(Sung to the tune – House of the Rising Sun, but The Animals.)
Oh, authors, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Set your book in an off genre
And marketing won’t be fun
I have struggled to define the correct category for The Gathering. Here are the genres in which it might fit with a few comments about each. I’d love some suggestions from my readers.
General Fiction – This seems to be the category that books are placed in when no one is sure how it should be labeled. It’s a generic pool of titles without much in common other than the fact that they didn’t fit anywhere else. I’m just not convinced that The Gathering is the sort of book people are expecting when they peruse this category.
Speculative Fiction – For the most part this the how I’ve classified The Gathering. It
definitely fits into the Speculative field. One reviewer listed the book as “Reality Speculative Fiction” and that is probably the most accurate classification that I have found so far. The problem with that it is not really an accepted category and then I have to explain the genre as well as the storyline. In a way this feels like the General Fiction version of the Sci-Fi world.
Sci-Fi – I love this category. This is what I normally write and The Gathering contains
some slight element of the genre. The story is set in the future—albeit the near future—and is in fact an apocalyptic tale in the making, which falls into the category of Sci-Fi. Unfortunately, without any aliens from another dimension, space ships, or high-tech gadgetry that hasn’t been invented yet my book doesn’t read like Sci-Fi.
Action / Adventure – My normal writing style includes a lot of action and a fair amount of adventure. The main story of a typical family in a tough situation doesn’t really cry out for this classification, but the Calvin McCord storyline does. My concern for using this genre is that readers may expect a fast-paced trek through exotic locales and that is not what they will get.
Christian Fiction – Since the story involves an LDS family as they respond to the prophesied events leading up to the Second Coming this is a fair category to place The
Gathering. But does this label set an expectation of a story that has a lot of warm-fuzzies intermixed with a 300 page sermon? While there is nothing wrong with that my intention was to get my readers to think about how they would react to an apocalyptic event.
Thriller – The definition of this genre is a story that uses suspense, tension, and excitement as its main elements. Guilty as charged. At least, that was my intent when writing The Gathering. Here again, I feel that readers will have a different expectation when they see mention of this genre. Perhaps I’m doing myself a disservice by comparing it to North By Northwest, Cape Fear, and Play Misty For Me, but I don’t feel comfortable placing it in this category.
Pre-Apocalyptic – Since The Gathering doesn’t fit nicely into any of the categories that are available I decided to make a new one. Imagine that—me making something up. This brand new category deals with stories that take place in the days and years prior to an apocalypse. In this case it involves an event that hasn’t happened yet, but I think it would work just as well with great tragedies from our past. A tale of a Jewish family in
Germany just prior to WWII would be an example. Even though I created this category
specifically for The Gathering I feel that it could work as a legitimate genre. Post-Apocalyptic tales already exist so why not this?
Have an opinion on what I said? Leave a comment