The Word “Genre” Gives Me a Headache

I can't figure out her genre either.

I can’t figure out her genre either.

Actually, not only does the word give me a headache, but it also kind of makes me want to cry.  Normally, I just call my book “Young Adult” and move on, but it’s not quite YA.  The main characters are 18 and 20, a little older than the typical YA characters.  I supposed I could just chop two years off their ages, but it seems a little contrived.

My next pick for genre would be science fiction.  Only, it’s not heavy into the science.  The science is there.  And it’s set in 2073.  But science isn’t the main thing, and I wouldn’t want to mislead people who are looking for Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard or Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

There’s also some fantasy.  Just a little, but it’s there.  Oh yeah, and there’s romance.

So where does it fall?  I’ve looked everywhere, and Google has tried hard to help, but it’s fallen short, and I’m not finding any real answers.  Maybe because there aren’t any?

I get why books should be classified by genre.  Readers need to know what they’re getting into so that they can assess if they’re going to like the thing or not.  And since I read YA and like YA, I can honestly say it’s most similar to YA.

But… what if the people I’m submitting it to don’t agree.  (I am in no way comparing myself to Dean Koontz with this next comment.)  Dean Koontz said that when he was just starting off as an author, he drove editors crazy with his mixed genre books, because they were a little of everything.  I get it.  Life is a mixed genre, which is why I write that way.

During my search of 4,981 blogs and articles, I think what it boils down to is that genre should be the closest match to what readers of similar books will enjoy.  People who read the The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and Divergent by Veronica Roth would probably be the ones who’d like my book, so Young Adult it is.  Did you see how I went in a giant circle just to get back where I started?

Why all the hubbub, you ask?  Well, I’m entering Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award.  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted.  Cross your fingers that I make it past the first round.  Now that I’ve gotten my genre picked out, I need to write a pitch.  How do I feel about pitches?

This isn't anyone I know... Thank you, Internet, for the picture of the random man.

This isn’t anyone I know… Thank you, Internet, for the picture of the random cranky man.