Being an author of historical fiction, I often breathe a sigh of relief when other authors must decide on the genre of a given piece.
For my non(professional)-writer readers, you would be absolutely astounded at how difficult this can be. For one, category and genre are often confused - "YA" (young adult) is not a genre, but it often manages to pass for one, right or not. For two, where does one draw the line between historical and time travel, when sci-fi is not the point nor even much featured in a story? Or between dystopian and science fiction? Literary and coming-of-age, women's fiction or commercial ... the difficulties are confounding, and I am frequently relieved my own work sits pretty clearly in its place.
Today, though ... I have issues! But it's kind of fun.
In contemplating submitting a first page for my upcoming conference, I'm looking pretty hard at a certain ghost story I've been toying with for a couple of years almost.
Is "ghost story" an acceptable genre choice? Should it be sci-fi (though there is no science whatever, only fiction)? It has a sensual strain running through it, but it is NOT erotica by a long shot. There is romantic tension, but no way is this thing a romance - to me, it actually is, but in marketing terms, what I've written would not be understandably shelved with what publishing calls "romance".
I'm looking at one of my Reider pals in particular and a certain deliciously intemperate friend of mine, who have read the thing themselves, but would love feedback from anyone.
Where should I "shelve" an eerie and slow-building ghost story in the vein of Chinese fox legends?
What genre would you suggest?