If you write, you tend to write certain stories. I don’t, for some reason: I have a published horror story, as well as one of erotica, and I’m getting ready to publish something that’s science fiction. But most other writers I know do; they write romance, or science fiction, or paranormal, or young adult. They get into their groove and go with it–
Assuming they know what that groove actually is.
I had a conversation with a writer friend of mine a few days back, and they were trying to figure out the genre for their story. Now, lets get this out of the way: they write science fiction. But when they were looking at all the sub-genres that are offered for self-publishing, they found there were–well, it ain’t just science fiction, let me tell you:
FIC028000 FICTION / Science Fiction / General
FIC028010 FICTION / Science Fiction / Action & Adventure
FIC028070 FICTION / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
FIC028040 FICTION / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
FIC028020 FICTION / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
FIC028050 FICTION / Science Fiction / Military
FIC028030 FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera
FIC028060 FICTION / Science Fiction / Steampunk
FIC028080 FICTION / Science Fiction / Time Travel
Sure, you have “Science Fiction, General,” which could be your “regular” science fiction, but what about the rest? I think about my Transporting series, and where it would fit in that group. There is time travel, but it’s not really time travel fiction. It’s hard, but not what I’d call Hard Science Fiction. There’s action, but not something that would fall under FIC0218010.
Truth is, my Transporting stories are character driven, and all the sci fi trappings are sort of grist for the mill. Stuff is just there because in that future, who cares about how a warp drive works, you get in the freakin’ ship and go. I’d probably file my stories under “General” and be done with it.
The problem we have here is that if you don’t have your book in the right spot, it might not sell. Sure, your story might be about something happening at the end of the world, but is it “Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic”, or is it “Action & Adventure”? Or is it something else that’s not there?
A question also came up at the same time: what is this “New Adult” genre? I had to look that one up as well, ’cause I had no idea. Come to find out, it’s for people “From their early twenties until about the age of thirty.” Are we talkin’ people who have crawled out of the Valley of Young Adult, but whom aren’t ready for Full-on Drama? Or is this another bullshit grouping so publishing houses and pigeonhole a writer’s work more efficiently?
I remember Stephen King once saying his agent was worried he’d get pegged as “a horror writer”. I’m certain he wasn’t saying that for very long, however, because that horror kept the money rolling. These days, however, with self-publishing in full-swing, it’s not so much being pegged, it’s finding the damn peg to hang your story upon.
The writing game is hard enough without having to think about what sort of story someone says you’ve actually written. As it is, some writers just scatershot their stories into a genre and hope for the best. Others do their research and select that which they think is best.
I just write.
You’ll know where to find my work.