The first book in this series, The Demons We Cherish, was originally envisioned as an Urban Fantasy with a bit of mystery. Somehow, during the critique and editing process the mystery part took over and the story was labeled a “cozy paranormal mystery.” And because this was my first published book and I wasn’t feeling all that confident, I went along with this classification.
The problem is I don’t like cozy mysteries. Oh, I’ve read a couple that were fun and entertaining, but most of them just fall flat for me. That’s not to say I think there’s anything wrong with the genre or the people who read them. I am not saying that at all. I’m just saying that I personally don’t care for them.
Plus, a series of murder mysteries set in my urban fantasy world is NOT what I had in mind. A series of magical adventures with a touch of romance and an occasional dead body set in a modern fantasy world is what I intended.
And, as of today, that is what I’m going to write. Which means I have a lot of rewriting to do on my unfinished first draft of Book 2 titled Prodigal Secrets. It will also mean I need to do a little tweaking on Demons, but, oh well. It’s all okay because I know it won’t take that long now that I will be writing what I wanted to write in the first place and not what someone else said I should write.
That’s really the lesson here. If you’re going to write, write your story, not somebody else’s idea of what your story is or should be. And when it comes to publishing, don’t let your book be pigeon-holed into a genre/category you never intended to write for. If necessary make changes to the manuscript that make make it crystal clear where the book should be placed.
Whatever it takes, be true to your own vision.
The funny thing is, my husband, who isn’t much of a reader anymore and who knows nothing about writing and publishing was the only one who said “It’s not really a mystery, is it?”
Why then did my writing friends and my editor claim that it is? Because the book begins with the deaths of the protagonists grandparents. And yes, they were murdered.
However, what my friends and editor failed to take into account is that in Demons you know who killed the grandparents early on in the story. In a true mystery you don’t know who the killer is until the end. Knowing this about the genre and purposely writing the story the way that I did would, I had hoped, change their minds, but it didn’t. So, now I’m left with the work of fixing my mistake. And caving in to their insistence that Demons was a cozy mystery was my mistake.
Be true to your vision. If your don’t readers see it, then rewrite until they do.