I’ve been thinking about genre classifications. I used to think paranormal meant ghosts and poltergeists, and supernatural meant creatures that were super… vampires, werewolves, zombies and such. I’m not so sure about that anymore. It seems like the market is using these terms interchangeably. Sometimes they are accompanied by other adjectives like dark and urban. So, what does it all mean? And do I need to care?
As an author, I think I do need to care. I need to understand how my readers are going to find my work. It is important to label the work in a manner that truthfully describes the work. If it is a vampire love story, it’s paranormal romance right? Wrong? Maybe it’s dark urban supernatural? What?
A search on Amazon for paranormal romance (kindle store only) gives us a Dark Wolf, Dark Angel, vampire, and Immortals in the first 4 books. Book #5 has shifters and witches, and then there is a demon slayer who is a biker witch (this one is in my queue!) No ghosts or poltergeists here. So, paranormal has all kinds of “monsters” and beings that are supernatural in nature. So, what’s supernatural?
That same search done with “supernatural” gave me a couple of books based on the TV series of the same name, and one empathy book. Still no ghosts.
Dark Urban Fantasy gives similar results, but there is a slightly different flavor to these. Check out S.M. Reine’s Descent Series for an example:
The Descent Series has paranormal creatures: angels, demons, and more. The primary setting is urban. There is some romance, but it is secondary. Reine’s series is one of the best written examples of Dark Urban Fiction out there.
Kim Harrison’s Hallows series with Rachel Morgan is another example.
The main thing that seems to differentiate these genres is romance as a primary element or not. If it is primary, it is paranormal romance; otherwise, it is dark urban fantasy, supernatural, or just paranormal. You could just search for whichever flavor your want in your moster: angel, demon, vampire, werewolf, or whatever…
So, where does my book fit in? It is definitely closer to Dark Urban Fantasy. Romance is a secondary element and it has vampires in it (and more…) So, check it out with these others:
Whether you dig vampires, werewolves, or bears… romance or not… urban or whatever…. you can find tons of great books out there that will satisfy your paranormal/supernatural urges!