So, when I thought about self publishing my story, it occurred to me that I needed to pitch it at a genre. Nobody is going to find it, let alone read it if it’s in the “Travel Urban Steam Science-Fantasy” section, mainly because there isn’t one. So I looked at the book and thought about it.
It’s set in the future, in the asteroid belt, on Ceres, in a bubble-dome city. Naturally I thought “Sci-fi”. No-brainer, right?
But then I looked at what I was actually writing about, and I realised it wasn’t. A sci-fi reader wouldn’t be interested in it.
Unlike Sci-fi, which tends to eschew magic in favour of high technology, my story has that stuff, but it also has dragons and mythological characters and evil demons plotting the destruction of all that we hold dear. Where sci-fi tends to deal with what-ifs in the realm of technical plausibility, my story has that, but it’s really looking at what-ifs in the realm of the supernatural. What if enough powerful science could actually create a kind of legit magic?
So it’s Science fantasy then? Well, not really. And thank my hairy feet that it isn’t, because next to nobody reads that genre since before I was born.
And so despite the sci-fi setting, I figure it’s urban fantasy, and here’s why:
- It’s 95% set in this one city.
- It involves the supernatural hidden beneath the mundane.
- It follows the adventures of an uninitiated person becoming involved in the magical world
- It has scary monsters and big-bads galore
- Most of my strongest writing influences are Urban Fantasy authors, and this is what has coloured and shaped the work
I think that what I haven’t done well, and what I need to do now (what we all need to do with our respective genres I guess) is to sharpen the book-pitch so that it highlights the Urban Fantasy-ness of the story. I probably also need to put a bad-ass/sexy looking protagonist on the cover somewhere, because that seems to be the done thing. That way it can find readers who like books of a similar ilk.
Okay, waffle over. Let me know what you think, and how much you’ve pondered over genre issues yourself.