Monday, August 27, 2012

The Rise of New Genres

I remember sitting in a workshop at writer’s conference a few years ago when one of the attendees asked the visiting editor from New York why publishers didn’t print books featuring college-aged characters (18-25). The editor replied that there wasn’t a market for them and likely never would be. She suggested the writer change the age of her characters and rewrite the story as necessary.

If I have learned one thing about the publishing industry, it is this: everything changes. What is wallowing in the deep, dark, off-the-radar abyss today could be hot-trotting all over the best-selling lists tomorrow. And despite our desire to appease and allure book editors in NYC with what they say they want, these peeps don’t know everything. And it’s likely that a writer who has done his/her homework and has written a book that been begging to be written might know a bit more. Which is why I loved meeting Angela Corbett, author of Eternal Starling, at a book fair last winter.

Angela, along with many other authors, writes in the New Adult genre—that one that was deemed unmarketable and unpublishable by that NYC editor five years ago. It's a genre that's hopping now -- both in print and on the screen. Basically, it's all over the media.
And that’s not all.

What tickles my toes even more is discovering another new genre. One that my own book, The Ghost in Me, fits into: Spirit Travel. (Who would have thought I could be included among the hip and the smart? Not me.)

The Spirit Travel genre was coined by author Mimi Barbour, who has written many titles including We’re One, He's Her, and She's Me. As the title of these books indicate, the Spirit Travel genre can be loosely described as alluding to situations in which two spirits exist in one body.

While this genre is encompassed under the Paranormal umbrella, the umbrella is getting a bit crowded with ghosts and zombies, vampires and werewolves, and angels among other things, that are running wild all over the shelves. Thus, it's nice to have a sub-genre that beautifully and succinctly alludes to specific plot elements.  

Indeed, Mimi and I are not alone in the Spirit Travel genre and can give a wave toward many other writers, including Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound) and Stacey Kade (Body & Soul).

What should you say next time when you hear something will never happen?

Never say never.


  1. Love your post, Shaunda. And what you say is so true. The furture is an unwritten page for the authors of today. What was restricted, even shoved aside years ago can be tomorrow's next best seller or newest genre.

  2. Gee I posted a comment yesterday and it never showed up....just wanted to thank Shaunda for her wonderful post. It's exciting being a part of something new!!!

  3. Sorry, Mimi! I didn't see the comment until today. They must have been sidelined just like me, only lost in the netherlands of the internet, instead of the netherlands of surgery ordeals. T'was for my daughter. All will be well. Thank you for writing wonderful books, and for sharing a passion for the unlimited potentials of our spirit.

  4. This is so true! New adult is happening especially in the contemporary circuit. Big Six's like Simon and Schuster are picking up self-pubs like Jamie McGuire, Abbi Glines, Tina Reber, and SC Stephens. These books are selling like hotcakes these days and NY is finally starting to listen. That's why my writer friends and myself started NA Alley, which I see you referred to in your post and thanks for that! It's such an exciting time for NA! :D