Do you ever wonder what genre you’re writing in? Should you?
If so, you definitely need to read this essay from this week’s Publishers Weekly:
Identity Crisis? Not really: Let the marketing people decide whether I’m writing adult or YA novels, written by Meg Rosoff.
You may have encountered this familiar writerly dilemma:
According to my (new) publisher, I used to be a Young Adult writer. This statement has caused one of my bookseller fans so much outrage, she e-mailed me at home, saying, “I am all set to be enraged at ‘Formerly a YA author’ on your bio. Like YA was just a phase you grew out of? And now, finally, you’re writing Respectable Literary Fiction?” It’s a problem. The truth is, most writers simply write, and by virtue of the subject matter they choose (divorce, sexual deviance, the Peloponnesian wars), are deemed to be adult writers. The presence of puppies and pigs in a story line usually indicates a children’s book, except when it doesn’t (Marley and Me, Animal Farm). And according to the marketing departments of most American publishers, there are children’s books and adult books, and never the twain shall meet.
Rosoff goes on to say that her writing hasn’t changed even though the way her work is being marketed has. She’s still writing about coming-of-age themes just as she did several years ago when her debut novel How I Live Now was sold as YA fiction.
Have you ever confronted this problem of having to figure out which genre your writing fits in? Is this essentially the writers responsibility to know or should writers just leave it up to the marketing departments, as Rosoff suggests? Please drop me a line here.