The problem with genre

I have a problem with genre. In fact, I have more than one problem. Firstly, I write as the fancy takes me and my novels are all quite different. This suits me, as it means I love every minute I spend writing. I am never under pressure to write in a particular way, or to any timetable.

However, it means that it is more difficult for me to develop a group of readers who know what to expect and buy my books because they enjoyed the one before. Readers tend to stick to a limited number of genres, and somebody who enjoyed The Butterfly Effect because it is a psychological thriller, may not be interested in fantasy.

It also means it is difficult for me to develop any kind of brand identity. Book covers are hard enough for independent authors on a limited budget, but even more difficult when they are in different genres. Readers look at book covers for some idea of the content. Unfortunately, my limited design skills are totally inadequate when it comes to giving them that extra something that tells them it is a book by me.

My second problem with genre is that my books don’t always confine themselves to one. For example, Deceiving Ellie starts as a psychological thriller but ends in fantasy – or does it? It depends on how you interpret the ending. The Music of the Spheres is both comedy and fantasy. This isn’t a problem in itself, but Amazon’s categories don’t always lend themselves to accurate definition of such books and some readers don’t appreciate genre cross-over.

How much more simple it would be if I just chose a genre and stuck to it. Why don’t I do that? Why don’t I write a series? Everyone would know what to expect and I could design appropriate book covers that looked similar to each other.

Well, the answer is, I don’t want to. If I did, writing would become a job rather than a joy. There’s only one letter difference, but it’s too much for me.


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