Genre is a funny thing. It sounds straightforward enough – defined story categories such as romance, science fiction and horror – but it gets a bit more complicated when your book doesn’t neatly dovetail into a standard group.
My novels best fit under the category of women’s contemporary fiction. They aren’t serious enough to be called literary fiction and they aren’t romances either. They are people stories, mostly in a domestic setting – except for The Journey that takes readers on a trip through New Zealand wine country.
Trouble is, many people haven’t heard of women’s contemporary fiction and some even say it’s a category that shouldn’t exist. It does make marketing my books just that little bit more complex but hey, I’m never one to shy away from a challenge.
When it comes to genre, word is that the two most popular categories are crime and romance…and, one supposes, never the twain shall meet! Whether these categories have anything to say about the other “g” word (gender) I don’t know, and I definitely don’t presume to comment.
I recently had a stand at the New Zealand Book Festival and decided that I would conduct some unofficial research as to whether this strong inclination toward these two categories would be evident as I met readers visiting the festival. I made a point of asking everyone who came my way what they liked to read and made a small discovery. The genre mentioned most was indeed crime. No one mentioned romance – could that be because they don’t like to admit it in public? Instead I found that fantasy probably got mentioned almost as often as crime but the big majority of people simply told me they, “liked a bit of everything.”
The NZ Book Festival was a great chance to meet readers face to face. I had some great chats and even had a person or two kind enough to tell me they’d already read and loved my books. And as for my conclusion as I tested the readership landscape? I learned one thing: there are some genuinely lovely readers out there and talking to them is a pleasurable way to spend a day no matter what they like to read!
Coming soon. . .