Easter's Lilly

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Genre and Marketing

As some of you already know, I have been re-evaluating the genre I use to market my books. Although literally speaking, they are romantic suspense novels, if we’re talking about what we expect when we pick up a romantic suspense novel and what you get when you pick up one of mine, they are two totally different things. Although there is certainly some loving going on in Lilly’s wild adventures, the scenes are not graphic and I use almost no foul language. Although I find Stephanie Tyler and Maya Banks incredibly talented, as an author, I am simply not one of them. The first time I picked up a romantic suspense novel, I thought it was just a difference in style. But after I read quite a few of them it became painfully clear: This is not me.

Originally, I simply thought they were romance novels but the ending is not always wrapped up in a little bow. I am notorious for leaving you hanging at the end. I must admit that while I was sending out queries, I was a little disappointed that no one even mentioned that I had the wrong genre. I guess it is not their job to let me know but as a new author, it surely would have helped. So removing the word, “suspense” from the title is apparently necessary. Romantic Thriller might be a more accurate description of what I write and perhaps it is time to change the genre in my marketing. If people who read romantic suspense novels on a regular basis are looking at Easter’s Lilly to satisfy that kind of thirst, it will certainly not be what they expected. However, if you’re looking for a romantic thriller, it certainly will fill the bill.

Not that I’m complaining. I seem to be getting positive feedback and I get quite a bit of support from my fellow author friends, my local friends and friends from my hometown in New York.   But I do think it is important that we are able to identify our work properly so that it gets into the hands of those who will most enjoy it. What are your thoughts on the subject? Does your book have an HEA ending but not enough romance? Or does it have an unidentifiable style? Can’t wait to hear from you.


  1. Judy, I think I've driven at least one editor mad because my novels were supposed to be romance novels in various settings/genre LOL! I went through a whole slew of genre' names including "romantic suspense" "near future romantic suspense", Futuristic thriller with romantic elements" and "Futuristic Crime Thriller" for the same novel (trilogy actually)! I think that these days genre' are blending so much that you can take out or put in any combination and can market your novel as such. I've tried not to write thrillers but they always end up that way but I also include romantic elements, paranormal and sci-fi all in the same book!

  2. Judy, I'm curious as to the distinction between suspense and thriller in terms of your book? This is a discussion that has been going on on the Murder Must Advertise site. At any rate, I think that knowing what your book is may help target readers.

  3. P.I. I have had the same issues. The fact that my books have a certain "thriller" aspect to them, I think has discouraged the average "romance" agent or publisher. I do have a publisher but he tends to go for the unusual. To be totally honest, I'm not sure my book actually falls under any one genre comfortably.

    Jenny, I have been doing a little research on my own and have been reading romantic suspense. I have discovered that I am not that. It tends to included graphic sex, and foul language which I have neither in my novels. I do have some loving in my books, but it leaves a lot to the imagination, and I try to make it beautiful rather than... whatever these books have. I think thriller tends to be more, edge of your seat, kind of thing, which I've been told mine are. I am trying to find a way to market my books more traditionally. I am hoping that this will help give me a shot.

    Thank you both so much for your comments!

  4. I think you have stumbled upon the very reason most books never get published or never make it very far. It doesn't fit into a nice clearly defined market. There is little doubt that there are a lot of people who would enjoy the book. But someone who likes suspense and thrills will not likely pick up a romance book, and vice versa.

    This causes the book to languish at the bottom of the charts for both genera. I think you are on the right track by changing your marketing to focus on one genera. Its a thriller and leave it at that. Don't try to mix it in with romance, let the reader discover that.

  5. S.B. I have always found your comments to be most interesting. I agree and have decided to take your advice. My books are more thriller than anything else, so I will go along with your idea. Most books have a little bit of romance but it is certainly more thriller than anything else. I just want you to know how much I appreciate your input. I will let you know how it goes.

  6. If you make an effort to help other writers, you can usually get talented writers to do content editing of your work for free, if you return the favor. Proofreading on the other hand, also necessary is usually in expensive.

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  7. I think you meant to post this under my "How much editing is enough," post. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Yes, I have thought about swapping "a second set of eyes" with other authors, but only for proofreading. Content editing would have to come from people who were involved in getting my book published. But that's just me. I do, however, listen to my husbands thoughts on accuracy and believability of my story-lines. He is actually quite good at it.