genre doubts

I’m like 17k in on my WIP, which I’m thinking is like less than half way. Not sure, since I have no idea what is going to happen in the story really. And I am starting to worry about my genre choices. Not m/m, I’m totally going with that. But the paranormal aspect.

I have written a few contemporary romances, with no fantasy or paranormal elements to them. Those sell well, usually. I have written a few erotica stories set in a fantasy world, with no paranormal. Those are okay too.

My favorite thing, though, is writing stories that are basically contemporary romances, set in the real modern world, and flavored with some paranormal touches. In these stories, the paranormal does not totally dictate the plot, it is just there. If I was a more serious writer I might call it “magical realism” or something.

I love writing these. The characters are real and relate-able, and the paranormal makes it interesting and fun.

But now I’m wondering, does anyone else but meย like this kind of book? My sales on contemporary are sooo much better than on paranormal. And on my latest book, a lot of people said they read it “despite” the fantasy elements. Am I making a mistake writing what I like? Should I be writing to the market? Who will I sell this story to?

Just my daily self doubt. I’ll keep writing.

Any opinions? I’d love to hear them…

18 thoughts on “genre doubts

  1. Don’t worry too much about it. Just write what you like. So far my fantasy and paranormal series have been the most liked and bestselling of all my books, so there is an audience for them. Don’t worry, just keep writing.

    • Yeah I think that is the issue I have. My stories are kind of a mix, not quite paranormal and not quite contemporary. So sometimes paranormal readers want more weird stuff (and more alpha males and paranormal drama) and contemporary readers want none of it. I know there are readers where the two spheres overlap, but it’s a slim section, and I’m beginning to worry if that maybe should influence my writing choices.
      But I’m really liking the witch and the water fae romance I have brewing. Sooo… I’ll probably keep going ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’m not a big fan of ultra-paranormal–meaning vampires and shape-shifters. But I love that little hint of something “other”–ghosts, psychic abilities, fae, magic, that sort of thing. So yes, there’s an audience! Me!

  3. I love magical realism, though I haven’t read any contemporary or romance with it. My favorite is Michael Crummey’s Galore, which takes place in a fishing village in Newfoundland in the 1800s to early 1900s. The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen is probably my second favorite. It takes place during The Depression. Oh! There was a great short storyโ€”I wish I could remember the author’s nameโ€”that was (I think; it’s been a long time since I read it) both more contemporary and a sort of love story. It was about a man who realized he could change his body into anything, and he tried to impress the girl he loved by changing into different things.

    I’d love to read a contemporary that actually feels like magic realism instead of like paranormal.

    • I think mine are more magical than paranormal? But I don’t know… I definitely focus more on the real-world, and there are no werewolf wars or anything, lol. But who knows, they are just my weird little stories. The thing is, it is hard to find books similar to what I write, genre wise. Most are really paranormal, or not at all, so I have trouble figuring out what even to call my stuff. And where to market it. Even blurb-writing is a challenge!
      I never read “Galore” but it sounds awesome… I will look it up, thanks for the rec ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I struggle with trying to put my finger on how a story that takes for granted the existence of werewolf packs or vampire clans in a world that’s otherwise much like our own differs from magical realism. Mostly I just go by “I know it when I read it.” It’s probably is just the “it is just there” thing. In a paranormal werewolf book, a lot of the problems and conflict (and solutions) have to do with the fact that some of the characters are werewolves, whereas in magical realism it’s “yeah, Joe’s a werewolf,” and we might see him sneaking home one night naked with blood on his chest, but the story isn’t about that. In The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, Jason and Wit wake up on morgue tables with fatal bullet wounds, but the story’s about 1) who snitched and led them to getting shot in the first place?, 2) while everyone thinks they’re dead is a good time to do a few last robberies and disappear into retirement, and 3) Jason’s girlfriend gets kidnapped and he can’t just abandon her.

        (Now I want to reread The Many Deaths. Like I have time to even read new books!!)

      • Well, if you finish my book I’d love to hear if you think it falls under magical realism, or more paranormal. The book I have in process is similar, though I think it is more on the paranormal side. (witches this time) But I have to do a better job with marketing, so a good description of the genre would help!

      • Marketing in the worst. My latest release, I had so much trouble trying to figure out what to do with it because it’s a love story, but a tragic one, so the romance readers would have my entrails for dinner if I called it romance. But there’s not enough focus on sex for it to be erotica. I started out categorizing it as gay and fantasy/historical and literary, but none of that’s right either. This morning I hit upon (maybe) the best option: I changed the blurb to start out with “In this bittersweet love story” and stuck it in romance (and gay). So readers are forewarned. Hopefully. It may actually be magical realism. ๐Ÿ™‚ But man, marketing is the worst.

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