I am currently plugging away trying to write my third novel. When I first started out I didn’t really care about categories of writing, I was just writing what I wanted to write. Now, it seems everything is category driven (from blogs to book stores) and you have to be aware of what “market” you are writing for. I used to think in terms of readers, now you have to think in terms of demographics. I find this depressing and I wonder how it is going to effect my work. Do I abandon the novel I’m writing because I’m not sure it will fit into any particular market? Do I go off and write a crime novel because, at least, the booksellers will be able to put it into that much more popular area (than that avoided area “literature”)? And just what is “popular” literature?
I never thought THE QUAKERS was “literary” but, then, one of the first questions a radio interviewer asked me was whether I thought the front cover made it look like a Young Adult novel? I’ve had 60 year olds tell me that they loved the book, as well as 14 year olds. Why does everything have to be so vigorously labelled? Is it because we don’t have enough time to spend on finding what we want to read? (But what are we doing that is so much more important – renovating our houses??) And when has reading a book that didn’t turn out to be exactly what you thought it was going to be done anyone any harm?