Friday, July 27, 2018

Genre Mixing and Matching

One approach a lot of writers try is to blend genres. They have seen other authors do this successfully in the past so they believe this might be the best approach to make their story more marketable. Before you dive into this approach, I encourage you to take some time to really think about it. This might not be the best approach.

Let me first bring up the perspective of the book buyer. Whether or not you decide to take a traditional route to publishing, or do this on your own, you still have to think of the book buyer. They have to know what bookshelf your book will sit on.

Think of it this way. If you read mysteries, and you go into a bookstore, or you get online to look for a book, where do you go to? The mystery section. That makes sense, right? But if your book is more than simply a mystery, those book stores ARE NOT going to put your book on multiple shelves. They will put it only one place. So, if your book is a women's fiction, paranormal, erotica, mystery, where does your book go? Where will the readers find you? The odds are, they won't.

Now, let's consider this from the reader's point of view. Readers like genres because of the specific nuances found in that type of a book. When they pick up a romantic comedy, they want certain things. When they pick up a mystery, they want something different. They are not interested in a blend.

I often read submission letters from writers who are trying this blending approach and claim that readers in all of these genres will love their book. The reality is, they are probably turning off all of those readers. Let me give you an analogy.

There was an episode of Beat Bobby Flay where he was cooking for kids. They were going with the soup and sandwich approach so it seemed only logical to go with the grilled cheese and tomato soup route. Seems like a good direction. However, both chefs, including Bobby tried to make the soup and the sandwich appealing to not just kids but also adults with different tastes. Bobby added heat and I cannot remember what the other thing was in the sandwich. The other chef added grilled mushrooms and a unique type of cheese to his sandwich, and also tweaked the soup in a different direction. Again, the goal was to get something that everyone liked. The result from the judges was a mixed bag, and none of them had raving reviews. They liked one thing but were turned off with the other ingredients.

Before you start blending those genres, really stop and think. First of all, are these genres really genres that can be mixed. Hint: Inspirational Erotica is probably not going to make the cut. Secondly, consider the readers. How much blending will they really tolerate. And finally, think of the book buyer. One of those two genres will have to be the "lead" so where will your readers find your book.

In all honesty, I do believe a lot of editors and agents out there (and the readers) will probably favor the single genre approach.


  1. I'm OFF to search Amazon for Inspirational Erotica as I sit here giggling. Great post!