Yes, I totally made that up. Still, I’m taking the opportunity to call it out. There are genres, sub-genres, sub-sub-genres. It’s a hot mess and confusing to boot. Who decides all of this stuff? What ever happened to just straightforward Fantasy?
Initially I was under the (self-imposed) impression that I was writing Romance. More specifically, Paranormal Romance due to the presence of supernatural creatures and prevalent romantic undercurrent. Full disclosure, I was never okay with this categorization and it showed. For months I have been bouncing concepts off of other authors, picking up tidbits from writing groups I follow, and generally driving myself crazy.
My moment of clarity came when I asked for advice on what my cover should look like. The predominant feedback held that a Romance novel by definition necessitated having the heroine or her counterpart (maybe both) featured front and center. I rebelled. Over my dead body was I going to put a heaving bosom, damsel in distress or barely dressed, muscle-clad savior on the cover of one of my books. That isn’t who I am and it certainly doesn’t represent my writing.
To ensure I wasn’t over-reacting, I did a little research. I checked out what I thought might be similar books and cover concepts that had been suggested. I hated all of them. Okay, maybe not all of them, but at least 90%. This got me thinking. If this was a book I was looking for, what would I expect the cover to look like? The quick answer was I wouldn’t even pick it up. In fact, under this particular genre, I would never even find it. Hard truth: If I wouldn’t find it, then logically none of my target audience would either. *facepalm* Cue revelation.
Have I been misrepresenting my own books?
If they weren’t Paranormal Romance, then what were they? Not YA–adult content and all that. Fantasy? Nope, no goblins, too contemporary. Urban Fantasy? Eh, not quite. (side note: don’t even get me started on all of the sub-genres for Romance. What is Clean Romance anyway? I would say think Hallmark, but they already have their own category.) Anyway, I digress.
As you can see, the whirlwind was a little overwhelming and I haven’t even delved into the next layer. Insert aggrieved sigh. Ultimately, I decided on Paranormal Fantasy. Here is why for anyone still super confused by all of the contradicting definitions (#me).
Paranormal basically equates to modern supernatural, i.e. witches, werewolves, and in my case, demons. This literally applies to four out five of my series (including the YA). As for the Fantasy aspect, think of it like the ultimate header under which all fantastical stories fall. Anyone anxious about my dropping the Romance qualifier, understand this: All good fantasies have some aspect of romance. Mine just might make your blood boil 😉