What would you do with a book plot that is crossed genre, and you can't find the classification definition to market it? It's a paranormal mystery, a crime mystery, a horror and thriller, all combined. The targeted reader audience, would be vastly ranged with the book's elements.

Views: 39

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Paranormal mystery, a crime mystery, a horror and thriller, … Oh my! And holy @#&%! ... :) :) … I'm curious what makes it Paranormal? Aliens, ghosts, ESP, or is it just kind of a theme like Hound of the Baskervilles was paranormal? Just wondering. ... And I think others have said this
already, but maybe thinking it less of a genre piece and more in terms of marketing
would help. Which area would the book have the greatest market? Could
you see yourself at Sleuthfest or a Fantasy Book Expo more easily? If it's Sleuthfest,
I could see (as: IMO) you downplaying the paranormal elements and approaching it
more as crime fiction when querying. Too, because you mentioned thriller, I'm just going
to throw this out there. Because the stakes in thrillers are typically pretty large, it might end up being the 800lb gorilla in your marketing. That is a thriller plot could overshadow more conventional crime-fiction plots, and even horror. And off the cuff, it feels like this would become the book's ultimate classification, or at least the easiest one to put it in. I think once you put in a thriller element, it's real hard to back it away from it and play up another component.
For what it's worth, I'm anti-classification. And the more genres you can authentically cross, the better. But the realist in me knows you've got to tell people (starting with agents and editors) where they're eventually going to find your book in BN. The general fiction department is big--perhaps too big to find a debut book. So keeping it simple sounds and picking a basic genre sounds like a plan to me.
You're right John, I can deal with that when I get to that point. Matter of fact,
love that aspect. My immediate concern is to name a genre category for my quest
to query an agent. I know once that is behind me, it's up to him to worry about this.

It's great to know I'm not the only one with the same issue. It appears that we
have gotten to the stage of crossed genres to the point of subs having subs and more.

But the readers benefits. They get their mystery and crime fix, and thriller fix,
and romance fix and so on when they like multiple genres. And of course, who
benefits the most? I think the writer does. Because it certainly opens the doors for
better writing opportunities in our creativity and sellability.
Ahhh, here is a subject I can sink my teeth into. My second novel, Journey of the
Spirit is a historical fiction and not cross genre, but my first, Code of Deceit is.
My novel coming out in Sept., Cold Tears is a cross genre.

I have found cross genres easier to market. One thing I never do is let a reader
ask me what I write. I ask them first what they like to read. Code of Deciet is a
murder mystery with strong romatic elements. It is a detective
novel and has CSI type forensics in it with one exception--mine are real.

If a reader tells me they like mysteries, hey, it is a mystery. Am I lying, nope.
If they say romance, it has strong romantic elements in it.

If They ak me and I say it is a mystery and they don't like mysteries, I lost them.
I like that approach. I've got a whole grab-bag of genres in my latest novel (comedy, thriller, crime, satire, thriller, romance, etc, etc.) that I usually condense down to 'comic thriller', but tailoring the pitch to the reader makes a whole lot of sense.
Recently I read Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It's billed as a vampire love story, but that's selling it way short.

For my review I struggled for a while and eventually came up with:

"But if you're a fan of the softer, vampire romances where a simple bite on the neck is the weapon of choice, or where the vampire is the romantic hero who saves the day – then approach this book with caution. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is part horror story, part romance, part comedy routine and part murder mystery. And it's graphic. Very very graphic. And hypnotic, fascinating and alluring. And weird – it has to be said – very very weird. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN proved to me again that weird isn't always bad, sometimes it's just weird."

It was magnificent. But weird. And I'd run a mile from being the person who attempted classification. But if you haven't read it, well it's magnificent (I think I probably mentioned that :) )
I love cross-genres. Mix 'em up. Surprise us. As for how to sell it, as an epub, put it on the page for every category that applies.
I was actually going to bring up something similar to this here so I'm glad you brought it up.

I can only give you the perspective from a reader.

Below in quotes is a couple of paragraphs from a piece that I wrote last year on Charlie Huston's Already Dead and the idea of cross-genre writing. This was written for a fantasy market but I think it still applies and the points still stand with out re-configuring the references .

I am strongly of the opinion that cross-genre writing doesn't work most of the time though the results can be popular and when they do work they can be classics but it is a rarity.

"Unlike other novels that purport to mix the fantastic or supernatural with the mystery novel Already Dead is a pitch perfect hard-boiled private eye tale first and a tale of the fantastic second, which isn’t to diminish the supernatural aspects, trust me they are there. This is the quality that in and of itself separates it from the pack. Most tales born of this hybrid are Fantasies told in a Mystery setting instead of a Mystery told in a Fantasy setting. It might not seem like there is much of a difference but they are in fact worlds apart. When a writer of fantasy creates the characters or worlds in which this hybrid tale is told it is often times perceived by readers of mysteries as the work of a dilettante, someone wanting only to infuse the fantasy genre with something different. But the "different" in question is in all actuality something that is commonplace, after all mystery novels, in all shapes and forms, represent a sizable portion of the market. Without much exertion one could easily name tropes and clichés of that genre as well as the icons and more popular examples.

One has to recognize that not unlike other genres the mystery genre has its own sub-genres and each of these sub-genres has its own style, tone, feel and rules. A police procedural reads nothing like a thriller or a cozy, nor would you want it to. So, the fantasy author in question needs to carefully choose what type of mystery story that they want to meld with their fantasy creation, and then seamlessly blend the two. This is not easy to do, especially so that everyone is happy, mystery and fantasy fans alike. Often books of this nature miss more then they hit. But the interesting thing about this is that the readers aren't always aware of the misses. If the fantasy reader isn't aware of the false notes that the police procedural portion of the story isn't ringing true then it doesn't deter them from enjoying the fantasy story at hand which is still different from other fantasy tales out there, which again was probably the point.

However, when a tale is crafted that rings true on all counts, both fantasy and mystery, then what you have in your hands is not regarded as a novelty but instead a rarity and a classic as well. Already Dead is just such a book. You could easily hand the book to a mystery fan and they would recognize and claim it as one of their own, now it would be prudent to recognize Huston's pedigree in the genre, namely the now completed Hank Thompson trilogy, though that alone wouldn't facilitate the allegiance. You could also give the book to a fantasy or horror fan and they too would claim it as one of their own. Perhaps the most important thing for just such a work would be that they would all be correct.

In recent years, under various names, there has been a new breed of fiction published. Cross pollinating freely among the genres to create something new. Already Dead is not only a perfect example of what can be accomplished with this technique but it also serves as a picture perfect example of the down side of cross genre writing. It SHOULD appeal to fans of dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, science fiction, PI and noir. But it fell through the cracks and nobody read it. It got a nominal amount of press in mystery circles based on Huston’s Hank Thompson trilogy, but in other genre circles, not much."

At the time I wrote the above I was addressing the popularity of the Harry Dresden books, which I do not like. I was trying to show what I didn't like about them by examining what I did like about what I hold to be a successful mix of genres in a book.

I recently read a book called Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas a book that wants to be a dark fantasy, horror, science fiction & PI mix. The protagonist is clearly presented as a PI but it is as if Thomas has never in his life read a PI novel. To a reader of mysteries the protagonist is entirely unrecognizable, so the book ultimately failed.

Your high water mark books are the ones where the author is a fan of all genres involved and understands them enough to present them in a palatable version to all readers. Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford, The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster all come to mind as well.


CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2024   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service