Normally, books are defined by a single genre: mystery, romance, fantasy, young adult, science fiction, horror, paranormal...you get the idea. But what if you have a sixteen year old detective, who is also a fairy, who falls in love with a werewolf, set in the city of Los Angeles? Is it considered romance? YA? Paranormal mystery? Urban fantasy?
How does an author decide to market their book?
Let's take a look at Charlaine Harris. In case you've been hiding under a rock, she's the author responsible for the popular Sookie Stackhouse series. Now, we have our heroine, Sookie, who is part fairy and is also a telpath. There are vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, demons, etc. within the Sookie universe. Each book (usually) contains two mysteries Sookie is inevitably involved in (one within her human relationships and another on the paranormal end of things). Oh and less I forget, there is always some kind of romance brewing.
Charlaine has the advantage, as each book in the series carries an element of mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romance that attracts a broad cross section of readers.
Which brings me to my point (I swear, I have one). Now that I am slowly beginning to build up a reader base before my book comes out next Spring, how do I market my book? Young adult (my protagonist is seventeen), fantasy (she's an elf princess), mystery (no spoilers), and romance (hello? teen love)? Oh, yea, the elves in my book all have some form of psychic ability.
Seriously! Pick my genre!