How useful are genre labels?

While genres help us to identify and categorise certain narratives, I often find that they are unhelpful labels. Some books, like the ones that I have written, simply don’t fall into any particular box. Instead, they choose to focus on the characters and the story, breaking free from the chains of genre conventions and rules.

For me, the stories that do their own thing are the best kinds of stories. They are unpredictable, unique and mostly character-driven. They may rely on some genre conventions, but they play around with them and don’t confine themselves to a particular set of rules. Over the last few decades, people have become increasingly bored with fixed genres, but thankfully, it seems that authors have mixed it up a little bit!

However, genre labels still exist, mainly for marketing purposes. If a book is marketed as a particular genre, then publishers can supposedly sell them to readers more easily. And if a particular genre does well (i.e. vampires or dystopian future), then the bookshops are saturated with more of the same, squeezing every drop out of the commercial success of certain trends. However, I can think of many instances where it was the story and the characters – not the genre – that made the book popular!

In my eyes, it seems that genre labels do have their place, but it is the narrative that truly matters. Without the narrative, then the readers have nothing to enjoy! Genres are just boxes and signposts, pointing us in the direction of stories that we might like. So I would urge you to have a good sift through those boxes because I have found some gems in many different places!

Great stories stand out regardless of what genre they might be placed in. I’m sure that we’ve all encountered a special story that has blown us away… a narrative that seems to transcend genre and becomes an entity of its own. I love such stories and strive to create them myself!

Should I self-publish?

Before yesterday, I would’ve said no.

But since then, things have been put into perspective for me. Someone made me realise that the odds of getting published the traditional way are very slim, and that I could be waiting around for a very long time before an agent accepts me! And also, only 0.01% of books are given a marketing budget, which is much lower than I expected! So rather than waiting around for what might never happen, I’ve decided to take action.

I don’t want fame or fortune. I just want to share my books with the world and make a living from doing so! So I’m going to make my books available and see what happens. Hopefully, people will like what I have to offer 🙂

The decision to self-publish has opened up a lot of doors. I must decide which platforms to use, how to market myself, how to format the book etc. I already know the answers to some of these questions, as I’ve quietly been wondering about self-publishing for a while. I’ve always tried to find out information about it, just in case I ever decided to go ahead with it. And now is that time.

The reason that I tried to get published the traditional way was because I wanted to set myself apart from the sea of self-published authors out there. In this day and age, anyone can publish a book, and I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. But I know now that there are ways and means that I can distinguish myself 🙂

At the end of the day, I want people to read my books. They’re just gathering dust at the moment, so I’d like to share them! And if they do well, then a publisher might even offer to take me on anyway!

Watch this space, guys!

Why do I write?

Writing is something that I thoroughly enjoy doing.

Quite often, I get caught up in the dream of getting published and forget that I write simply because it’s something that I love doing! Of course, it would be fantastic if I could share my books with the world, but remembering the real reason that I write takes the pressure off a bit.

I love creating different worlds and characters to fill them. I love telling stories and putting my characters through difficult situations. When I remember that I write for the fun of it, I’m less questioning of my ideas. It frees me to pursue whatever project I want, without worrying what other people might think of it.

It is important to pursue what you love. Hobbies and passions give you a sense of purpose and enrich your time here on this Earth. Even if I never get published, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be writing until the end of my days.