Friday, October 7, 2011

Writing a Book - Jon who?

(that was bad, I know)

Choosing a genre is tough. I have been told and read many things regarding this necessary evil. The most prominent is "In what section of a bookstore would you shelf it?" Well, I'd want mine on the Best Seller shelf! Or at least the Recommended shelf! Ha ha!

Here are some problems I see concerning genre.

What you write matters. Some genres are avoided; some are new, unfamiliar, or made up; and some are trendy. Like Chick Lit was a fad that isn't as popular as it was several years ago. Now YA, Urban Fantasy seem to be hot right now, but I heard Dystopian is taking over, maybe? I wouldn't suggest choosing a genre because it's sought after, but reading agent interviews tells me the majority want those popular ones!

Agents can be fickle. As I research agents, I find a list of what they're seeking. But we need to check multiple sources to see what they really want, because they don't always keep all their sources up to date.

Where does my book fit? My book is a sci fi thriller. But it isn't "hard" or traditional sci fi, it's techno sci fi set in the near future with most things the same, but a bunch of new technology...and there isn't a section for that in the bookstore! So I get lumped into Sci Fi with the other worlds and robots and stuff. Stuff I like, but I feel that people who don't normally look in that section because of the stereotype might like my book. And agents might react the same way, Sci Fi? I don't do that - slush!

Here are some articles on genre that I dug up from names you might recognize:
Jessica @ Bookends, LLC - a Literary Agency
Jodie Renner of Jodie Renner Editing
Nathan Bransford
Janice Hardy from the Other Side of the Story
(these guys have lots of advice for writers!)

In the end, it all comes down to writing a great book and clicking with an agent (or just pubbing it yourself!) What do you think?

(pic source)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Write what you want and don't worry about it! When I was writing my first book, everyone said science fiction was dead. Then high tech science fiction began to take off again, but that is definitely not my book's genre. I still managed to find a publisher who was interested though.
So just write!

Abby said...

Oh man, we share so many of the same feelings on this. Genre's can be hard for some while others know them right off. I just figure - write the story you want to write - find that agent - and let it go!

Iain said...

If the story is strong enough, you'll find an agent and publisher regardless of the genre :o)

Draven Ames said...

Still, it doesn't hurt to know what you are walking into. Great post. I found the links to be very helpful and spotlighted you on my blog.


mshatch said...

I agree with Alex; write what you love and it won't matter what's popular.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I think that writing a really awesome book first is what really matters. Everything else can be worried about later. :)

Madeleine said...

Great post: In the end, it all comes down to writing a great book and clicking with an age. I think you've nailed it!

Rhonda @Laugh Quotes said...

Love this post and the clever title and "Well, I'd want mine on the Best Seller shelf!" - brilliant!

junebug said...

I get this problem. When I was working at Border's my friends kept recommending The Outlander series to me but I refused to read it because it was shelved in Romance. I swore I didn't read Romance. I eventually gave into the peer pressure and am so glad I did! It taught me to look beyond the genre. Unfortunately there are more people like the younger me. It, also, points to how crucial word of mouth is in growing an audience.

Tara Tyler said...

Alex, i will write! i will survive =)

Abby, we will find our match, but it seems harder and more work than finding a soulmate!

Iain, thx for the encouragement. big if! working on it!

Draven, right! and thanks for the shout out!

Tara Tyler said...

Marcy, i know, its just harder, but worth it!

Peggy, right! persevere!

Madeline, Thank you!!

Rhonda, thanks, glad you liked that!

Junebug, you totally get it!

Theresa Milstein said...

I've heard some agents say "No more dystopian". I wonder if that's really true.

There were a few agents at a recent on-line conference, waxing poetic about a couple of books that I didn't think were very good. They had great hooks, but didn't deliver. It was disappointing to hear them drooled about.

Tara Tyler said...

Theresa, makes me wonder if getting an agent is worth the trouble!

Donna Shields said...

Write what you love. The right agent or publisher will follow.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I think it's all in how you sell it to an agent or publisher. If you label it they will make assumptions. Description will be key.