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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Soul to Steal Now Topping the Fantasy Charts: The Benefits of Genre Hopping

I’ve written before about the difficulty of deciding what genre A Soul to Steal belongs in. It’s a mystery that turns into a thriller that then turns into an urban fantasy. Along the way, it contains elements of action adventure and romance to boot.
            For the most part, readers have been excited about the blend of genres, although I’ve also made a few angry in the process. Why? Some were excited about the mystery part of the book but didn’t enjoy it when supernatural elements entered into the plot line. This is a legitimate complaint as far as I’m concerned. If you don’t like the supernatural, the book probably isn’t for you.  
I thought putting the Headless Horseman on the cover was a sign that paranormal elements were included—and I’ve made sure to mention those parts of the book in the description on Amazon—but clearly some didn’t get the message.
            But there are also benefits to genre hopping as well. I originally slotted the novel into Horror/Ghost and Horror/Occult, although I never really felt comfortable about the latter as a category. When I re-launched the book with a new cover in February, I also decided to take it out of Occult and move it to Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. As I detailed here, Amazon doesn’t make it easy to find Horror books in less you specifically go looking for them. Mystery and Thriller, in contrast, is the easiest genre to find.
            But after some of the issues raised in reviews, I started to wonder if Suspense was the best space for the book. Yes, it’s a mystery and a thriller, but it’s also what’s defined as “urban fantasy,” mostly because of the paranormal parts of the novel (which become more significant as the book nears its climax).
            At this stage, I’m also worrying about the two sequels to A Soul to Steal. The second book in The Sanheim Chronicles is in its draft stage—and it fits much easier into urban fantasy than it does mystery. I think fans of the first book will definitely enjoy it—but I also would like all the novels in the series to be sitting in the same place.
            So I decided to try something new during my latest free day promotion on Amazon. I took the novel out of Suspense and moved it to Contemporary Fantasy, hoping to find fans that might not have seen it when it was slotted elsewhere.
            I’m happy to say that so far, at least, it’s paying off. Currently, the book is #1 among FREE fantasy books on Amazon. It’s also #1 in Contemporary Fantasy (Amazon’s description for urban fantasy). I admit it is a thrill to see the novel alongside George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.
            I don’t know, of course, what the result of this experiment will be. Will readers be angry to find a mystery in their urban fantasy novel? I hope not, but you never really know.  But seeing other books in the category, it’s feeling like A Soul to Steal may finally have found its perfect spot.
            Want to find out yourself? The novel is FREE today, May 17, so feel free to download it. If you missed out and are reading this post later, never fear – the novel only costs $2.99, so it’s cheaper than a trip to Starbucks. 

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