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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

PANEL: Hot Genres

WELCOME TO THE HOT GENRE ROOM

TODAY'S PANEL IS: Michelle Buckley, Eduardo Jackson – Chick Lit
G. Miki Hayden, Diane Dorce - Mystery
Monica Jackson - Paranormal
Celise Downs - Young Adult
Sandra E. Harris – Urban Fiction
Bevery Jenkins – Romantic Suspense
Celine Chatillon - Erotica

Come meet some of the writers from some of the hottest new genres.

Post your questions in the comments section.

Please read the previous comments before you post, so we don’t have duplicate questions.

Please address your questions to a panel member or all panel members.

59 comments:

LynCote said...

Hi, Anybody there?
I just wanted to mention that the inspirational market is another of the hot genres or subgenres now. If you're interested, drop by my website's article page where I have market information listed.Hope that helps someone.
Lyn Cote

Shelia said...

Question to all:
HOw did you decide what genre to write in? Did you write your story and then categorize it later?

Shelia (Badge#16)

BlackButterflyReview said...

how do you stay focused in one genre? I appears to be easy when you start up in one but when it is finished you are thinking that it could be another genre or possibly both.

Eleanor (#17)

rootwomin said...

hi,

this is directed to monica.

how did you enter the field?

do you write non-fiction as well as fiction with paranormal topics?

do you see the field growing and if so in what direction-toward ghost stories to tie in with the television mania going on around ghosts or toward romance to fuel the desire to believe in soulmates and/or the afterlife or ????

i am currently working on a non-fiction paranormal based book and i'm wondering if you know of any writers groups centered upon paranormal writing?


thanks,
meri#129

Stephanie said...

Question to all:

Hi. I'm a beginning writer with a major case of genre angst. I read in alot of different genres, so I find my writing style has elements of several different genres (romance/chick-lit/multicultural/mainstream). So I've written a story I love, but don't know exactly where to place/shop it. Is fitting neatly into a marketing niche really that crucial? As a woman of mixed heritage, I've always been slightly averse to trying to squeeze myself into a "box", lol. When I query, should I state up front that my MS is a genre straddler, or does that hurt me?

thanks so much,
Stephanie #144

Stephanie said...

A question for Celise Downs, but anyone feel free to chime in :)

What is the age cut-off for young adult?? Would stories set in college be included in the young adult genre? How about the 25-35 set? I've read articles that say different things... How is young adult selling compared to chick-lit and romance??

thanks so much!
Stephanie, #144

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Celise said...

To answer Shelia #16 - I've wanted to write in the YA genre since high school. I had so many memories and my friends had so much drama in their lives, I figured I would be books for years. I'm 34 now and though I read adult romance books (particularly the Harleguin Blaze series), I still think in the teenage mentality. I could probably write an adult romance, but for some reason I don't think I'm mature enough...or something LOL.

I have unconsciously immersed myself in the world of YA. I was watching the teen shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Felicity, The O.C. My current favorite show is Smallville. I usually see the teen flicks: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Mean Girls, etc.

Writing YA was my calling, I think. When I think about my writing, I hear the dialogue of a teenager in my head. When I think of plot, I picture my characters in high school, wearing--or not-wearing trendy clothes, having PT jobs at a fast food joint or a clothing store.

~ Celise Downs, YA panelist, #171

Celise said...

For Eleanor #17 -

In my answer to Shelia's question, I had mentioned my addiction--yes, addiction--to adult series romance books. For me, it's easy to stay in my genre because as I said, I've immersed myself in it. When I go to the grocery store or a bookstore, I buy the lastest issue of Teen People and YM.

For now, YA is my genre. Until I get a sign that says otherwise. LOL

~Celise Downs, YA panelist, #171

G. Miki Hayden said...

Shelia,

You have to study the genre before you write in it. Have to. Otherwise you're going to miss what the market is and find selling very difficult. Genres are fairly well defined, even though the target moves. You want to hook up online with those in genres you're interested in and get a feel for what's going on. Being here is a great start.

G. Miki Hayden

Eleanor,

I write in more than one genre for a number of reasons--one of them being personal interest, of course. If you're drawn to more than one genre, go ahead and explore them. Let me say again though: Study the markets. Find out where you can sell. Write what you can sell.

G. Miki Hayden

G. Miki Hayden said...

Stephanie,

Have I mentioned that you should study the market? :)

Don't say you straddle markets--no. You can say that you write anything chick lit--that's very acceptible. You can say you write romantic suspense, which does cross genres, but you can't try to sell something that isn't niched to certain markets such as mystery--oh, chicklit mystery is fine.

Study the markets. Join a writer's group such as Mystery Writers of America or Romance Writers of America. Network and share information with other writers. This is so essential. Join lists.

G. Miki Hayden
THE NAKED WRITER, style and composition for all writers (Durban House, March)

G. Miki Hayden said...

Stephanie,

The feeling I have in regard to YA now is that crossover to somewhat older protagonists is okay. But 25 to 35 seems to me to be too old, as the older ages of that range are even too old for the average romance novel. I wouldn't push the envelope too far.

G. Miki Hayden

Tray said...

Hello!

My question is directed to Monica. I am a new writer/first time novelist and have witten a ghost story. (in the grueling process of editing) Are there any helpful sites on the subject and or market that you can recommend, or any paranormal on line writers groups? Thank you.

Ruth Dell said...

Hi there!
This is a question for anyone on the panel who can advise me, and it follows on from G Miki Hayden's advice to Stephanie to study markets.

Is it possible to use websites such as Amazon.com to study the markets and if so please could you give me some pointers on how to do so effectively.

I live in South Africa so rely heavily on the internet for information re books and genres.

Thank you
Ruth #100

Leah Mullen said...

Greetings Panel,

This question is for Monica Jackson. I'm currently reading your book,"In My Dreams," and I'm wondering about your process. Do you research paranormal phenomenon for your story or do you only use your imagination?

thanks,

Leah Mullen (#25)

Shelia said...

Question to All:

If you write in multiple genres, do you think it's best to have a pen name? For example, if you primary write women's fiction or romance, but now you want to pursue mysteries. Is it best to have a pen name so it won't confuse your dedicated readers of your women's fiction work?

Thanks
Shelia (Badge#16)

Leann said...

Tray:
I know you directed this paranormal group question to Monica but try this site
http://www.thunderandroses.com/interiorwalls.html
Leann-134

BlackButterflyReview said...

My question is about erotica. My girlfriends and I have this discussion because some of them say that Zane's books are erotica and others say no they are not. Can you tell me what is true erotica?

Eleanor (#17)

SassyScribe said...

Eleanor,

Zane's books are considered erotica because of the nature of the content of her books. She writes in the true sense of how people responded to one another in an intimate setting.

True erotica, is not vulgar and/or obsence sexual acts. They are sexual acts that create that warm feeling in the pit of your stomach. It is more sensuous than explicit.

Diane69 said...

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for joining so late. My name is Diane Dorce', my novel Devil In The Mist will be released soon, and it is mystery/suspense. I wanted to start off by answering the question about "genre" and how did i decide to write in this genre. Well, first off, i love mystery/suspense/thriller novels but when i first began to write this story i really wasn't thinking about genre, i was thinking about the story. It wasn't until well after i had finished it and was ready to query agents and publishers that i had to settle into a genre...and still it has been categorized as mystery, mystery/suspense, suspense/thriller, romantic/suspense and biological/thriller....which is very interesting.

For the lady who asked the question about craft and genres, the only way you are going to be able to recognize or even characterize your work in certain genre's is for you to read works like yours, as someone said earlier to study the genre you are interested in. Of course some genres like romance, and mystery have some clear cut rules that can be researched fairly easy.

ac arthur said...

My question is regarding paranormals. Actually, it is asking for the difference between a paranormal and a fantasy?

If paranormals are vampires, witches, etc. Then is it safe to say that fantasies are fairies, genies, mermaids?

AC

Diane69 said...

I also write in multiple genres. I have written a childrens, middle-grade book, and one mystery, and i intend to do relationship, romance as well. I will use my own name for all of my genres, except the childrens, that is because i don't want children and parents seeking out other books by me, that won't be for them. So in that case only will i adopt a pen name.

Diane69

Renair Amin said...

My name is Renair Amin (No. 133) and I am in the process of editing my manuscript. As well, I started writing my novel as a short story and it progressed into a mystery. My fear is that i will not be able to continue in that genre although I enjoyed writing this novel immensely.

As far as pen names, my name is somewhat of a pen name because it is not my first name it is my middle name. However, since i write for a couple magazine and most of my readers are familiar with those and my poetry, I decided to market my book as Renair Amin as L. Covington. Is that acceptable?

SassyScribe said...

Sheila...

My foray into writing began with a dare from my cousin. She was always telling me that I have such great tales and stories from my woes on dating that I should write them down. Taking her up on her challenge, I sat down and banged out 7 chapters. I shared them with her, and she in turn shared them with her co-worker.

I sat down and wrote my story first, then I catergorized it as women's fiction. But it falls under urban fiction, chick lit, and multi cultural fiction.

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe

SassyScribe said...

Ruth Dell...

There are various websites that can assist you in studying the markets. As a self published author, I have found the most credible sources to be Black Issues Book Review, writers and poets, and Dan Poynter's website all offer a wealth of information for writers. They have information on trends in the business, what's flying off the shelves in various genre's, how to market, promote, and query your MS.

Additionally, Amazon.com ranks all of their books. When you log onto Amazon.com and type in the ISBN number, title of the book, or authors name, under the reviews at the bottom of the page you will see the amazon ranking for that particular author.

I hope this information helps!

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe

Lindsay Murdock (40) said...

Stephanie -

Genre-straddling is not necessarily a bad thing (and it's great for the inner thighs).

The main reason many books and writers’ guides will tell you to pick a genre is that agents and publishers always want to know who your audience is – and who they can sell the book to. A distinct genre is an easy way to pinpoint that, but not the only way. If your book crosses genres, it’s a good idea to let the agent know that in the query, but also include a specific, detailed description of your audience and market.

G. Miki Hayden said...

Ruth,

I study the markets online, but one of the best ways is to join lists of authors in your genre and see where and what people are publishing and what they have to say about what's selling now. I belong to MWA, which has an electronic discussion group. Maybe you also have groups in South Africa, though if you're targeting U.S. markets, you need to study what's going on here. Also, U.S. markets generally have an interest in U.S. settings or, sometimes, Americans abroad, so I wonder what your setting is.

As for pen names, guys, I see a great interest in that topic, but that's a matter for discussion with your agent and your editor who can advise you, personally. The publishers have their own reasons for wanting or not wanting pen names--and be sure they don't retain the rights to your name.

G. Miki Hayden
WRITING THE MYSTERY (a Macavity award winner, now in its second edition from Intrigue Press)

Celine Chatillon said...

Wow... This IS a busy panel!

On "genre-straddling": If you feel your manuscript doesn't fit into a set genre, then your best bet for publication may be e-publishers/small presses. Small publishers are willing to take chances on cross-genres and stories that stretch the boundaries. The big print pubs tend to want to stay with the tried and true... Think "Hollywood movies" versus "independent films". Small presses are the independent film producers of the literature world. ;)

If your heart is set on being published by a big name publisher, then do study and read what they produce. Emphasize the elements they want--say for example that your mystery has romantic elements. If you are trying to sell it as a straight mystery, don't emphasize the romance quite as much. If you're targeting the romance publishers, make the romance storyline paramount to the mystery and call it "Romantic Suspense".

As far as pen names go, you don't have to have one if you don't want one. I find it easier to have different pen names for the different genres I write and publish in. For example, I wouldn't want someone who reads my inspirational non-fiction to pick up one of my erotic romances and fall over from a heart attack! By writing under a different pen name, it helps your target audience to find you and associate your name with a particular reading experience or genre.

Celine Chatillon (Cindy)#19

Celine Chatillon said...

"How did you decide what genre to write in? Did you write your story and then categorize it later?"--Shelia (Badge#16)

That's a good question, Shelia! I tend to write in genres that interest me personally... It's hard enough to finish a 400 page manuscript when you like the genre you're writing in, let alone trying to finish a book in a genre you don't care a bean about! ;)

So I don't write stories about witches, ghosts, demons, etc. That's just not me. I like funny. I like fantasy and science fiction (a bit more toward the hard SF). I enjoy romance and hot romances... I'm working on a vampire novel and it's coming along better than I expected. But I do like vampires for some reason (not all vamp novels, however), so it's not as much of a stretch.

I tend to categorize the story in the plotting/planning stage (not that I plot formally--I'm a "pantser writer"). It doesn't usually change during the process since the characters are who they are and they could only exist in that particular genre or sub-genre (i.e. contemporary romance, erotic SF, etc.)

But if you feel your story is changing focus or genre in the middle, don't fight it. Finish the manuscript then go back and look at what happened. Maybe you were fooling yourself all along about the genre you thought it was... And you can always rewrite until the story fits in one genre or the other.

Celine (Cindy) #19
http://celinechatillon.bravehost.com
http://cynthianna.bravehost.com

Dera Williams said...

Thanks for your comments Celine since I had a similar question about not know what genre. I have an idea that my novel might place with a small press. I've bookmarked a few that publish somewhat similar stories as mine.

There is a book with similar elements that was published by a big house by a well-known author. I think so much of this industry is about timing and who you know.

Dera
#15

BlackButterflyReview said...

Ok Thanks Ms. Saundra. Parts of your book could pass for erotica :)

Eleanor (#17)

Stephanie said...

Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions -- this has been so helpful!

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe,

"I sat down and wrote my story first, then I catergorized it as women's fiction. But it falls under urban fiction, chick lit, and multi cultural fiction."

This pretty much describes me to a tee. So did marketing yourself as women's fiction work out for you? Can you describe for me your strategy when you were first breaking out? Anything you'd do differently?

Stephanie (#144)

Tray said...

Hi! Thanks Leann!

Edwardo Jackson said...

This is for Stephanie, Miss Genre Angst herself (I also answered a question of yours in the other forum yesterday, albeit late - nice pic, btw :-):

While I do think it's important you study the market and the trends, I believe it best to write the story that you want to write and worry about the marketing of it later. Eventually, true, you're gonna have to figure out what angle or hook to use to sell it, but don't let the market define your work, YOU define it. Think there was a worldwide clamoring for children's wizard books before J.K. Rowling came along?

I, personally, have written three books in the so-called relationship fiction genre. However, my latest coming this December called I DO?, because it is told from the first person female POV (despite my own Y chromosome), would now be considered chick lit. Never mind that I wrote the story four years ago before that term was even around; it involves an urbane, upwardly mobile 30 year old woman on a very specific love quest. But in order to wrap up the series, it could only be told this way. Chick lit or whatever "box" they may want to shove it in, it's still the basic story of Nick and Jasmine that's spanned three novels.

Who knows? With what you've written, that hybrid of yours, maybe you'll create a new genre from the popularity of your work!

EJ

SassyScribe said...

Stephanie said,

"This pretty much describes me to a tee. So did marketing yourself as women's fiction work out for you? Can you describe for me your strategy when you were first breaking out? Anything you'd do differently?"

-------------------

Stephanie...

One of the greatest errors that self published authors {myself included} make upon entering into this industy is not doing their research and not creating a budget.

Marketing myself was relatively easy, because I had alot of promotional items that went along with my novel. I had bags, pens, massagers, and other gadgets that went along with my novel. Book marks and postcards are nice, but consumers {and I am a consumer} like freebies. Also, my novel is entitled THE PARTY, so I "get THE PARTY started" by throwing parties in books stores.

Additionally, as a self published author, I never attend book signings or events by myself. I always have a "street team" to assist me with sales. In this business it is MOST IMPORTANT to have a thorough and supportive network of family. I am blessed to have family members that help me in selling and promoting my work.

The only thing that I would do differently would be to set aside more funds for marketing and promoting. The amount that I set aside was quickly used with all of the promo and printing of the promo items.

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe
Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions -- this has been so helpful!

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe
http://xcapadesofthegirlz.blogspot.com/

Tee C. Royal said...

Greetings all! I have a question as I have started working on a book I've been dodging for a while. My favorite genres are sci-fi, suspense, horror, supernatural and thrillers, though I do read all genres. I'm finding that what I'm writing is contemporary fiction and while I enjoy that genre as well, I don't necessarily want to write in it.

Have any of you ever written a book in one genre and then gone back through the book to give it the necessary "parts" to make it fit the preferred genre?
(Hope that makes sense).

Basically, though I'm writing a contemporary fiction novel, I want it to be a supernatural thriller. Or maybe I can kill someone off...or maybe... LOL.

-Tee C. Royal
Badge #57

Michelle said...

Hi -- Author, Michelle Buckley (Panelist #67) here. There are so many good questions regarding genre, so I'll just jump in with my two cents.

Stephanie asked about being a genre straddler! Fitting into a marketing niche IS crucial and I would say being a genre straddler is something you don't want to do.

Any agent/publisher you go to is going to want to know who is the target for your book. Based on what you tell them, there will be specific marketing/pr tactics used in order to reach the audience that's most likely going to buy your book. If you're vague as to who that audience is or if the audience is too broad, reaching them becomes a problem. I like the Writers Guide to Literary Markets. That's a good source for seeing what genres/titles different agents and publishers are interested in and what's selling.

As far as determining what kind of genre to write in -- you just have to determine what you're really feeling. Where do your personal interests lie? What topics do you really want to explore? What are your guiding life principles? (Are you a romantic? Do you always want a happy ending? Are you interested in the supernatural?) What do you like to read? What type of tv shows and movies do you watch? When you do write -- what do you get the most pleasure out of writing?

And then just start writing -- Eduardo is right -- the genre labeling is important but it's usually a marketing issue that's dealt with after the work is done!

It seems like some people just write what's hot and popular and paying well at the time, but I think you have to be truly passionate about what you're writing in order to be successful and have a lasting career. And I don't think there is anything wrong with writing in different genres. It keeps an author fresh!

Sheila, I'm torn regarding using pen names for different genres. I believe that if you're a good writer, no matter what you write, your dedicated readers will follow you into ANY genre. So not using a pen name should be okay. For open-minded readers, they know a certain author will always give them a quality reading experience, no matter the genre.

In most cases, the readers are gonna figure out the pen names any way (look at LA Banks/Leslie Esdaile Banks).

Writing under pen names is actually usually a business thing -- publishers don't always publish all genres -- so often if you do different genres, you'll likely have different publishers and the publishers want readers to keep things straight in their mind, hence different names for different types of fiction.

BUT REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU SELL THE RIGHTS TO YOUR ACTUAL NAME OR PEN NAMES. (sorry for the online screaming) :-)

Michelle Buckley, Bulletproof Soul
www.michellebuckley.com

Shelia said...

Celise/G Miki Hayden/Diane69/Saundra/Celine

Thank you all for responding. Your comments have been very helpful.

Shelia (Badge#16)

Celine Chatillon said...

"Have any of you ever written a book in one genre and then gone back through the book to give it the necessary "parts" to make it fit the preferred genre?
(Hope that makes sense)."

This makes perfect sense to me, Tee! ;)

Actually, my first published novel was a "women's fiction" I said. (I didn't want to label it "romance" because at the time I was a "snob" thinking it wasn't a genre worthy of my book.) But after I studied the markets and read other contemporary romances, I discovered that my story was indeed a "romance" first and foremost. But I hadn't stress the attraction between the hero and heroine as much as I should have...

Hence, I didn't go in and add "parts" to the story, but I did emphasize the romantic storyline more and balanced out the other subplots so they didn't overshadow the developing romance. The "romance" was there--all I had to do was revise and "reslant" the story a tiny bit.

And it worked--it was published and no one has never said it wasn't a "romance". (Although the RT reviewer said it wasn't "escapist" enough because my heroine was a full-figured lady and the hero was laid-off from his job... Too "realistic" for her tastes! But, heck, we aren't all size sixes and not every guy is Donald Trump, right?) ;)

Celine Chatillon aka Cindy #19
http://celinechatillon.bravehost.com

Ruth Dell said...

Hi everyone

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe and G. Miki Hayden thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my query rre researching markets using the internet.

The setting for my novel is South Africa.

Best wishes
Ruth #100

SassyScribe said...

Ruth Dell...

Your welcome...

Saundra Harris aka SassyScribe
http://xcapadesofthegirlz.blogspot.com/

Diane69 said...

Tee,

You love the same kind of books i love, so go ahead and write. From what i'm told the market is open and looking for romantic suspense, thrillers, and what makes a thriller soooooo good is when the unexpected, unimaginable is happening to someone you never expected or someone you've never expected does the unexpected, unimaginable. It's funny on another blog, an agent who blogs, she spoke of the kind of fiction she would love to read right now, and she listed stuff, like Librarian who also is a spy, or the knitting circle, all over 50 women who solve crimes....who knows. Think about what you are writing and then, think what if???? what if, somebody dies????

Stephanie said...

You all are wonderful! I'm learning so much, thank you :-)

Edwardo ~ Can you describe for me the relationship fiction genre, and how it differs from chick-lit??? Is it the First person POV that sets chick-lit apart? And is 'contemporary relationship drama' a genre??? I swear, I read articles and articles on this stuff, and every article seems to introduce yet another genre-defining term to further confuse me, lol.

I'm definitely going to check out your books, because I think we're writing similar stuff and it would probably be good research for me. The manuscript I've completed is the middle book in a 3-part series that follows the paths of the three pieces of my carefully crafted love triangle...

Thank you for the compliments *blush* If you are intrigued enough to continue this dialogue off-blog, and let a west coast newbie pick your brain for a spell, feel free to drop me a line... I'd flirt back, but wouldn't want the rest of the participants to yell for us to "Get a Room" LOL

Stephanie (#144)

Edwardo Jackson said...

For Stephanie (and others): Feel free to reach out to me at EverAfterANovel@aol.com and visit my website at www.edwardojackson.com. That way we can all "get a room". lol

Okay, so maybe I made up the title "relationship fiction" but it's always felt more applicable than some of the other labels floating around there when I first wrote the EVER AFTER manuscript in '98. Romance novels, in my estimation, tend to have a certain, rigid structure (an accomplished romance writer told me this) from which you CANNOT DEVIATE. At all.

All three of my novels in the Nick-Jasmine series play with the form and function of traditional storytelling in some way, esp. the endings of all three.

I think romance novels are equivalent to TV soap operas. That's just an outsider's opinion, but I could be wrong.

Chick lit I think is more plot focused, with those plots revolving mostly about the lifestyle of the upwardly mobile, romantically focused woman. First person POV doesn't make a difference, but in my novel I DO?, because it's so female-centric from the inside out, I'd have a hard time having outside people NOT calling it chick lit - even though it's about the UNIVERSAL theme of love lost and trying like hell to get it back.

I think that hybrid types of novels or just basic, good stories that are (gasp!) COMPLICATED tend to fit in multiple genres. When I saw fit, I'd push the romance angle of my relationship novels (which is how I became affiliated/reviewed by the fine group at SORMAG); other times, I'd push the coming of age aspect in my (vain) attempt to lure black male readers. Be political about it, if yours is a complex work that's hard to define.

And, yes, my books are EXCELLENT research for anyone who enjoys quality, literary yet commercial fiction. :-)

Hope I don't have to drive up to Santa Cruz to "get that room" LOL

Thanks all!

EJ

Anonymous said...

Wow. Lots of questions. My name is Beverly Jenkins and I have published in three formats: Af/Am historical, romantic suspense and Af/Am YA Historical. I started in historicals and switched to suspense because my publisher ( Avon Harper Collins)requested it. I would have been perfectly happy writing historicals for the rest of my life but found the suspense opened up a whole new world of writing. Pen names weren't considered. My editors felt the readers would be more apt to follow me into new lands because they already knew my name. In so far as straddling genres -- I say write the book first, hone it, polish it and by the time you're through you as the author will have a better sense of where your book might be placed. I also encourage unpubs (unpublished writers) to learn as much as they can about the "business" of writing, by subscribing to mags such as Writer's Digest. I would never have gotten my first book published without WD's timely tips and sugggestions. 16 books later and I still look through my monthly WD to see if there's advice included that might be helpful and I usually find it. I've no idea if any of my thoughts are helpful to anyone but since I'm on the panel, I felt I ought to contribute something. If anyone has any questions just post. I'll stop back by later. Thanks much. B Jenkins

G. Miki Hayden said...

Yes, Tee, you can go back through and revise a book to emphasize another genre. You can even turn a novel into a long short story if you have a market in mind. (I sold a novella to True Love by cutting down a novel.)

To go back to the idea of knowing the markets: I don't mean write something because that's what's selling. I do mean try to find out what you want to write that will also sell.

The other thing is by knowing the markets, you can avoid writing a mishmash of genres or writing what definitely isn't selling. The first two novels I wrote were male adventure--those simply aren't selling.

I'd suggest that while writing for its own sake is a very good thing, you'll be even happier if you can sell.

I'm glad we had such a lively discussion today.

G. Miki Hayden

Monica said...

I popped in here just before midnight thinking I'm going to be bright and early, and wow, there are tons of questions and answers already. This is great! Sorry to show up later than most, but let me dig in. :-)

________________________________

Tee C. Royal said...

Celine, Diane, and G. Miki, thanks so much for your replies. They are greatly appreciated!

-Tee C. Royal
Badge #57

Monica said...

Meri 129

You wrote

how did you enter the field?

I LOVE paranormal. Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, Stephen King are my faves and Tananarive Due is my girl!

do you write non-fiction as well as fiction with paranormal topics?

Nope, I stick to fiction. See, I write about demons and stuff and I have to keep it firmly in the realms of fantasy and my imagination. Otherwise, I'd get too spooked out, typing all alone in my dark basement office. . . ;-)

do you see the field growing and if so in what direction-toward ghost stories to tie in with the television mania going on around ghosts or toward romance to fuel the desire to believe in soulmates and/or the afterlife or ????

I do see paranormal growing. The danger is market oversaturation and I think I see the beginnings of that already with the glut of vampires in some sectors. But as with any trend, the cream always rises to the top and rides the following downturn. Remember when the market was flooded with horror, then pubs pulled back and stopped acquiring? But Stephen King and other horror writers are still hugely popular and sold throughout the years despite the so-called market trends.

Bottom line, if your story is a fresh, original take of a favorite genre or sub-genre or classic plot and it's well written, you don't have to worry about trends. You'll sell regardless.

i am currently working on a non-fiction paranormal based book and i'm wondering if you know of any writers groups centered upon paranormal writing?

Nonfiction? That's not my area of expertise. Any large writing sites such as WritersDigest.com or WritersWrite.com will likely have leads. This site seemed to have a good Q&A section. http://www.youcanwrite.com/. I know the Writers Workshop has a online critique workshop with a nonfiction section. With the Internet, a huge number of resources are at your fingertips, available with a little digging.

misc.writing also has a nice list of various resources.
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/writing/faq/organization-list/

Hope I could help and good luck!
Monica

Monica said...

Stephanie144, you wrote

Hi. I'm a beginning writer with a major case of genre angst. I read in alot of different genres, so I find my writing style has elements of several different genres (romance/chick-lit/multicultural/mainstream). So I've written a story I love, but don't know exactly where to place/shop it. Is fitting neatly into a marketing niche really that crucial? As a woman of mixed heritage, I've always been slightly averse to trying to squeeze myself into a "box", lol. When I query, should I state up front that my MS is a genre straddler, or does that hurt me?

To be honest, one of the first thing an editor or agent does when they read the query is wonder where the book is going to fit. An agent has to pitch the book to an editor who is looking for specifics to add to her list. An editor has to sell your book to a marketing department who wants to know exactly where this book is going to go.

So frankly, I do think stating this upfront in your query will hurt you.

But on the bright side, every book fits somewhere on the book shelf. Maybe you simply haven't figured out where you want yours to go.

I think you're wise not to box yourself in (I personally think there are few dumber things than dividing out literature by the race its author), but you're going to have to figure out whereabout you want your book to sit in the bookstore? Do you want it in the AA section, mainstream chicklit? mainstream woman's fiction? romance?

Decide where you want it and target your marketing efforts accordingly. If an editor/agent loves your book, but doesn't think it will quite fit in the niche you've targeted, that won't stop her. But upfront quibbling in the query letter might keep her from investigating further.

Good luck!

Monica said...

Tray asked

I am a new writer/first time novelist and have written a ghost story. (in the grueling process of editing) Are there any helpful sites on the subject and or market that you can recommend, or any paranormal on line writers groups?

It depends on what sort of ghost story it is. If you have a strong romantic thread, I'd recommend RWA (Romance Writers of America). I truly don't think there a better resource for a beginning writer. They are incredibly generous with their time, and there are a variety of chapters for every subgenre. . . and yes, there is a fantasy and paranormal chapter with lots of people writing ghost stories!

I know horror writers have good resources too. You can access a good list of links at http://darkecho.com/darkecho/links/index.html

There is a Horror Writer Association too with great links http://www.horror.org/

There are also mystery writers and SFF writers organizations with links and resources at their sites. But nobody embracies newbies like the romance writers though.

Monica said...

Leah25 asks:

I'm currently reading your book,"In My Dreams," and I'm wondering about your process. Do you research paranormal phenomenon for your story or do you only use your imagination?

I do research. But no matter how much my sources write that demons and other scary phenomena are real. . . I don't deal with that. I research so my magic and world building is authentic and based in real belief systems. An awesome website full of great info and a forum where you can access real magicians, demon summoners and the like (they are generally generous with info as long as you're for real and not BSing them) is the Library of Knowledge at http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/tomekeeper/index.html

I am amazed at how much the magical arts are a serious discipline and area of study for many, and how congruent the information is across various resouces.

And yes, I'm too much of a wuss to ever try it. I keep my scary stuff strictly in my imagination.

All the best!
Monica

Monica said...

ac arthur asked

the difference between a paranormal and a fantasy?
If paranormals are vampires, witches, etc. Then is it safe to say that fantasies are fairies, genies, mermaids?


Hmmm. Angela Knight and Laurell Hamilton write paranormals with (hot and sexy) fairies, etc. I wrote one with a genie.

I think it's the tone of the book. Fantasy uses a lot of world building. It's totally set in a different world. Thing JRR Tolkien or Robert Jordan fantasies. The paranormals I read take fantasy elements and place them in the real world--or take real world people and transport them to the other world. However it's handled, the fantasy and paranormal elements are acting on our real world, instead of characters and all action taking place in a completely different world.

Just my two cents! :-)
Monica

Monica said...

Tee C. Royal asked:

Tee C. Royal said...

Have any of you ever written a book in one genre and then gone back through the book to give it the necessary "parts" to make it fit the preferred genre?

I honestly haven't. I was chaffing at the bit to let my strange stuff out. But lI have built on what may seem to be a prosaic romance, and let the paranormal elements sneak up on the reader. A clear instance I did this was my novella, The Choice, (it's a free download on my site).

I started with what seemed like a sweet romance with a older woman and the high school heartthrob returning home, but the twist was reincarnation and a family curse. They were star-crossed slaves reliving their tragedy, until the time came that things could be set straight. I did have how I wanted the book to play out in my head before I wrote it.

When I wrote A Magical Moment, I really didn't mean to put in the demon and the paranormal denoument. The killer was using black magic to kill the abusers of women in a battered woman's shelter one by one. My heroine was psychic. The demon just slipped in, honest--but nope, I've never actually gone back in and added that element.

Hope I at least sorta answered your question,
Monica

Stephanie said...

Thanks for all your thoughts, Monica. It's nice to see this panel still hoppin' :-)

Monica said...

Ruth100 asked:

Is it possible to use websites such as Amazon.com to study the markets and if so please could you give me some pointers on how to do so effectively.

People have already given great ideas on studying the market.

Amazon is so huge. I think it would be difficult to sort everything out. But there is a site, http://publishermarketplace.com that lists recent sales. I think it's an excellent resource to see exactly what's selling. You can also browse agents to see what sort of work they are currently looking.

I looked back and saw that indeed, I was a day late and time short. But I got all my answers in before midnight!

I'll drop back to see if anybody has any more questions and feel free to drop me a line from my web site.

Warmest regards and fingers crossed for lots of new sales, Monica

Monica said...

Correction, the correct url for the above resource for reseaching the market is
http://publishersmarketplace.com/

They do have free access, but last ime I looked, membership was $15 a month and includes some extras such as a web site.

______

Sorry for any typos in my answers! My fingers were flyin'

--Monica

Felecia Ellis said...

Hello Everyone,
There was so much going on I had to take notes. I agree with G. Miki Hayden's comments on studying your genre. I write mysteries and I have always had a love for this genre. I started reading mysteries in 5th grade, from the Happy Holisters, to Agatha Christy, Ellery Queen etc. You name it and I've probably read it. I also write romance and children's books. I disagree with the person who said write what sales. I think a person should write what they feel. If you don't feel it how can you be an effective writer? Your readers will be able to tell the difference.

Tray said...

Hello! Thanks Monica for the info. Very helpful!

Tray #155

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