Monday, August 4, 2014

What Genre Is My Novel?

I've been vacillating since I began writing this book. I knew I wanted a love interest, but did it turn into more? Is my Historical Fiction a Romance or not?
Why it matters: Books need to be categorized in order to be found--whether it's put on a shelf by a librarian or bookstore staff, or searched online. A second but more personal reason concerns my title.
Backstory: I first called my novel The Seventh City. While I love that for a title, it doesn't clue us in to what it's about. Two of my suggestions to a marketing team were The Seventh City of Believers and The Seventh City: A Book of Mormon Novel. When the team came back with Secrets of the King's Daughter: A Book of Mormon Romance, I liked the descriptive first part quite well. Then I thought, "Oh, I guess it is a romance."
What is Romance? This description from summed it up well: "The genre of Romantic Fiction has two strict criteria: The first is that the story must focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Secondly, the end of the story must be positive, leaving the reader believing that the protagonists' love relationship will endure for the rest of their lives."
Criteria 1 -- This only fits for the second half of the book. My MC, Karlinah, is required to marry. In the first part of the story, she has little or no say in whom she marries. That changes, but new complications prevent a suitable match. It isn't until later in the story that she finds one worthy enough to build a relationship. The first half of the story focuses more on Karlinah's self-discovery journey and why she puts off religious conversion.
Criteria 2 -- Definitely a happy ending!
Okay, so maybe that's close enough. 
Why I Care: I don't want to narrow the audience. I want male readers as well as female. My young adult son loved the manuscript but said he never would have picked it out on his own. The book contains kidnapping scenes, Ammon chopping off arms of the enemy, and a wonderful villain. On the other hand, the Romance genre is huge and females are the largest group of readers.
End Result: What it boils down to is that my book needs to be a great book, regardless of the title or genre. That is what I aim to do. Word-of-mouth stories are what people want to read. 
Did you have a favorite title? Please let me know. OR wait until next Monday and you can vote!

The new-to-me blog of the week is an author/editor with a new pen name and a revitalized blog to match. Visit Jenn Adams at and give her some bloggy love.  

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