One problem that authors of unique literature face is the classification of their work.  I am no exception, as I am writing a series which may be called fantasy, sci-fi-, adventure, or simply fiction.  

If you are having the same problem, then please feel free to leave a comment along with your blog address!  Mine is

Thank you and happy writing!

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I tend to write historical fiction, but I like to throw in some mystery as well as supernatural elements.  I've had reviewers complain that my books don't fit into the "historical romance formula".  I honestly wasn't aware there was one.  I am telling a story and i am not trying to make it fit into a formula.  What's the fun in that?  I think that the industry is changing and books that were aimed only at a specific slice of the market are now being marketed to a wider range of readers.  I might never have read something like "The Game of Thrones" because it was marketed to fantasy readers, but I read the series and loved it.  So, let's start creating our own categories and hope that the readers follow!

Irina Shapiro


For the first time I wrote what I thought was YA historical. But I have found that many adult readers enjoy it and it is on the very cusp of historical since it took place in 1933.

so, that said, it probably could be classified as fiction/ drama.

I really am getting tired of having to classify fiction, so much of it can be in two or three classifications, so where do you put it. Blame it on the booksellers. Everything MUST fit into a specific nich so they can catalog it for inventory and advertising purposes.

I do a small blog on my website. Had one here but too many places to go ont he internet and it began to interfer with my writing.

Genre classifications are marketing tools, and as such, they serve a purpose even though they may not provide any remarkable insight into a particular work.

We live in a time when genre categories have been sliced finer and finer. With fantasy, for example, we have high fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, historical fantasy, heroic fantasy, and I'm sure many others that aren't coming to mind this instant.

This proliferation of genres is probably a good thing for writers. We have a better chance of convincing a publisher that our work fits in some recognized category and will thus be easy to market. Or if we're self-publishing and self-marketing, we have a better chance of defining our work in a way that targets a particular audience.

So my advice to the average writer of popular fiction would be to pick the genre label that seems to fit your book best (even if it's not a great fit) and run with it. Alternatively, you can also define your book as "cross-genre" or "slipstream."

I'm with you! My upcoming series is fantasy (of the modern or urban variety), romance, mystery, and most especially -- it is a character story. Which is to say, it is about the main character learning to overcome certain handicaps. Oh, heck, here's the blurb:

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Book 1)

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

I like it, though. I can spin it to my audience. It's a bit hard to spin to the anti-romance crowd, but to so many different kinds of people, I can say, hey, this might be for you!

The classification that bothers me the most is "literary fiction." Somehow we've conflated "literary" and "good." Many people who write literary think that it is in someway better and that other genres can "rise" to become literary. As someone who does write in this genre, it bothers me, and I don't like that we have these classifications at all. I agree with Irina Shapiro. Great comment!

I've never been completely sure what makes a book "literary." I'm not sure if it's the style of writing, or if it's a matter of the purpose of the book (to enlighten rather than to entertain), or something else. There's definitely perceived snobbery from us genre writers, but I think some of us are hypocrites. Have you met many scifi writers? :)

In the modern age, what makes a novel "literary" is the choice to label it that way. It's a marketing decision like any other.

Yeah, I'd agree with that too Richard. I think that there are any number of books that truly are literary and mystery or literary and whatever. They are labeled as literary to sell them to a certain group of people.

I've always thought that there are rules to the literary novel just as there are to others. There is a loose plot that focuses mostly on characters. The character's morality must be conflicted. And the ending must be enigmatic.

That's as many rules as any other genre.

Oh and that's true. We're all snobby about our own genre, I think!

Oh, boy--have I run into this. My book, The Underground, is a paranormal urban fantasy with a dose of science fiction. I used to call myself a genre bender, but I heard another  term I like better--genre smasher. So that's what I am. It does make things a bit difficult, like finding bloggers open to something different.

Yes, I've run into this. One of my books (Soulless) is what I call 'philosophical horror'. It is something similar to science fiction only it is based around philosophical concepts rather than scientific principles... of course, since no one knows what 'philosophical horror' is, I feel like I am effectively going nowhere. Need I say it is frustrating? Anyway, my blog is here in case anyone here wants to have a look:

If the label "philosophical horror" bewilders rather than entices potential customers, perhaps it's not effective marketing to call the book that. Have you considered simply calling it "horror?"


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