Recently, I had a discussion with a few writers about how to classify a particular manuscript. Was it a romantic suspense, suspense with romantic elements, or romance with some suspense? This is tricky because romantic suspense is a genre with a wide variety of stories. There are those that begin with a killing; some that start light and fluffy, but are interrupted with some sort of suspense; others that show a little humor mixed in with the suspense; and the list goes on. This particular classification really depends on the publisher. I’ve read romantic suspense novels that were at least 60% romance and 40% suspense (or less), but they were still considered r/s in the publisher’s mind. Sometimes, the scale is tipped even further. Certain publishers call a book a romantic suspense, when their competition has similar books out as romance with elements of suspense.
Considering all this, the author of the story was stressed. She didn’t know under what genre she should place her novel. After reading agent Jessica Faust’s post today, I think we can all rest a little easier. She says it doesn’t matter so much under which genre you put your story because that’s not what’s going to get it accepted or rejected. Agents simply like to know what your vision is for the book. If you said your story was a cozy mystery, but the agent felt it was better classified as a general mystery, she’d just re-categorize it. So, relax. Write the story, call it what you believe it to be, and let the experts go from there.
Have you been stressing over the classification of your book? What do you use as a guide when choosing the right genre for your manuscript?