To be honest, I've never really understood what genre I write. I go with my gut, write what makes me happy, and hope for the best. Apparently this isn't the best way to connect with a wide pool of readers. And I get it - if I'm reading a rom-com and the hero dies at the end ... BETRAYAL. I'm going to be seriously mad at the author, probably for the rest of my life. You just don't do that sort of thing.
I'm not writing suspense at the moment. There is so much yuck going on around us, that to spend countless hours getting into 'bad-guy' mode just doesn't do it for me. I want to write feelgood, light-hearted, yet deeply moving and meaningful books, and I think I do.
So began my great genre hunt. Romance? Yeah, I write romance. There's always a bit a chemistry and feels. Lots of feels. That's romance, right?
Apparently it's not that simple. The romance crowd took one look at my original covers and said ... nope, not romance. You see to be a true romance novel, the entire spine of the story has to be the guy/girl relationship. If you take the romance out, the book ceases to exist.
My books? Man, there is a truckload of other stuff going on that isn't romance. I could probably take the romance out, fudge a few things and my books would still be worth reading.
Back to the drawing board. My books have chemistry, all the feels AND... lots of laughs. Not anything that will eject you from your chair and plaster you to the floor laughing, but a generous sprinkling of funny. So... ROM-COM! TA-DA!
I hooked up with the rom-com crowd, elbowed my way in to conversations, redesigned my book covers and waited for millions of adoring readers to discover the hidden treasure of my books.
I'm a bit embarrassed to show you those covers. Honestly. Some things are better buried and left to quietly die by themselves. My attempt at rom-com covers fits right in there.
By this time, my tiny world was falling off the edges. Who am I? What do I write? Is that spoon edible? *sigh* I did the scary thing and got into a serious conversation with a fabulous group on FB that I've been (mostly) a lurker in. These ladies are super sharp and they helped me carve through all the fog around my thinking.
Does my main character/s overcome some serious issues / a challenging past? YES.
Do the books tackle hard subjects ... with a light touch - YES.
Is there a strong faith element (as opposed to the book being just 'clean')? YES.
Is the writing vaguely funny? Subjective, but mostly YES.
So where does that leave me and my books? Humorous Christian Women's Fiction. HA!
But my List Book series covers still needed some help, so I've been experimenting and keeping an eye on things and I've come full circle. I'm back to my original cover but with some adaptations. With that, I give you - the full evolution.
Disclaimer: I know for every hundred people reading this blog, there will be a hundred different opinions and not all of you will agree with my final choice. I know I should ask you for your opinions and listen and adapt. After all, you guys are the reason I write, your opinion matters to me. But this week of insecurity knocked the stuffing out of me and I'm still recovering. So for now I'm going with my gut, and here it is...
Stage 1 - I loved both of these, but the series tie-in wasn't strong and they feel a teensy bit dated.
Stage 2 - My brief, yet embarrassing attempt to fit into the rom-com genre with the List Book series:
Stage 3 - Trying out a different feel - I LOVE these covers, but they don't really say 'series' and they aren't as applicable to the stories as the original image.
Stage 4 - My latest. My heart is happy. They may, or may not fly, but they hang together nicely and I like them. (Book 2 still needs a few tweaks - drop shadows, glow etc.)
As much as I say I don't want to hear your opinions this time, I actually do. Comment / critique ... go right ahead.
Thank you for journeying with me. I love you guys!