Genre Opportunities


Fantasy has Resurfaced as a Popular Genre in Recent Years

When I was shopping Able Was I, I met with a top New York agent who was previously the managing editor for one of the largest publishing houses in New York. After reading my synopsis, she summarized, “You’re writing a quasi literary novel with a gay protagonist.” She quickly dissected my potential readership. “Most book buyers are women, and women read about women. Straight men read espionage and science fiction; gay men read porn; and no one reads debut literary authors. Who’s your target audience?” Most authors gasp when I tell them this story, but as a businessman, I immediately saw her point. It was that moment that I decided to e-publish.

I had no intention of change manipulating my manuscript to make it more targeted. This is where my entrepreneur/novelist duality is more of a dichotomy. As a businessman I’m always thinking about the end user but as a writer, not so much. One’s muse is not easily influenced. And yet, once I complete the manuscript, I’m a businessman once again.

As a former VP of Community of a social networking start-up, I understand the concept of affinity. It doesn’t take much digging to discover that genres like romance, sci-fi, mystery, chic lit have tightly knit affinity readerships. The have dedicated bookstores, media outlets, and distribution channels. If your manuscript doesn’t fall into a neatly prescribed genre, everything is harder. If you have what you think is a general readership novel, lie. Figure out how it fits into a perfect genre for under-marketed but well read leprechauns.

The New York agent had given me an idea. Though the feedback from my readers had shown that Able Was I resonated equally with women and gay men, I knew I could more easily market it as a gay novel. I rewrote the synopsis. I immediately secured an interview in, which I parlayed to my first non-local bookstore reading, which I parlayed to a national book tour, which I parlayed to additional media all the way to a state-wide NPR interview in North Carolina. Could I have done this as a first time author with a quasi literary debut? Doubtful.

In summary, I’m not recommending you disrupt your muse’s direction. But after your manuscript is complete, if you can determine a way to package and sell it to a genre readership, do it.

Below is a full list of Entrepreneurial Reluctances/e-Publishing lessons from my Top 10s blog post.

Entrepreneurial Reluctance

1. The Catalyst(s)

2. Good $ vs. Bad $

3. Risk Reduction

4. The Network Effect

5. Been There, Done That (serial entrepreneurialism)

6. The New New Thing

7. Emergence & Maslow

8. The Analogy of the Watch (moving parts)

9. A Clean Cap Table

10. Perseverance or Blinders

e-Publishing Reticence

1. False Deadlines

2. Readers & Editrs

3. Genre Opportunities

4. Target Marketing

5. Self-Promotion

6. Creating you Brand

7. The First Review

8. The Network Effect

9. Amazon Ranking

10. The Book Tour


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