When people find out that I'm a fiction writer, they ask what type of stories I write. I've been replying, "I write Science Fiction and Fantasy." The reaction I get is an almost universal and immediate disinterest. This almost makes me feel like I should apologize. But I've been rethinking this lately, as I've talked with some people who don't normally read science fiction, yet they thoroughly enjoyed my first novel, Pariah.
When I released Pariah, I tagged it as "Science Fiction (High Tech)" and "Suspense". There are a lot of high tech scifi elements to the story, as parts of it take place in a dramatized version of a near-future Internet. But the bulk of the story is a suspense thriller with lots of twists and turns that lead the reader into an exciting climax. There's a certain point in the story where you just cannot put it down. Hell, when I hit that point, I can't put it down; and I not only wrote the novel, I also read it more than twenty times while editing it!
My second novel, Fireteam Zulu, is a novel that is even harder to categorize. It's in a science fiction setting, but has elements of military fiction, some scenes with the same high-tech feel of Pariah, space pirates (everything is better with pirates!), a few dashes of horror, a little mystery, and quite a bit of suspense. Yet all the online bookstores I distribute through force me to choose one (or sometimes two) categorization codes. Trying to remember the above description is tough. Trying to blurt it out as an elevator pitch is ridiculous. And yet, there's something else in common with Pariah: Fireteam Zulu has a similar point (albeit it happens earlier in the story) where I just cannot put the book down.
Thinking about the above descriptions got me to realize something:
I don't just "write Science Fiction and Fantasy."
I write Literary Rollercoasters. They just happen to be set in science fiction and fantasy settings.
So... can I get a new BISAC category code for this? How do other authors deal with cross-genre / multiple-genre / melting pot type stories?