Genre? What Genre?

Fiction Genres MainGenreThe genre allocated to a book seems to be important. I hadn’t realised just how important until I began to write.
As a book buyer/reader I have never worried about what category a book fitted into and if anyone asked me what kind of novels I enjoy reading I would probably answer ‘most if they’re well written’.
One on-line bookseller, which I will not name, lists 33 different categories of books and, just within the general heading ‘Fiction’, there are 30 different genres.
How a book is defined determines so much about how it is treated by wholesalers and bookshops (on-line and ‘High Street’) and therefore also how easily they are found by potential buyers. But what happens when a book is ill-defined by any of the organisations who deal with a book from the publisher onwards?
My first three books which made up The Iniquities Trilogy, would probably be categorised as ‘Family Saga’ but that might lead people to believe they are for women readers. (Preconceived ideas about what constitutes ‘female’ and ‘male’ reading is a subject for another blog). But all three of those books involve crime (including rape, murder and psychological destruction), an unfolding slow-burning mystery, war-time exploits, spying and the odd love story… so many things that ‘Family Saga’ does not cover.
Highly Unsuitable Girl was a sort of ‘coming of age’ story about a woman getting to know herself and her limitations by the age of 60 odd. Funnily enough ‘Coming of Age’ is not a category used by many. Her Parents’ Daughter was a murder mystery with relationship and spy overtones and then A Set of Lies was a complete change – a political, family history, alternate historical novel. Second Strand is another murder mystery with overtones of the world of spies.
The point has been made that I am doing myself no favours by writing books which do not readily fit into the straight-jacket of any particular genre. It would certainly make it a little easier to find my books on-line or in High Street bookshops if I just wrote ‘Crime, Thrillers and Mystery’.
Perhaps it is easier to build up a following if people know what my books are going to be like – it is certainly true that many authors have made an excellent living by writing the same book over and over again – I will not mention names but I bet you can think of a few.
But with my books being so different from each other how can I build up a fan base unless buyers/readers just happen to find my non-predictable, intricately plotted stories set firmly in their time and place, with well-drawn (if not always likeable) characters.

To Do List

Me and the World Wide WebI looked at my website (www.carolynmccrae.com if you’re not already on it) this morning, for the first time in over a month. Not good.
My tweets have been more about the oak tree and hops growing on my balcony than my writing.
It’s more than six weeks since I published a blog and a lot longer than that since I updated the text with news about my books.
I really must get down to it.
I’ve so much to change…
And I really have no excuse. Except…
A Second Strand has taken up a lot of time and I can’t concentrate on anything until that is done.
I’m now a third of the way through the third ‘final’ read-through before it heads off to the editor. I’m spending far too long agonizing over whether a particular sentence conveys the meaning I want it to someone reading the book for the first (not the umpteenth) time.
Are there any plot holes? Is every character in the right place at the right time? Does any character know something before they are seen actually finding it out? Do conversations flow – or does someone answer their own question?
But, no. No more read-throughs. This is the last one.
If it’s not right now it never will be.
So on Tuesday the manuscript (well the Word document) will be winging its way to Troubador.
And then I can get on with doing all the other things connected with getting a book out into the wide, wide world (www):
Writing my Author Information document. Well editing it really, it’s only a year since the last one (for A Set of Lies)
Thinking what should be in the Press release.
Focusing on ideas for the cover image and blurb
Working out how to contact all those nice people who bought and read and let me know they enjoyed Her Parents’ Daughter (A Second Strand is another murder in Yarmouth) – and, of course, all my other titles.
Working out how to change my Facebook pages
And. Most importantly. Updating my website…….

 

Here’s to 2015

2014 has seen HER PARENTS’ DAUGHTER out into the world and 2015 will see the next one A SET OF LIES published in June (though available before that!)

There are still six months to go before official publication date (28 June 2015) but so much is happening. The book is back from the editor and final amendments are being made, the cover has been designed and the marketing information (press release, author information) written and approved but the ‘to do list’ grows ever longer. Marketing materials have to be designed (posters, postcards, bookmarks, business cards, point of sale material), contacts made in 2014 relating to HER PARENTS’ DAUGHTER have to be maintained (newspapers and magazines that did reviews, bookshops that did signing events) and, of course, the web-site has to be updated and pre-orders to be taken…….. Luckily it’s Christmas so the world quietens down and stuff can be done!

I hope 2015 is a good one for all my readers, and, of course, everyone else.

 

Changes and Apologies

Summer is over and it’s been a busy one. No competitions were won (not even by Liverpool FC) but the exciting news is that the new book Her Parents’ Daughter is going to be ‘out there’ soon. It leapfrogged A Set of Lies which will be published in the spring of 2015.

For this, my fifth book, I’m doing things differently.

Firstly, after 8 years with Troubador, I have decided to change publishers and am now trying New Generation – we shall see how that goes but so far so good (I think).

Secondly, since having a stock of books is the last thing a self-published author wants to be left with I’ve decided – on the strong advice of my husband Colin – to go with Print on Demand. I took some convincing but fingers crossed the quality will be as good as NGP say it will be. Her Parents’ Daughter will, of course, also be available as an e-book in all tablet formats.

Finally, after comments from several of my readers I understand that the genre of this book is Crime/Thriller. Re-reading the previous books I understand that this should have been the genre for all but Highly Unsuitable Girl.

Once the physical book has been seen and approved I begin the rounds of Sales and Marketing. Shops and Press on the Isle of Wight will be harassed to take stock and coverage and then the press and shops in Ludlow, Shropshire, where I used to live and where some of the book is set.

Fingers, as ever, are firmly crossed……..

PS – A note on the title.

Her Parents’ Daughter was originally to be called Silver Birch but I decided on Her Parent’s Daughter because it is who the main character’s parents are that cause her all her problems. I did not know of similar titles. SO….

Apologies to Carlos Bernard, the actor who played Tony Almeida in 24, who produced a short comedy film called ‘Your Father’s Daughter’ in 2012.

And to Alice Pung whose book ‘Her Father’s Daughter’ was published in 2011.

And to Gene Stratton-Porter who had previously published a book called ‘Her Father’s Daughter’ in 1921.

How difficult it is to choose something totally original!