On Tuesday night, July 15, VHOB had 3 best-selling authors come for a panel discussion. Sophie Littlefield, Rachael Herron, and Gigi Pandian were terrific. Combined, they have written about 25 novels. It was enormously interesting. Besides learning about how each of them decided to be authors, and how each of them came to be published, we also spent a considerable amount of time talking about genres.
What about genres, you ask? Well, their novels are called women’s fiction or up market fiction. We talked about what that designation does for sales. Obviously, when a man hears that a book is women’s fiction, then there’s a good chance he won’t read it. In fact, all 3 of these authors write books with strong female protagonists. But I can tell you that they’re good reads for anybody. I used to read a bunch of mysteries and thrillers. Since I started my blog 3.5 years ago, and especially since I started booking authors for VHOB, I have read a ton of other genres: Romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, religious, steampunk, paranormal, science fiction, allegories, fantasy, and YA, And here’s the truth – if the book is well-written and connects you to the characters, it doesn’t make any difference what genre you pigeonhole it in. (54% of all published books are romances. Our authors said that it was pretty obvious that publishers are just fine with marketing those books primarily to women.)
Back to the panel discussion. We are very informal in these types of events. I've got a list of questions but typically only get a couple of them asked. The audience can (and does) break in whenever someone's got a question. And we encourage the authors to talk amongst themselves. So they will engage in dia(tri?)logue whenever the mood moves them. In this case, all 3 authors are good friends. This lead to some very interesting tidbits about each of them. We went close to an hour before shutting it down and heading into the signing . We were all done by 8:30. Lots of fun.
Thank you Sophie, Rachael, and Gigi for making the trek all the way down to Los Gatos. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books. And I'm definitely looking forward to further discussions about genres. This seems to be a real hot button issue.