Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tragic Cotton: on genre in the new world of publishing

 When I entered the publishing industry and the stardust dimmed to a shimmer, (it still shimmers, it does), one of the first things that I noticed was the all important GENRE. And really? My novels don't particularly fall into one or another. Which is why they are tagged differently everywhere. Some say they are Historical Fiction (true!), some say Family Saga (True!). Some say Magical Realism (True for one, not for the other....), and some say Romance. (That's another blog post altogether.) Women's Fiction seems to be the over arching genre. And, unlike other authors who I adore, and truly see their point of view, I don't mind that. HOWEVER... ahem... men like my books too! The YA audience as well. Heck, even some 9 year old kids have sent me emails. What genre is that? General fiction doesn't seem to cover it.

The industry is the industry. And I love it. So instead of trying to change the industry? I decided that as a writer I needed to come up with my own genre. Yes. I said it. I am creating my own. Not for booksellers, (think of how many sections they'd need to add if we all did this!) or for publishing houses. For me. So I can always keep tight hold onto the feeling I want to conjure with my novels. All of them!

 Are you ready? Here is my genre: "TRAGIC COTTON"
Now, it doesn't have to make sense to you. It only has to make sense to me, because that is what I'm trying to evoke with my words. Emotion, Loss, Hope, Crisp Writing, Nostalgia, and a damn fine story. Oh, and a secret. Always a secret.

Tag lines are important too. Mine is in my header here, and everywhere on the internet. "I'm a Lost Witch. Are you a Lost Witch too?" I am often asked at author events if I am, in fact, a witch. And the answer is... we all are! And most of us are lost or wandering on the inside or the outside of ourselves. The word "Witch" means nature and instinct. It means seeing ourselves in the world in terms of the world, not ourselves. Do you ever sense anything before it happens? Then you, my friend, are a witch too! (This is also a theme in my novels, all of them, even the ones without magical realism... this idea that we need to reconnect with the things that are important to us.) So, your tag line is your genre too, in a way.

I'll leave you with a short example of what I mean. A poem. I hope you enjoy it and can see the TRAGIC COTTON there!

And if there were a truer shade of blue,
it wouldn't be the me I see inside.
For all the moments that I gave away,
my rage laced sorrow hid and softly lied.
It's only when I look at me through you,
my gypsy soul unhindered in the blue.
And roses bloom under my work worn feet.
My hair falls down my back, not gray at all.



  1. I love this genre. You read my mind. Great post!

  2. Tragic Cotton sounds like something Tori Amos would sing, as well. Maybe we could make that happen and you could have a whole song about your genre.

    1. I LOVE HER. I'm a cornflake girl. No, wait.. reverse that.

  3. Tragic Cotton! Perfect. Makes me think of Places in the Heart with Sally Field...one of my all time favorite movies and a real tragic cotton kind of story. (It even has the cotton.) I am glad you are back here. I've been trying to remember to find you on WordPress, but now you will just pop up on my Google Reader.

    Loved I'LL BE SEEING YOU. Touching, delightful, heart wrenching and real. Congrats again on your wonderful success.

  4. Love the poem! Love lovelove!!! And I want a genre of my own cause I've never figured where I fit.

  5. Great Post! (and Poem too:)) You have me thinking... I need a tag line too. I will have to put some serious thought to that:)
    Have a great day!

    1. It helps me so much! I always know my path....

  6. don't you suspect the only "me" one can see is the reflection from seeing the "you" in someone else? reckon?? :)