To bore on about my own experience for a minute; I usually seem to end up writing cross genre stuff (swear box for agents and publishers).
I try not to; these days, I do try to force my mind to concentrate on the target audience, on where the book would be shelved, how I will categorize it, and so on.
Obviously, I don’t try hard enough to keep my mind on the market, is all I can say, because somehow — those goals seem to go by the wayside when I see the possibilities of a plot.
I can see this problem being addressed with a simple answer in the style of one of those cartoon style advertisements I remember from my distant childhood. Highly unsophisticated line drawings, a troubled person (usually female) asking a wiser, smiling older confidant (again usually female) what to do:
Anxious Looking Indie Writer: ‘Clarinda, I just have such trouble. I always end up writing cross genre stuff, and I’m sure it reduces marketability.
Clarinda, the Smiling Confidant (looking detestably smug) My dear,what you need to do is to read my new book ‘How to Churn ‘Em Out Without Thinking’. It’s got a ten point plan (out Stalin-ing Stalin, you might say). Rule number one is don’t ever venture outside genres; you know what’s outside there. Dangerous marshes and swamps; wild, snapping animals,loneliness, ostracism from Facebook communities…’
Anxious Looking Indie Writer: Clarinda, you are so right. Can I have a copy?
Clarinda: £2.99 from Amazon, dear. You can upload a free sample…
Yes, well, anyway, enough madness. I was pleased to encounter a group called ‘INCA’ which has a different ethos. INCA encourages writers aiming for the innovative and the unusual and I have joined them.
Here’s the link. There’s some fascinating looking reads on there.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Barbara Cartland, author of 700 books (seriously!). Would I imply for a moment that in her later novels, she wrote the same plot over and again? But I was fascinated to learn that when younger, she wrote risqué plays, one of which, ‘Blood Money’ was apparently banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. What was that? It doesn’t seem to do much banning any more…