Now, say you've written an awesome book and it's a fun romantic story. You query an agent and call it a contemporary romance. The agent sees the genre and ... what?
DO YOU THINK SOME AGENTS AUTOMATICALLY SLUSH A QUERY BASED ON THE GENRE?
I'm not saying all, but I bet when I send my Sci Fi Thriller, some agents/readers might auto-slush it, thinking, "I'm not looking for sci fi." But my book doesn't fall in the traditional sci fi, it's more of an adventure. I say it's like a combination of "Romancing the Stone" and "I, Robot" - a romantic comedy/adventure set in the future with laser teleportation! How do I put a genre on that? I know there are mixed genres and sub genres, but in the bookstore/online categories I'm guessing mine would go in sci fi, so that's where I pigeon hole it in the query. The same is true when people buy books - some people have a preconceived notion about genres and won't look in those sections.
So let's play a game...
Here are a few genres. You say the first thing that comes to mind. I will too. It'll be fun!
Here are my associations:
Romance - kissy kissy mush
Literary - high brow
Women's - serious (or plus size)
Fantasy - dragons!
YA - melodramatic
Sci Fi - Space! (and being a writer, space opera)
Horror - blood and guts
Commercial - couldn't think of a genre
Thriller - exciting
Chick Lit - meaningless fun
Looking forward to your associations! What do you think? Do agents (and their pre readers) get so many queries these days that they skim to find the genre and toss away the story? And are there sections of the bookstore you don't bother looking in?
Thanks for playing and have a wonderful MOTHER'S DAY WEEKEND! May you not have to lift a finger at least this one day of the year!