The Worry Monster

It took a while, but the second Candy’s Monster is out in the universe — AKA available on Amazon. Now, I’m facing the “Worry Monster.” What am I worried about? Everything!

I’m worried because once again I’ve written something that falls between genres. It’s not a paranormal romance or horror, but what is it? There are comedic elements, but it’s not straight out comedy. It has aspects of psychological suspense, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a suspense novella. There’s definitely a shaggy dog component — two, if you count the shaggy dog in the story.

The protagonist’s internal monologue skirts around some profound philosophical questions, but believe me — this is NOT a deep contemplation on the nature of life. Nothing that includes Jerry Springer, The New York Daily News and bad made-for-TV movies is completely serious. This is not to say there aren’t some pretty serious moments in the story and some ideas worth talking about.

So what kind of book is this? Help me figure this out. The “Worry Monster” looms, asking that question, each time I post on Facebook or tweet about it. Is it an UN-romance?

The first two reviews are wonderful — better than wonderful, but they haven’t put that MONSTER to rest. One reviewer focused on the lighter side and the other on the dark. I’m very happy about both of them and I’m trying to convince myself that the disparity is actually good. Intellectually I know it’s good, but…. Just like my book, I’m not fitting into any particular box.

The “Worry Monster” is a beast. She’s parked herself on my shoulder while I write. I don’t know how many reviews I’ll need to quiet her. Right now, I’m telling her to pipe down and let me work on the next MONSTER. In the end it doesn’t matter what kind of book I’ve written, only that it’s done and out there and I hope people will enjoy it…


  1. Your genre is simply romance, there is no question about that. What I believe is happening is that you’ve confused this with the sub-genres your book is in. I’m in the process of finally, at long last, finishing my romance novel and to pinpoint the genre of my book, I have to take it down one more notch. I had originally planned it to be a YA [Young Adult] romance, which is one of its subgenres. However given certain aspects of the story, essentially the characters, the book is fast becoming a MG [mid-grade chapter book]. This point is not important since the story in my book is a sub-genre of YA.
    My book’s story is a PARANORMAL romance since it involves a ghost. My book’s story is also a TIME TRAVEL romance since part of the story involves going back in time. And to add to the confusion, similar to what you’re experiencing, my book’s story is also a FIRST KISS romance, because is yet another element of the story.
    It’s common to see stories which are a combination of more than one sub-genre. There are romance stories which are erotica, something I’m not into, which have paranormal elements in it, making it a erotica paranormal romance. You can have regencies which might also have a paranormal element to it.
    As you can see, you’re quite okay where you are with your book; and having elements of multiple romance sub-genres in it, can only lead to a larger potential reader base who might decide to buy your book.
    Hope this clarifies the “non-issue” you seem to be experiencing.

    • Candy

      I’m glad that you’re confident it’s a romance novella!

      You may be right about me getting distracted by the sub-genres. It is all very confusing. But is my book really a romance? It’s not about her falling in love, or in lust, so much as finding herself again after a romantic disaster. Umm…

      I’m back in the worry wilderness. I may be a hopeless case.

      Thank you for trying. I’m going to reread your analysis of the question when I get back from the gym. I always think better post-workout. I like the idea of this being a NON-ISSUE!

      • I’ve been quite busy for the past few days and I’ve set a personal for this coming weekend to type that elusive final period for my novel. I curious have you had time to re-read my analysis of your post.

        Curiosity killed the cat …
        …Satisfaction brought it back.

        :- D

        • Candy

          Yes I have and I’ve begun to post on twitter that Bram is an un-#romance. I’ve spoken to a lot of romance and other genre readers since your very helpful and insightful input. It’s in the romance category, but true romance readers won’t get what they’re expecting if I market it as pure romance. Good readers, open readers, readers willing to follow a writer down a rabbit hole would include it in Romance and other genres too, i.e. Chick Lit, comedy, romantic comedy…. The reality is that some people want the label to be precise, and exactly what they already read, and others are more likely to take a chance.

          Looking forward to reading your book when it’s completed and out in the universe!

  2. I was going to say ‘who cares?’ what genre or sub-genre or sub-sub-genre a story is so long as it’s a /good/ story. But then I remembered Amazon and the importance of those categories. 🙁 Personally I like ‘un-romance with a vampire twist’ but I don’t think there are any categories for that.

    Is it possible to try it in a few different categories to see which one works the best?

    • Candy

      And it’s not just Amazon that wants clear delineations. Some readers only read paranormal romances or only read thrillers or only read thrillers/mysteries/suspense or only read horror….

      I never thought adding humor could be a problem until I entered into a “branding” discussion on a LinkedIn writers group. One of the other writers said I was too confusing and that my association of Candy’s Monsters with classic horror could not mix with anything funny. Hitchcock always mixed a dash of humor into his films, but…

      Back to the in-between genre dilemma, I’m promoting Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet with a mix of approaches and hoping that readers will find what they like in it.

      • Writing books that aren’t fitted with a nice, tight straightjacket is a good thing but marketing them does present a problem.

        I guess you have to ask yourself who is most likely to read and enjoy your stories. Is it going to be one of the many vampire-loving, thrill seeking romance readers who devour Twilight? Or is it going to be a smaller readership who want something more classical in flavour?

        I suspect your title has already lost most of the Twilight crowd because they won’t know who Bram Stoker is or was and so won’t get the subtle reference to Dracula. I may be wrong but I think you have to pitch to the classical crowd, even though it’s a far smaller market niche.

        • Candy

          You are probably right. The Mary Shelley Game had a more literary bent than the usual Monster story. This one has a less romantic slant than the usual vampire romance novel. Maybe the literary reader is the key market — the subset who can suspend disbelief and follow the character down the road she choses to travel, even if it’s not the road they would take.

          This is definitely not for the Twighlight reader, but… maybe it’s the right book when she grows up a bit?

          • Most definitely Candy! The wonderful thing about ebooks is that they literally last forever so todays Twilight fans will want that bit ‘more’ tomorrow.

            Even ‘today’ I believe the humanity of the Sublet will resonate with a great many readers no matter what genre they think they like.

            Since discovering ebooks about 6 months ago the thing that has surprised me the most has been how /few/ science fiction novels I have read… and sci-fi is supposed to be the genre that I like best.

            The bottom line is that a good story and good writing transcend those pesky barriers all the time.

          • Candy

            Like you, I’ve been reading a wider mix of genres since I got my Kindle. Very interesting how that’s played out.

            I’m so glad that you think Bram will be well received outside a narrow genre readership! Good stories do trump all obstacles.

  3. Just letting you know I have begun, and am looking forward to devouring the text. Things are busy (the good kind!) but I imagine I’ll need a break now and then.


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