Style & Genre

I’ve never thought of myself as a thriller writer. It’s not really a genre I like to read…… Having said that, there seems to be a distinction between Crime and Thriller according to The Guardian. So why don’t the bookshop’s follow that rule? If you go into Waterstone’s all crime and thriller titles are in the same section, on their website, it’s even worse, there’s only a crime section…..pout 😦

I tend to write about people’s lives, how a persons life can change in the blink of an eyelid. I never really thought about what genre my writing would fit into, and nowadays it seems that you have to fit into a category. Soooo, ok, there is an element of suspense/mystery in what I like to write, but crime? Really? I don’t think so lol. I always thought that crime was about case solving, a detective (or at least Police) chasing a baddy…..Serial killers and murderers.

Linda Gillard brought my attention to this Guardian Article which is quite scary, and means that from my point of view, if I ever hope to get published I have to make sure that I somehow fit neatly inside a publishers box if I have any hope of getting published….. How sad is that? 😦 Do i write Popular Fiction? Literary Fiction? Contemporary Fiction?….*brain throbs*

As to style? What is my style? I like Fay Weldon, but I don’t write like her. I love Anita Shreve, but my writing is no way anything like hers either lol. The last 2 books I have read (inc my current read) have been by gay male authors (lots of sex scenes) and I definitely don’t find myself being influenced by that lol. So what am I influenced by? Strong female characters overcoming adversity? (is that chick lit? Lol) Character driven plots? The good and the bad in all of us?

Perhaps I need to decide whether I’m writing for myself (where style & genre is irrelevant) or a wider audience (where genre is everything) before I make a decision as to what direction I want to go in…..or I could always just throw in the towel and start writing Sci Fi 😉

7 thoughts on “Style & Genre

  1. You make some good points here, Vikki, about the genre marketing problems authors have to grapple with. When an editor assesses a manuscript s/he wants to know what genre the book is and s/he wants to know on p.1. Any kind of blurring of genre boundaries makes a book hard to market and one of the effects of the recession has been the sidelining of books that mix genres. Women’s fiction has also suffered badly. Crime and paranormal continue to do well.

    My experience tells me that female readers like mixed genre books and what they’re looking for is not a story formula, but a distinctive authorial “voice” – one that informs each novel by that writer. But it’s hard to market what I call “a thumping good read”. (Yet this is what everyone is looking for!)

    You will not have these difficulties if you e-publish independently. Genres are readily blurred and e-book purchases are governed by things like price, cover and number of positive reviews. Readers are just looking for a good story, cheap. If you self-publish on Kindle, you have to allocate your e-book to only 2 genres from a list that Amazon supplies, but it will then put your book in additional categories. (Some of them inappropriate in my experience!)

    The big difference about e-books is that authors and publishers are marketing their books to *readers*, not retailers. The marketing hoops that a tree book has to jump through are all about appealing to book retailers – specifically supermarkets.

    So when you’re polishing your manuscript, do bear in mind what Tesco’s chief book buyer might be looking for, because that is the tail that is wagging the dog. 😉


  2. Pingback: Pitching The WIP | The View Outside

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