Tuesday

Never Judge a Book by its Genre

By Anthony S. Policastro

My newest book, Dark End of the Spectrum has received several reviews and they have caused me to nearly fall off my chair when I heard them.

When I finished writing the mystery/thriller, I thought it would appeal mainly to computer geeks, readers interested in technology, and people who knew their way around the Internet.

Not only does it appeal to these audiences, it also appeals to women who are not so computer savvy, women who don’t really care about technology, but simply enjoy the story.

Here's what Sheila Deeth of Oregon said about it on Amazon:
"But the novel isn't just about technology gone wild. Dan has a wife and child and a home life too, and the up-down relationship of a marriage strained by work grounds the tale very realistically. The author writes convincing dialog, and Amelia's sudden anger as Dan leaves to help the CIA saddened me because of its plausibility."
What is even more interesting is that she obtained the ebook version first and read it on her computer. Here is her comment on that:
"Descriptive details and discussions slowed the story down at times, but not enough to distract me from reading on. I stayed hunched over the computer late at night, wishing I had a paperback to carry to bed, but unable to stop reading. This is certainly a thrilling book for anyone who likes technology, conspiracy, action and disaster; one to read when you've plenty of time to spare because you'll not want to put it down."
Several others who are currently reading Dark End of the Spectrum have said the same thing - "It's a page turner and I can't put it down."

I'm lost for words.

Why? Because I didn't expect those reactions. Because I first billed the book as a high-tech thriller. At first, there didn't seem to be much interest. I changed the description to suspense/thriller and there was a bit more interest. When I changed it to mystery/thriller lots of interest.

The family elements in the story - the real struggles with marriage, raising a family, making a living, and just trying to enjoy life - have broadened the book's appeal to a wider audience, primarily women who are not into technology.
What can you learn from this as a writer? Be very careful how you describe your book and the genre you choose for it. Genres tend to pigeon-hole the book into a specific audience and even turn away audiences who may find it interesting enough to buy.

Always include a family element. After all, everyone has a family whether they are blood relatives, cherished friends or a special group.

Never judge a book by its genre. Judge it by its content, the story, and whether you would truly want to read it. Be a cross-genre reader. You will be surprised how it will make you a better writer.
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