New Lucrative Genre of Fiction

A while ago, “experts” predicted that novels set at the school gates were about to become the next big thing. The main idea behind these novels is that women meet at the school gates, get coerced onto committees (or bully others onto committees.) And everyone worries about what everyone else thinks of them. The launch of Hive by Gill Hornby set the success of the genre in stone. (Or so the experts thought.)

Yes, in case you are wondering, Hornby’s brother is the novelist Nick Hornby.  And yes, she is married to Robert Harris. But we’ll assume that had nothing to do with her getting a six-figure book deal, and that we all can do the same with our school-gate novels.

School_Gates_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_1072223I had a flick through the pages of Hive with Amazon’s Look Inside feature, and she can write. That’s not too surprising, even if you ignore the brother and husband, because she used to be a columnist on the UK Daily Telegraph. I didn’t rushoff out to buy the book, because from what I read it’s a bit too frothy for my taste.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about genre over the past few days, ever since I spent hours poring over The Indie Viewer, a website that lists bloggers who review independently published books. The reason I was reading this website was because I’m becoming more and more aware that to sell copious novels (or copious books of any kind) you need to get reviews, and these reviews need to be all over the web, not just on Amazon, Smashwords and the like. After all, if someone has got as far as finding your book on Amazon they can do what I did with Gill Hornby’s book and take a look inside to see if they might like it. We need reviews to get readers to even get to Amazon or Smashwords in the first place.

So, there I was, hunting through website after website, trying to find reviewers who I thought might like my novel, and though I have found a few I’ll send it to, I also learned a huge lot about what genres are favoured by popular reviewers right now. It stands to reason that if these genres are favoured by reviewers with large followings, they are also favoured by large numbers of followers.

And here’s what I concluded. Whatever the press might say about the rise of school-gate novels, judging from the reading lists of the reviewers I checked out, the vampire novel is still alive and well. Okay it’s actually dead and well, since we’re talking vampires.

I also have it on good authority that certain rubbishy detective novels sell well, and so does erotica. (By rubbishy detective novels I don’t mean books in which detectives root around in the garbage for clues to the latest murder, but detective novels of which I couldn’t get past the first page of the Look Inside because they were so badly written and cliché-laden. By erotica I mean – well you know what I mean.)

I had a discussion about this with some friends on Facebook and decided that if I want to make millions my next book should be a vampire detective novel that also contains some erotica. I would probably help if the protagonist is a cat, since books about cats sell well. So I figured, this this new genre would be the eroticatectivampire novel.

I’m thinking it will open something like this:

In the dead of night, Frisky crept close to the open window, his throbbing felinehood  quivering with excitement. He was on the trail of a murderer, and where better to look for clues than in the garbage cans that were strewn across the patio in an apparently haphazard way.  With a swift glance at the contents of the fallen cans, he soon worked that their arrangement was no accident. This was the work of Fangador, the vicious vampirecat.

But wait! My friend Marcy, who writes at HubPages and can tell you the Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Parent (it’s funny so do go look)  suggested we also add a romance element into this genre. Okay, Marcy, we’ll do that, and since we’ve now got the school-gate genre to fit it, it becomes the scgateromeroticatectivampire fiction. (Yes, everything is in there.)

So now we have:

Sheathed in a heavy black cloak, Frisky slunk silently up the school gates, checking out the beautiful Mammas as they waved goodbye to their darlings and wiped runny mascara from their velvety cheeks. He hung back as the mothers linked arms and left, till only one solitary figure lingered in the schoolyard. Her beautiful green eyes glistened in the early morning sunshine. She looked up and saw him hiding in the shadows. As she came towards him, his heart beat fast.

caped figure

Or if school-gate fiction is truly about to become the biggest trend since wizards then I’m thinking about re-marketing  Drawings In Sand to sneak in the back door (or should that be through the back gate?) It’s almost there already: Stella is a teacher after all, and she’s a mother who worries about what other mothers think. There’s even a whole chapter devoted to a meeting with other mothers, where everyone worries about what everyone else thinks of them. Here’s a snippet:

“So how are you?” Karen asked, in a voice that sounded interested. It was difficult to tell because Stella couldn’t see her face, and was trying to stop Kirsty pulling at the elasticated waistband of her trousers. Everyone else was in neatly pressed jeans or chinos except for a woman in a drill skirt and white blouse who was running after a toddler. It wasn’t a meeting of the Townswomen’s Guild, but it wasn’t the local hippies meet painters-and-decorators for an impromptu yoga class either, which was what Stella looked like in her paisley patterned trousers and paint splattered orange top. She had meant to change, but in her rush she forgot.

So, what do you think?

Could it be the eroticatectivampire novel that makes my fortune?

Or will it be the scgateromeroticatectivampire or almost-school-gate fiction that does it?

And finally, do add your opening paragraphs for any of these genres to the comments!

School gate photo by Jan Baker [CC-BY-SA-2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Matilda wiped the smile off her face but kept her perfectly made up mouth like Marylin Monroe’s. She’d noticed Kim slide in through the back door in her new Manolo Blahniks. She’d watched Kim in the mirror slitting her chihuahua’s throat. Matilda crushed the scream in her throat as she watched Kim tip the still writhing creature over the sink, watch the mess of red spill over the cup cakes she’d brought with her just half an hour ago, then bleed over the crystal loving cups. But she let out a scream when she saw Kim’s face.

    1. Wowee, GoodLady, I love it! You’ve got the violence and glamour. Only now I’m going to have to find a way to fit chihuahua into the genre. scgateromeroticatectivampireinjahuahua?

  2. yes …. it needs to end with huahua for sure. Make sure the villain cat twirls the end of his whiskers just like the evil snidely whiplash!

    1. Ha ha, Cindy, I like that image of the villain cat twirling his whiskers. Thanks for reading and for the suggestion. I must pop over to your blog again soon because I need some more herb info!

  3. This was heart-lightening, Melovy. Inspirational. Thanks. I would love to be able to write in this genre, and this is DEF inspirational .

  4. Have just been reviewing a book about finding Abraham Lincoln’s ghost in a school! I think that it is set to get there. Good idea for YA writers!

    1. Michelle, that sounds like a cool book. I’ll pop over to your blog to read about it soon (once I’ve collected my herbs from Cindy’s.) Thanks for popping by!

  5. This is sooo helpful. I just love your posts and they’re so full of useful information. Have a wonderful day, Yvonne! 🙂

    1. Oh, Cyndi, thanks. I really was going for “fun,” but if this is useful too that’s great. Thanks so much for your sweet comment.

  6. OMG I neither awake enough or smart enough to come up with something as amazingly witty and intriguing as vampire cat! On a (perhaps) sadder note, how awful is that that those of us who write have to actively search for a topic that will actually sell? That, right there, is the number one reason that I have six (seven?) unfinished novels and memoirs gathering cyber and brain dust in my hard drive. I love your ideas and promise to review and buy whichever one you finish first!

    1. Oh wow, Kristi: six unfinished novels! You’ve got to finish one of them, at least. I once met a woman who had written 17 novels and never tried to get any of them published. She was in her 60s or 70s when I met her in 1996, and I’ve never seen a published novel from her, so I guess she never did get published. Her writing was good too, and funny.

      I actually read a really encouraging blog post yesterday by a guy who had written several sci-fi books and had an agent, but then after witnessing a friend’s death he totally changed direction, wrote a literary novel, the agent dumped him, so he self-published on Amazon and after a slow start the novel is selling really well. Perhaps writing what we love is not such a bad idea after all!

      I wasn’t being too serious when I wrote this post, but I’m now seriously thinking about writing that vampire cat book. Could be huge fun to do!

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