Thursday, January 9, 2014

You Can't Please All Of The People All Of The Time - The problem with cross genre writing

There are a lot of writers out there trying out the idea of cross genre writing. In essence, the idea of this approach is to bring in two different genres into the same story. I have mentioned a couple of authors who have done this. I personally have always like the approach Kathryne Kennedy did with her Double Enchantment series where she brings in Fantasy to a Historical world. But, I do think there are many of you that are trying to do this for the wrong reason.

I have heard authors say that by including all of these elements, they will be able to tap into the readership who like each of these styles of writing. Although this sounds like a great idea, in reality, it isn't necessarily going to work that way. Instead of bringing in those other authors, you will now steer away those people who liked one of those two approaches.

Let me use Kathryne's story as an example. Again, her story works, but I think you will understand what I mean. People who read historical romances love this genre because of the accuracy of the time, the wonderful world building that transports the reader to a world that we only read about in history books. Their is a particular tone and voice to that genre. On the other hand, people who like Fantasy romances like it because of the heavy role magic and this mystical world plays in lives of the characters. At some level, they like the fact that this world really doesn't exist.

Now, if I am someone who reads those historical novels, I am probably someone who wants accuracy and the truth. Mixing in something that we know doesn't fit in that genre is not going to work well with my mindset.

This is just one example, but lately, I have seen a lot more of the cross genre writing that pushes this even further. We see stories where the author is marketing the book as a women's fiction piece with romance and paranormal but with a twist of science fiction since it is in the future. Their goal? To get readers in all of these areas to like the story. This is simply too much.

We also run into the other issue of knowing where we will market this book. I have talked about that here on the blog before. Whether you are in traditional publishing and bookstores, or e-publishing and doing all of this digitally, your readers will need to know where to find your book. Booksellers, whether digital or brick and mortar, will not put your book on every shelf in the hopes of making the sale. They need one shelf. Along the same lines, the agents have to know who to send your book to. Even more specific, you have to know which agent to send it to. I might like women's fiction here at Greyhaus but I don't like science fiction. Those elements of romance and women's fiction will not be enough to get me to look past the science fiction.

Just think of it this way. Using cross genre writing works if it is done correctly and with genres that do work together. Adding a bunch to make a sale, is not going to work.

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