In A Class(ification) All Its Own

***Note: This post contains minor spoiler for The Shadow Walker and The Shadow Within.***

Now that my latest release, The Shadow Within, has been out for almost three months (not quite), I decided it was time to ask for your opinion.

When I first published the first book, The Shadow Walker, I wasn’t quite sure what genre to place it in.  I knew I wanted it listed as YA, which I felt comfortable doing as the lead character is a teen, and it wasn’t overly graphic (although I’ve been told it’s a rather disturbing book).  I didn’t necessarily want to classify it as Horror, because it didn’t feel like an out-and-out horror story, though it certainly had elements of it.  I ultimately decided on Paranormal/Supernatural, because even though I knew it truly wasn’t either, they seemed the closest fit.

Flash-forward to the release of the second book.  I figured it should be in the same genre, but I still wasn’t comfortable with my decision.  And I figured anyone who read through the first book would know it had to do with aliens, although there was still a somewhat spiritual aspect to the way they took over bodies.  I felt like labeling it as Sci-Fi was a disservice to those readers, because I don’t think it delivers what one might expect from that genre.  Again, I felt like I was falling somewhere between classifications.

I spoke with my mom about it, and she convinced me to label it SF (although I remain unconvinced it was the right thing to do, hence this post).  She reasoned the storyline is most similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is considered SF.  But when I read up on its wiki to refresh my memory (it’s been years since I’ve seen it), it seems as though there are more science fiction elements to it than in my story, although the alien aspect of it will become more prominent in the final two books).

So as it stands now, The Shadow Walker remains YA Paranormal/Supernatural, and The Shadow Within is labeled Science Fiction.  I’m not sure either one is right, but I feel they should at least be listed the same.  Sadly, the classification options on a lot of sites are fairly limited, making it difficult to truly define what it is you’re presenting the customer.  So I ask anyone who has read the books, what do you think best fits?  YA?  Paranormal/Supernatural?  Science Fiction?  All of the above?  I’d appreciate any feedback you may have.

As always, thanks for reading.

S.L. Madden



4 thoughts on “In A Class(ification) All Its Own

  1. When people asked me what genre you write (cause I work with nosy people that have to know what I’m reading when I just want to read and be left alone to enjoy my book) I usually answer science fiction/paranormal/supernatural. And then I sing your praises.

    • Oh, so you’re the one singing my praises! 🙂 I think science fiction/paranormal/supernatural is a pretty apt description. Yet another reason why I’d likely never get picked up by a traditional publisher.

      Thanks for the reply (and for reading, of course)!

  2. If it were me, I would classify Unseen Things as science fiction. That is really only based on the fact that there are aliens and other worlds beyond ours. When I see paranormal/supernatural I think of ghosts or spirits, things that are actually of this world (fictionally of this world anyway). If that makes any sense. I can see why you would label it the way you have because it definitely has paranormal/supernatural elements, but when you add the aliens it becomes science fiction.

    • Yeah, I think that’s the way my mom looked at it, too. Noted, and thanks for the feedback.

      And by the way, it’s nice to hear from you. It’s been at least several moons! Hope all is going well in your neck o’ the woods.

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