1. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    What genre to classify my book as?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Whoopty, Aug 23, 2011.

    Hopefully this is the right forum, apologies if not.

    Initially I would have thought my novel science fiction, since it involves an evolved form of a fungal infection. This could potentially happen, it's plausible, but it's not real. As I understand it this is basically the dictionary definition of sci-fi.

    However, when contacting a couple of agencies to inquire whether they would accept my novel since it wasn't too "science fictiony", they wanted to know whether it was in space or in the future. With novels, is sci-fi quite exclusive to futuristic or alien based work?

    If so, I suppose my novel could be considered a thriller? Here's the psynopsis:

    A team of conservationists from the UK travel to south america to map out and investigate a new rainforest that's been discovered. While there they deal with a human variant of a mind controlling fungal infection.

    Any help is much appreciated.
     
  2. Epic0n
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    Epic0n Member

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    It's definitely sci-fi. If you want publishers to think it's /more/ sci-fi, then add more sci-fi elements.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I'd call it science fiction, but in reality the ultimate publisher will decide, largely for marketing purposes, how to define it.

    The agencies want to know because even there are modern-day thrillers that deal with evolved forms of animals or diseases that suddenly threaten humanity, and these are not generally located in the science fiction section of the book store. I usually see them in general fiction, or if the store has a separate section for thrillers then perhaps there.

    So while yours is science fiction, in my view, just like a futuristic novel with spaceships and aliens might be science fiction, the distinction is probably important to the agency because the end-sales of these types of works are in different categories. So an agency that doesn't normally take on "science fiction' may well take on a "thriller" that involves a lot of science because it deals with an engineered virus getting lose, or some new animal form stemming from some kind of punctuated evolution.

    Does that make sense?
     
  4. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    It does indeed, thank you. So, how am I marketing this?

    "Dear Agency that doesn't take Science Fiction novels, I have a sci-fi novel for you..."

    I suppose I'm going to need to explain it in my initial correspondance? I just don't want to get overlooked because they see the genre and dismiss it, assuming I've not read their submission requirements.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    When you market, you do so with your target audience in mind. If you approach an agency or publisher who takes thrillers and not science fiction, you say you have a thriller and don't even mention the words "science fiction." If you approach one that takes only science fiction, you call it science fiction. That's marketing :)

    Reminds me of a South Park episode with the following exchange:
    It's more about how you word it than the underlying reality.
     
  6. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    Ah I see. A little subterfuge. I'm on board with that. I have a tonne of editing to do before I get to this stage, but I'm just beginning to look into it now.

    Thank you for the pointers, most illuminating.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, as long as it is legitimate. Your work certainly falls within the category of published "thrillers" I've seen, so I'd have no problems calling it that.

    If you had a story that takes place in the year 5500 AD and was full of aliens and spaceships and you sent it in to an agency that didn't accept science fiction, and you simply called it a thriller, you'd accomplish nothing other than to damage your reputation with that agency because they'll know you either didn't read or ignored their guidelines.

    But in your case, the book fits within both the thriller and science fiction categories in my opinion (based on what you've said here) so you are really being deceptive, you're just using wording that the agency wants to see as part of your legitimate description of your work :)
     
  8. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    Can I still feel like I'm being sneaky and getting one over on the man? :D

    But I hear ya. In reality, there's not actually that much of the fungus threat in it. Like any good zombie (sort of what the infected are like I suppose, though I'm loathe to use that term to avoid stereotyping) story, I think it's more about how the people deal with it. They're more of a catalyst than the focal point, though it's the hook that will hopefully get and keep people reading.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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  10. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    I would say there is more tension than horror. But I've been writing this for a couple years so as I'm editing I'm reading some stuff I wrote a long time ago. There may be some horror elements in there that I'm not remembering.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A synopsis is not really sufficient to make that decision. To make an informed decision we would have to consider the full text. It could be science fiction, it could be horror, it could be a medical drama, it could be suspense, or it could be humor.

    It may also fit in more than one genre.
     
  12. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    I see your ploy sir. Tempting me into posting the entire thing at which point you go "aha, you are now self published." I'm on to you. :p
     
  13. Shifty
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    Shifty Member

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    Sounds like a Sci-fi, with a twist of comedy?

    I just have one question that peaked my interest. Newly discovered rainforest in south America? Im interested to know more about this, no diss. Just interested in finding out how you wrote this in. Isnt the continent allready mostly rainforest? Where did the Amazon go? Oh and i loved the idea of an evolved form of fungal infection, brilliant.
    Guess i'll have to read it and find out. Good luck getting published. Whats it called?
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not a chance! :p

    I always encourage members to consider the entire work, mot a summary, and also to use their own imaginations to the greatest posible degree.
     
  15. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    No comedy really, unless the characters themselves are funny.

    Well the rainforest in my novel is within an enclosed section of the Andes, so it's seperated from the main Amazon rainforest. This is what leads it to have its own developed fungal enemies :).

    It's actually based on a real fungus. Check out Zombie Ants from the planet earth series.
     
  16. Shifty
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    Shifty Member

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    I heard of those Zombie ants. This sounds like something i'd like to read.
     
  17. Whoopty
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    Whoopty New Member

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    Buy a copy now and it all goes towards the writing fund :p. It's my new Minecraft development module.
     
  18. Fantasyphanatic
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    When I began reading the description of your book that you provided I immediately thought of it as Science Fiction.
     
  19. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    When you classify a book into genre I think you have to consider the reader first. Ask yourself who you think will want to read the book and why. If the full extent of the sci fi element is that its a deadly fungis previously unknown, then that would seem minor, and most sci fi people would be wanting more. If on the other hand this fungis is something more, mind controlling I think you said, then it fits better into the sci fi genre. The thriller people are going to be happy as long as there's a suspensful undertone and a bit of mystery, at least in my humble opinion, which it sounds like it has in spades, so I don't see why you can't market it as that regardless.

    In any case I don't see why you can't class it as a sci fi thriller, and try to appeal to both groups. After all I just watched The Event on dvd (lord do I need some sleep!) and it was marketed as a sci fi thriller, and lived up to that billing.

    Cheers.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me it sounds like it's technically science fiction, but if it's more or less present day and more or less the real world, without major preexisting societal changes resulting from the science fiction aspect, then I'd probably class it as a thriller. Not that I have the least bit of expertise for classing anything as anything. :)
     

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