Does your book need to fit into a defined genre to succeed?
I’m throwing this out as a question, as I’m not sure of the answer yet myself. As all those who’ve published on Amazon or Smashwords or Apple ibooks will tell you, the category in which your book is placed is central to whether or not your target readership will be able to discover it. So, it’s very important to get it right. Having said that, it is possible to switch genres at any time, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on your sales to see if your book is shelved in the correct place.
My novels are mystery thrillers, but like all decent pieces of fiction, there is plenty other stuff going on in them too, like History, psychology, family drama and the odd dash of romance. My first novel, Aoife’s Chariot, does very well in the Scottish fiction section and is regularly in the top 100 kindle bestsellers for this category. My second and third books do very well in Cozy Mysteries, which I only discovered as a sub-category after I had been published for several months. By taking a look at the top-sellers within that genre and reading the blurbs, I definitely decided that my books should be there too.
It takes time to find out where your writing fits. As authors we are all unique, but to sell and market our work, it first needs to be slotted into its own corner of the metaphorical bookshop (or the real bookshop for that matter).
Fresh genres and Sub-genres are emerging all the time, so keep checking that there isn’t a new key word on the ebook scene that fits your novel which you’ve not yet cottoned on to. Which leads me back to the original question, does our book need to fit into a neat category in order to sell well. Actually, I think the answer is no. In a sense, online retail is in the process of re-writing the rule book on this, so as long as you can utilize the tags and keywords effectively, so that readers know what they’re getting, your book can be about whatever you want it to be.