So, you’ve written this book, it’s almost ready for publication, and inevitably you are going to have to throw it in a category.    

Any other authors get anxious about this? I’d love to share my fears with you.  Let me know if your story plays out something like mine.

There was a time that I was trying to keep my story light enough that I could call it YA.  Hollywood and the internet would lead me to believe that most adult readers are shopping for their literature in that category. Inevitably though, the reality of my character’s lives didn’t make sense through PG-13 lenses. So I feared that I’d be sacrificing good story telling for the sake of demographics.  On the other hand, I made great effort to reign in my vocabulary, so if YA simply means  ‘easy to read,’ then maybe I could still fit.  After all, Hunger Games is considered YA, if teenager on teenager violence can fit the bill maybe my book can?  Oh wait… sorry my mistake… it’s not the violence, but the sex I’d I have to take out.

Yes it’s true, I don’t remember Hermione and Ron getting busy, took Edward and Bella four books to get there.  Katniss? Nope don’t think so.  Wait, what about that Divergent series? Didn’t that have sex in it?  Dammit! I can’t remember! I think it maybe it did!  Again though, most my characters are age 22-25, so it wouldn’t seem very plausible if they were all saving themselves for marriage… or even just book 3.

For awhile, I thought there might be hope in this whole New Adult genre.  It was a short while.  As quickly one discovers that this is just the polar opposite of YA.  I’m not sure that you can be in the new adult anymore unless you’re basically writing a romance novel centered on ‘young adults’.  Well, my book has sex in it, but more or less in a ‘you know which characters are sleeping together’ manner.  In other words, I don’t spend my chapters trying to get the reader from one sex scene to the next.    Anyhow, New Adult seemed out of the question.

Now, here comes the avalanche of Genres that will give people the wrong impression the moment I pick one, even if some elements apply:

Fantasy: Well, it’s not set in a medieval period and there aren’t any wizards or dragons. So I guess this is out.

Dystopian/Post-Apocalypse:  No

Apocalypse: Maybe, but this seems to get saddled with a religious expectation.

Supernatural: Nope, no magic, no ghosts, no vampires.

Supernatural Romance: No already, and definitely not enough romance.

Urban Supernatural: YES YES! It does take place (mostly) in one city.  Ugg, there is that other word again.

Historical Fiction: Well, it’s takes place 7 years ago, but I don’t think that will cut it.

Action/Adventure: Yes, but it’s not predominantly either.  It could just as easily be called Suspense Thriller.

Science Fiction: Sadly, this might apply. Admittedly there is an alien, and there are multidimensional travelers.  Still, that really isn’t the focus and people might be disappointed if I market it as pure sci-fi.  The emphasis is the dilemma, not the technology making the unique dilemma possible.  That and putting your novel under science fiction is like throwing a toothpick into a volcano. (name that reference, gold star will be provided)

Urban Science Fiction: This was my front runner.  Then I realized that basically no one reads it.

Super Hero: Again, it applies, but it would give quite the wrong impression.

Fiction/Mystery/Noir…. Ehh you see my point.

So I change gears.  Do I have a target audience? I guess I expect that men age 20-30 would best relate to my main character.  Yet as far as I can tell, this might be the least likely subset of the population to pick up a book, let alone mine.  I thought that this impression might exist only in my head but research supports it.  Apparently, my best bet to reach that male demographic was non-fiction.

The thing is, I didn’t write a book for men, but the spark that set the fuse was the question “what is wrong with men?”  So in a way, I want men to read it and see if it resonates.  On the other hand, there isn’t any reason a woman couldn’t relate to the main character, just because the question about men set the fuse for the plot, I still made great effort to focus on story and not message.

Regardless of all this, I am starting to wonder if I can just make up my own genre when I publish.

Urban Apocalypse | Could call it Urban Apoc for short.  Maybe it would distance itself from the religious context.  I like the contradiction as well, centering the global apocalypse into a fixed spot. No?  Maybe? Crap… someone already thought of it!

Anyone else writing any Urban Apoc these days?  I’d really like to hear from other authors on their struggle with genre selection.

The Never Genre | Genre Should Be A Four Letter Word
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