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When Writing “Paranormal Fiction,” You’d Better Know How to Classify It

If I’m writing a novel manuscript – paranormal fiction or otherwise – you’d better believe I want people to eventually read it. And I imagine the same is true for you.

While there are so many different reasons to write, many of them deeply personal and never meant for anyone else’s eyes, that’s almost never the case with novel manuscript writing.

Novels are meant to be consumed. They’re meant to be bought and shared and borrowed, discussed and devoured by as many people as possible. Gaining fame and fortune might not be the author’s main goal in putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. But it’s typically an expectation nonetheless.

Therefore, if I’m writing a novel manuscript – paranormal fiction or otherwise – I eventually need to know something about marketing. It’s not what I need to be intensely focused on during the writing process. But after I’ve finished the manuscript, gone through multiple drafts, gotten myself a good editor who understands the authorial spirit, and made final revisions…

I need to know how to properly get the word out.

That might seem like a really odd blog post intro for a week devoted to paranormal fiction. But as we discussed on Tuesday and Thursday, this isn’t an easily defined subgenre. And many – maybe even most – readers are attracted to only specific types of fiction.

Which means they’re only going to search for specific types of fiction.

So if I’m writing a novel manuscript along the paranormal lines, I need to categorize it appropriately once it’s self-published. Otherwise, potential readers who find my work might very well be turned off by the cover. Or, if they’re not, they could be turned off by the content, leave me a bad review and/or never buy another book by me again.

And if I strike out on the traditional publishing route, literary agents are probably going to set it aside unless I tell them what to expect.

That’s hardly my goal if I’m writing a novel manuscript of any genre or subgenre. More than likely, it’s not yours either, which is why this week’s Writing Rule exists.

Go with fantasy, horror or paranormal romance.

If you’re looking to be traditionally published or even just get a lot of readers as a self-published author, then you’re best off avoiding the “paranormal” label unless it’s centered around a romantic plot.

If the plot focuses on ghosts and ghoulies slaughtering people, then label it horror. And if it’s about some supernatural main character taking on epic adventures, magical tasks or mythological monsters, then call it fantasy. This one’s not worth bucking the system over.

We already acknowledged with our paranormal fiction Definition that a basic online search will come up with hundreds and hundreds of hits… for paranormal romance. It’s an established subgenre that people look for just as much as contemporary fantasy or epic fantasy. In fact, it might even be more pronounced.

So if I want to get any traction in the publishing world, I have to know my genre. Know my potential readers. And know my marketing options.

If I’m writing a novel manuscript – paranormal fiction or otherwise – that’s the only way to go.

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