What is Paranormal Romance – Fantasy Romance – Urban Fantasy? Or, let’s name that genre!

I have been having a problem trying to put my own writing into one of these categories and I think I probably can’t be the only one having that problem.  You are told from the get that you need to be able to state what your genre is.  This is important for a number of reasons whether you go traditional or if you are self-published.  If you go traditional you need to be able to pitch your work to an editor or agent and they need to be able to envision where in the bookstore your work will go and how to market it.  If you are self-published you are your own marketing team and you need to be able to tag your book so that people who like certain genres will be able to find it.

So, I am back to my problem, which is also maybe your problem.  The three genres I have named above all seem to fit my current work in progress to a degree. 

Why is it a paranormal romance?  My novel hosts a cast of characters, most of which are not human and who have powers that humans don’t have.  There are the winged fae, dwarfs, selkies, trolls, and a host of other beasties who inhabit my world.  It also has a strong romantic sub-plot which focuses on the relationship of a fae named Valora with two different men. 

Why is it a fantasy romance?  The majority of my story (beginning and end) takes place in a world I made up.

Why is it an urban fantasy?  The middle of the story takes place in Seattle.  Valora must journey here to answer the question about what is causing her world’s destruction.  She then undergoes a quest with her “scooby gang” to find the answer to this question.

I tend to lean towards the paranormal romance term just because it is less specific.  But then again, being more specific might garner my upcoming release more attention then being plopped into a genre which has a wide range of stories that evolve from it.  In a bookstore my book would likely end up in the fantasy or romance section.  I tend to see paranormal romances in both sections when I go to the bookstore, unless you go to Powells in Portland, Oregon where their breakdown of sub-genres is pure genius.

I just checked on Amazon to see what their bestsellers were in these categories.  Number one in paranormal romance was City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.  Number one in fantasy romance was Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright. Number one in urban fantasy was Tricked by Kevin Hearne, and that book just came out today. 

What are your thoughts?  As a reader where would you expect to find my novel?  I follow another blog by author Ellie Heller who seems to be having the same struggle as me with this question.  Check out her thoughts.

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