On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Genres, Urban Fantasy, Readers

At the creativity weekend, another writer and myself, and my friend and line editor, tried to convince a (very stubborn) reader that Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series was not a mystery. Reader had read one of the books upon recommendation.

Because it had a mystery in it, it was, by the reader's definition, a mystery. Though she hadn't read any other mysteries except Sherlock Holms and Donna Andrews, a while back.

We all told reader that the genre was Urban Fantasy.

No, reader said, the setting wasn't urban. It was the wilds of Montana.

It started in an urban setting, didn't it?

Reader states it started in a small town, then went to Montana. NOT urban, said reader.

We went a few more rounds, then breakfast was served, but at a moment when we couldn't interrupt, reader defended her position before the whole group of us. It had a mystery, was not set in an urban setting, so despite what reader thought, it was called an urban fantasy.

So...YOU, as a writer, may know the definitions of genre (and you should so you know to whom you should be pitching your book), but the readers might not. I believe this reader to be more clueless (and unwilling to listen) than most, but many readers may not know even the basic definitions of genre...and many of them won't care. BUT, if the book is NOT shelved in the correct genre by the bookstore, some of your readers might not find it. Genre is usually listed on the back of this so booksellers and readers know what genre the publisher considers it to be.

Writing tip, Know Your Genre -- this can be understood by the main thrust of the book. Is it focused on paranormal elements or "world"? Probably a fantasy. Focused on solving a crime? Mystery. Focused on a love relationship? Romance.

And don't argue about your own book to readers.

May you enjoy what you read today.

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Blogger booklover said...

Uh. If the Mercy Thompson books are mystery, then there are a lot of other UF that should be classified as mystery too.

10:45 AM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

I know, but this was the first and only UF book the woman had read. I think she reads classic s/f. I don't think most readers are this bullheaded or insistent their opinion is right, but there are all sorts out there.


7:18 AM  

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