, and archaeology. Actually, at the time I did have a traditional publisher albeit a new one.  We have since parted ways in a friendly manner, although it was a feisty experience and heart breaking at times,

I have since discovered I should have put it under Action and Adventure, or Archaeological Action and Adventure, for which there is not a category, but Action, Thriller, Suspense; Adventure would be the ones to aim for. As Stone Relics is set in the very near future 2065, the High Tech should have been last on the list.  So that is a tip I hope for writers of crime and mythology or who have a  symbolic theme to your book – shades of Dan Brown, etc. The trick is to cut down on the genres. This may seem limiting, but I can see the sense of it. 

I wrote the other two novels Return to Rhonan and Possessed at Rhonan before I realized the foregoing rules or limitations.  These too crossed the genres. The story based in 1810 was of the  tragic Scottish Land Clearances. I was really moved by this and wanted to write it as a tribute to the courage of the Scottish peasants and crofters. I included a romance to make it more of a novel than an historical text.  But then my imagination ran away with me, and I included the paranormal and again, the palimpsest of letters read across the centuries. So again, to my dismay I found that I was at a loss as to what genre to choose in order to get it to a prominent position in the lists. It was not paranormal really; it was supernatural or occult, even horror, but not a vampire in sight or heroic demons flaunting tattooed pecs with six-pack sizzling sex. If I’d known I’d have had a go.  So again, these two books over which I slaved for nearly a year, fell between the genres.

The upshot is I have just finished two crime books of a series, and they are just that – crime – police procedural. I do have a pagan theme, but it is a modern day cult. There are no supernatural overtones, purely crime. Nevertheless, I found it so difficult to keep within a genre.

Now months later again, I realize there are plenty of extremely well received books with archaeological and mythological themes but although highly ranked, there does not appear to be a genre section after their sales rank.  So, as it is nearly my bedtime, I shall repair to my bed with my Kindle Fire and research.

By the way, Stone Relics is unpublished at present as it is undergoing editing and upgrading.  I hope to republish within the next few weeks.   

I wish you all a peaceful night or fulfilling day.

My kind regards, or Love and hugs.


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