Generating Genre

Published April 7, 2012 by rochellewisoff

As I round the bend of wrapping up my “final” edits on my novel with the working title PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME I have questions about genre. From the beginning I’ve considered this work to be historical fiction.
A couple of years ago a NY agent told me, in her rejection, that it was terribly moving and brought her to tears in places. However it was too long and needed too much editing. She threw out the suggestion that I might consider offering it as young adult fiction.
While it’s true my main character, Havah, is 16 at the beginning, the novel spans four years. My plan is for this is the first book of a trilogy. By the end of the series she’s in her mid twenties with a husband and a child.
Since I’m usually stymied by the question, “Who’s your target audience?” I’d really like some feedback on this one.

4 comments on “Generating Genre

  • In this day and age, if you're truly targeting an audience for New York to pay attention, it seems you'd have to either write about vampires and demons, alternative lifestyle couples wanting to have a surrogate baby fathered in a test tube by Bob Dylan, or a doomsday scenerio which involves stockpiling weapons and food in the wilds of the Dakotas. You know I'm joking, but if I was you I'd just write your novel the way you want, and then do the hard work of getting it out there and find an editor who likes it. New York editors come and go, and maybe today there is no one in a major publishing house who likes the sort of book you sent, but in six months there might be. Writing is a profession of persistance. There is a long list of famous books that got dozens and scores of rejections before they were accepted.


  • Hi Rochelle!I am your newest follower! Andy say's "Hi!" I don't have an answer to the qestion, "Who is your target audience?" either. I am always asked that in regard to my online presence and Etsy shop. It's a hard questionfor us online people, and for authors, when we are not a brick and mortar retail business where we SEE our customers everyday. Anyway, you don't want to hear about my online biz. About genre, I agree with the last commenter: It is what it is. But I would say, though not an expert, by the short summary that you gave that it is not YAF. I have read many HF books and series, that began with the heroine being in her late teens. Women love stories about other women regardless of age.


  • Rochelle: First of all, I love the idea. I'd say follow your instincts and go with the trilogy. Stay strong and believe in your characters. You will eventually find the right agent or publisher. If not, self-publish…it's the way to go today, anyhow. Keep us posted re. your decision.


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