Various Categories of Genre Fiction - Where Does My Book Fit?

When I first began querying Ripple the Twine a couple years ago, in an early attempt to garner an Agent, I thought I knew exactly what category my book fell into.  Sara Quinn is a spunky, single, thirty-something who lives in the city, works for herself and considers her friends her family.  Obviously Chick-Lit.  Bingo!

But then I started writing up the queries and it hit me that this book is almost a polar opposite to the standard accepted definition of Chick-Lit.  Because, although all of that above information is true, Sara isn’t really the girliest of girls either.

Sara has no real interest in fashion; she’d rather have a snazzy pair of jogging shoes than Jimmy Choos.  She doesn’t meet the girls for cocktails in trendy locales; she drinks beer at her friend’s bar.  You won’t find Sara at the opening of a new must-see; she’ll be singing along every Thursday night to support her best friend’s band.  She’s a Sportswriter, a Tomboy, analytical and somewhat shy.

So then how can I justify Ripple the Twine as Chick-Lit when all of everyone defines the genre with someone like Carrie Bradshaw?  Carrie is a still-hot-in-her-thirties, spunky and culturally diverse woman with loads of internal baggage, but clear career focus, living in the city.

But that’s my character too!

Sara’s trends are just Boston, not NYC.  In Boston it is perfectly acceptable to wear your “nice” button up Red Sox shirt to dinner; especially on game days.  Her culture comes in the form of sports and live music and the fun sides of knowing a bar owner.  She’s been hurt viciously and carries it with her still.  She’s been blocking out the possibility of finding a real relationship for the better part of a decade.  But the girl is driven – she approaches her career with vigorous determination to succeed, and that, she does.

Carrie and Sara are practically the same person.  Aren’t they?  Oh, they aren’t even close?  Okay…

So then I had to consider the issue – where exactly did my book fit?  Could I label it Chick-Lit after all?  If not then how was I supposed to classify it?  How did I fully describe Sara and her life without knowing a category for it to fall into on book store shelves?  Would it be shelved incorrectly and reach the wrong audience?  Would Sara resonate with girlier women even though she was a Tomboy?

My brain was swimming as I dove into researching all the various genre fiction out there.

I came across the category of Speculative Fiction with high hopes.  It was something I’d never heard of before but speculation is always present when a girl-meets-boy.  I mean ‘speculative’ pretty much means a hypothetical situation and aren’t all happy ending love stories nothing more than imaginary (pure conjecture!) anyway?  Turns out, however, that genre is reserved for all things fantastical, dystopian, sci-fi.  Think The Hunger Games.  Next…

I considered Romance.  No dice.  My desire to write sentences like “Her head tossed back in ecstasy, he gently pulled on one end of the ribbon, the only thing stopping him from exposing her generous, milky-white bosom…” was only overshadowed by the fact that Sara would pretty likely roll her eyes at the thought of some damsel in distress scenario, not to mention the word ‘bosom’.  Moving on…

There was the possibility of being placed into Contemporary Women’s Fiction but while researching the genre I didn’t find any titles where the female gets wooed by some cute guy.  Mostly they’re stories of the woman on her own, making it her own way, and don’t generally include wit or humor.  Think Laverne and Shirley without Laverne.

Literary fiction was all around wrong.  While I feel my book has merit, the category is more along the lines of ‘can it win a Pulitzer’ than ‘will it be the perfect beach read’.  And we all know that the comedy never gets the Emmy no matter how much it made us laugh.  Think Bridesmaids.

So in the end I decided to go back to placing Sara and her friends into the category of Chick-Lit.  Although she may not be the standard definition of the genre, it is probably safe to say that no one woman really ever is.  At least she'll be in wonderfully dysfunctional company.

What genre do you write?  Does your fiction cross over into multiple categories?

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Ripple the Twine Is in Final Stages of Pre-Publication

After a lot of thought I decided to have my cover artist, Judi FitzPatrick Studio, for Ripple the Twine edit the image to include the words “A novel”.  It is a phrase I’ve seen grace almost every cover of every Chick-Lit book I’ve read in recent years.  In order to remind the public that my book is fiction, there’s no better way to get the point across than to emblazon it across the cover.

Judi has also completed the spine and back cover art as well.  Now I just have to figure out how to get that pesky barcode placed correctly and we’re in business.  The business of selling my book!

Tag Line

I have created a tag line for my business cards as I think its short, sweet and describes my 63,000 words in just fifteen:

A Tomboy meets Townie love story and tale about how friendship can save your life

What do you think?  My business cards will be the book cover and have my info on the back.  I really want these to be completed soon so I will have them ready to go for my next meeting with the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers at the end of April.

Business Card Design

I’ve been contemplating what I want my business cards to be, how they should look, their shape, etc.  Doing a lot of research into marketing means I’ve come across all kinds of advice on what a business card should look like, the type of information it should convey and how to make them memorable. 

At the last SSWW meeting I met a new guest who has her cards made from ultra-thick cardstock in the shape of a cloud.  They were memorable.  But it didn’t fit in my business card holder and I ended up having to put it in the recycle bin after saving her website as a favorite.

With that experience in mind as well as all the advice I’d read online about making an impression with my cards I considered two different possibilities:
  • Shape the card like a high-heel shoe
  • Create a “book” by having a card that opens like you’ll be reading it

I liked both ideas but remembering the golden rule of keeping it simple as well as the awkward shape it would create, I shifted gears.

Instead, I’m thinking the book cover art on the front side then set up the back as if it’s the back cover of my book.  I’ll just make it look like my book but it will really be my contact info.  It will be simple and easier to print as well as store for those taking one, but with the vibrancy of the yellow I think they’ll be memorable even if the shape isn’t a shoe.


Any other self-published Authors out there who can help me with this barcode debacle?  I purchased my ISBN and barcode from (Bowker).  The file downloaded just fine but the extension is something I’m not familiar with and I’m kind of at a loss as to how to place it on my back cover.


The Last Push

The next couple weeks are it for the completion of bringing this all together and I’m so grateful for not only having the project complete but having the ability to complete it in the first place!

As many of you know Ripple the Twine is available for pre-order now.  The offer ends on April 20, 2012.