Blurring Genres: The New Age of Publishing
a guest post by Alex Fedyr
Something phenomenal is happening. Sure, a lot of people like to spout the doom and gloom of what self-publishing has brought to the world. But there is one really cool thing that doesn’t get talked about enough: genre-bending.
Back in the day, speculative fiction was divided into fantasy and sci-fi, and never the two shall meet. (Except in really rare circumstances.) You also had western novels, action novels, novel novels, all sorts of neat little boxes for everything to fall into. As humans, we like boxes. They make everything neat and easy to understand.
But some people don’t like boxes. They go up to the soda machine and pour all the different flavors into one glorious cup. What that person is an author, they take all their favorite genres and bake them into one fantastic pot pie of awesome. But back in the day, publishers didn’t like that. They liked their neat little boxes, and if they couldn’t cram your oddly-shaped franken-baby into one or another, then you were out of luck. No published book for you. The keepers of the keys deny your entry and lock the gates.
Enter self-publishing. You don’t like my crazy Picasso meets Van Gogh love child? That’s ok, I know people who will. So I’ll publish it myself and bring my fantastic creation straight to them: my like-minded fans.
This has resulted in a gazillion niche genres, and a flood of in-betweens don’t even fit into the niches. We now have books that are best categorized with a string of categories. Sci-Fi-Fantasy-Romance-Western? That’s a thing. And that’s glorious! It forces our minds to expand beyond the limited ways in which we have always framed the world. In fact, I think it reflects more accurately the way the world actually is. We love to say we are Nigerian, American, Japanese, etc. but these labels do not properly capture anything. Whether some of us want to admit it, we’re all mutts! And we don’t live in a binary of American-Not-American. We live on a spectrum of American-Freshly-Arrived-From-Taiwan-With-Chinese-Grandparents to American-Born-And-Raised-for-Twenty-Generations-With-Australian-Cousins. And now our books read the same way. Sci-Fi with an old-school magic system and a romance that turns into family dispute amidst a war, that’s a thing. (Did anyone guess that that was Star Wars? Ok, so it’s not a new thing, but still!)
I took advantage of this new mindset when I wrote Estranged. I like police procedural action, so I threw it in there. I like the crazy powers of fantasy magic systems, so I threw my own crazy power in there. I like science, so I had scientist try to rationalize the whole mess. And voila, now you have a new town with new people and a drug that is also a power they do not understand. People are killed by handshakes! How crazy is that? Can you imagine living in a world where you’re scared to hug the aunt you haven’t seen in three years? (Ok, we’re all scared to hug our aunts, but that’s beside the point.)
Anyway, if you are a fan of genre benders like I am, I hope you seek them out and let me know what you find. If you can’t find them, I hope you get out there and write them, because dagnabbit, we need more of this madness! [Insert Shameless Plug] And, if you’re new to the field and need somewhere to start reading, I hope you start with Estranged. If you don’t like it, I guarantee that you’ll be able to complain to me about it on Twitter! Or, whatever other social media you want to complain on. Here I’ll make it easy for you:
Facebook: Alex Fedyr
Main Website: alexfedyr.com
Did you notice the pattern there? Yup. You’re welcome.
Ok, that’s enough stepping on your toes for one day. I hope to run into you guys and gals again very soon. And don’t forget to send me those book recommendations!
Estranged is available now at all major retailers. Here’s what it’s about:
Kalei hates touching. Especially if it is a hug. After all, her mother was killed by one.
Kalei was born and raised in Celan, the first city to have an Estranged problem. It was seventeen years ago when they appeared, and the citizens learned the hard truth: that it only takes a bit of skin-on-skin contact to turn their loved ones into corpses, or Estranged. No one really knows why some people turn and some people die, they just know that anyone touched is gone.
And Kalei wants them to stay gone. But, being a police officer in the city, she witnesses every day the damage done by Estranged. Black nails mark these harbingers of death. Seeking the high they get from every piece of skin they touch, the Estranged crush the lives of Celan's citizens with alarming ease.
They killed her mother for a high, and now Kalei wants to wipe them out of existence before they can seek another. But she can't. Only the Wardens are equipped to do so, and she will do anything to be inducted into their ranks.
But will they accept her now that she has turned Estranged?
You can try a free sample from most major websites, including these: