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  • Barbara Stark-Nemon

Genre and the Far Side of Writing

It turns out that writing a good book is in some ways the easy part of bringing a work to successful publication. After all, those of us who embark on this process identify ourselves as writers, and are more or less prepared to call up or learn the skills we need to write our stories.

As it also turns out, many fewer of us understand that the second part; finding a publisher, creating a social media platform, devising a marketing plan, figuring out distribution, and publicizing the book, all require resources and expertise that aren’t necessarily part of a writer’s repertoire.

So buzzing around my head this week are the challenges of defining my target readership, formulating key words that will show up in search engines that define the essence of my novel, writing pithy book descriptions of varying lengths, and specifying the top two or three genres that best predict where my book will be shelved in bookstores, libraries or in catalogues.

Even in Darkness has all the elements of classic Holocaust fiction. Most of the main characters are German Jews whose lives are horribly disrupted by the Nazis and WWII. Some escape, some go to a concentration camp, some die. Children are sent to be kibbutz pioneers in Palestine and to England on the Kindertransport. Tragedy and heartbreak loom at every turn. I worked hard to accurately portray life in Germany and Czechoslovakia in the early part of the 20th century. Why then, do the genres of literary fiction, or inspirational fiction resonate more for me than Holocaust fiction or historical fiction? Perhaps because Klare’s real story with Ansel and the book I wrote about them is meant to be uplifting. There are good, courageous Germans and compassion and hope amidst evil, that work to help and save. The gift Klare and Ansel lived to share is the understanding that resilience and finding goodness in people and circumstances whenever we can affirms even the most difficult lives. This is not just my first novel. It is the story of my heart and the finest tribute I can craft to two remarkable people and to holocaust survivors everywhere. Literary fiction, historical fiction, Holocaust fiction……………