Hmm. Yes, well… I was meaning to say (and all the sort of things said by someone who hasn’t done what he or she said she would do).
New Year’s Resolutions for Writers is an uncomfortable topic for me, because I have yet to achieve one I make every year myself: That is, to write a simpler story which fits comfortably into a genre.
I have never done it.
If ‘Ravensdale’ was an Amazon best seller for weeks a decade ago, if ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’ reached best seller status during sales, and later on, the same for ‘The Villainous Viscount’, then that was, as the cliche goes, rather through luck than good judgement. Sales would have remained much more consistent since those heady days, and I would probably have developed more of a faithful following of readers over the years, if my stories had not been cross genre.
The plots of all of them are a bit too complex: they have non-commercial aspects (for instance, the length of ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’). I tend to provide more realistic details of day-to-day life in Great Britain of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
Because they don’t tend to confirm to the general requirements for a genre, they often tend to disappoint reader expectations – and that, as Craig Martell comments, is a risky business: you only need look at some of the one star reviews for ‘Ravensdale’ in particular to see that.
Besides that, they don’t easily fit into a category, which makes marketing them difficult. I’ve written about this before, and I never seem to learn. The closest I can come is’Historical/Gothic’ and ‘Dark Humour’. They generally have a romantic element, but they do not focus solely on the romance, and one reader of ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’ was so put out by this that she complained about the ‘boring dross’of the other aspects and suggested that I ought to edit out everything but the love story.
What is it that draws me towards cross genre novels again and again?
In a former post, I commented that some writers have in the past managed to get round this problem of being attracted to writing cross genre stories by creating a genre of their own.
Of course, that was in pre-internet days, when with less fierce competition, marketing such books was easier with the backing of a publishing company. Still, it can surely still be done without the backing of a publishing company: the problem is, how to think outside the box regarding marketing, reader expectations and the limited category options offered by online book publishing companies.
So, there’s my own repetitive New Year’s Resolution. I’d be interested to hear what writing resolution other writers have made.
It only remains for me to wish all readers of this blog – and of my books especially – a Happy New Year.