So, I'm currently 6000 words away from completing my first draft, and this week began the process of swapping chapters with some wonderful CPs. I've already received some great feedback on my WIP, best described as a psychological thriller, which I'm very thankful for. However, all these writers have something in common. I'm going to list them here along with their genres (hope they don't mind!) and see if you can spot it. By the way, thanks to the girls at Falling For Fiction and to Rach Harrie, without whose brilliant CP matching posts this wouldn't have been possible!
So, the line up:
* T.Z. Wallace: Dystopian
* Kyra Lennon: She described her genre in an email as chick lit, but I think it deserves a better title!
* Siscia Miles: Sci-fi/Fantasy
* Chris Eboch: Published children's author, now writing romantic suspense for adults
* Jenny Herrera: Literary fiction
So, what's the link? That's right, a distinct lack of psychological thriller writers. Truth be told, I didn't see any writers within my genre on the critique posts. I guess Chris Eboch would be the closest (my book does feature a very twisted romance). But is this a bad thing? Not necessarily!
Stories are stories. Writers are writers. We all have advice to offer and looking to another genre for inspiration can be refreshing. Although both my novels have been thrillers (at least that's the nearest box I could put them in), it's not even my genre of choice. Of course I appreciate and enjoy a great, taut thriller. But I don't seek them out voraciously. I would rather take each story on its own merits, and I read books based on what I think of the premise, rather than selecting by genre. I certainly hope my book is an exciting page-turner, but just as important to me is character development.
I believe this ties into a wider debate on the nature of publishing as it stands. Most major publishing houses specialise in certain genres and they expect submissions to adhere to certain conventions within those genres. This also extends to things such as word count. But with the rise of self-publishing and smaller presses, these criteria are being worn away, which has given rise to lots of interesting creations that don't go by the rule book. I'd rather read a book that was unique, kept me guessing and crucially, had a great story than something formulaic, predictable and box-ticking. And I fear a lot of thrillers fall into the latter category these days especially with some of the bigger names. (Feel free to prove me wrong.)
Now I'm not saying I'm going to stick my book straight on Amazon as soon as I'm finished with it. That's certainly an option, but I'd love to be traditionally published. I know editors are always receptive to the next big thing, but I don't know if they will now take more risks in order to prevent rejected authors from finding success in self-publishing, or batten down the hatches and stick with what they know, catering to consumers unwilling to take a punt on the deluge of unknown authors.
What do you think? How important is genre in your choice of reading? Am I being hopelessly naive, and barking up the wrong tree in my choice of CPs? I'd love to hear your opinion.
Oh, and happy 4th of July to all of my American friends!