What’s wrong with genre busting?


WHEN I STARTED WRITING romance, even a whiff of paranormal, no matter how small, automatically classified the book as a Paranormal Romance. This was THE RULE.

So I obediently classified The Jaguar Legacy as a paranormal romance because my heroine discovers that, in a past life, she’d been an Olmec High Priestess. Ancient Mexican Olmecs believed their priests could shapeshift into the jaguar god they worshipped.

In reality, the book is more of a ‘Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones’ action adventure, but with a strong romantic element and an undertone of the paranormal.

I had committed the inexcusable crime of genre-combination. I prefer to think of it as genre-busting.

I’m told this is confusing and a BAD THING. Bookstores don’t know where to shelve the book, editors and agents don’t know how to market it, and readers don’t know how to find it.

Strangely enough, those readers who found it ignored THE RULE. The Jaguar Legacy took two First Prize awards in RWA contests. Readers discovered it on Amazon. Most reviewers gave it 5 stars. Go figure.

I have now solved the problem, at least in my mind, by classifying The Jaguar Legacy in Amazon as both a ‘Romantic Suspense’ and ‘Women’s Fiction’, and set the keywords to ‘Action Adventure,’ ‘Mystery’ ‘Reincarnation,’ ‘Historical Fiction,’ ‘Contemporary Romance,’ ‘Reincarnation,’ and ‘Paranormal Romance.’

Please decide for yourself which categories The Jaguar Legacy belongs in. I would love your feedback

About Maureen Fisher:

Maureen Fisher
Maureen Fisher

Born in Scotland, Maureen immigrated to Canada at the age of seven. A University of Toronto graduate, she convinced the federal government to hire a Fine Arts specialist as a computer programmer. Three years later, Maureen graduated again, this time to full-time homemaker and mom, raising two wonderful sons.

Plunging back into the business world, she and her second husband started a management consulting company. This marriage survived because she and her husband pledged never to work on the same project again. Ever. After a century in the consulting world, Maureen grew weary of wearing snappy power suits, squeezing into panty hose, and fighting rush hour traffic.

She made a life-changing decision. She wanted to write books. Not dry, boring, technical treatises, but fresh, funny romantic suspense novels. Between exotic trips, Maureen and her husband live in Ottawa where she volunteers for an addiction family program, plays bridge, and slaves over her computer to improve her writing skills.

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  • Scott Bury

    I relish the idea of breaking genre boundaries, myself. It’s a dangerous road, though. I think it does have an impact on sales, because retailers don’t know what to do about books that they can’t easily classify. But the stories are more delightful!

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