Well, it’s a story of a dream, of heart and courage. It takes place in the West and it’s about old-time rodeo cowgirls, so it's also historical. It has a sweet romance and it’s suitable for Young Adult as well as grownup readers. So it could be “Women’s Fiction”, “Young Adult”, “Western” or "Historical".
How do you decide?
When I first started writing, I attended conferences and workshops and I kept hearing, “Write something different and new. I don’t want to see the same old thing.”
So I did. I wrote what I called “Christian Fairytales.”
But when I pitched it to agents or publishers, they would sigh and scrunch up their faces, and after a long pause, they’d say, “Well I really like the stories and your writing is very compelling. But…it doesn’t fit our niche.”
Huh? But you said…
I do understand that publishers need to know your audience so they’ll know to whom to market. I understand that bookstores need to know where to shelve the books.
When I started writing what would become my “Cowgirl Dreams” trilogy, I just wanted to tell my grandmother’s story and to encourage readers to follow their dream. I didn’t set out to write a “western.” It’s not an old-style, shoot-’em-up 1800s era western. It’s a story that takes place in the West. So that it where it is categorized.
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
Where are your books categorized? Did you have a similar experience?
|A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series, Dare to Dream, and a non-fiction book Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women, are her most recent releases. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.|