Drafting my latest query letter, I did a little exercise. No, not twenty press-ups on the floor, but one prompted by this particular agency’s submission guidelines. As part of the marketing approach, I was asked to thinking of two to three (i.e. three) comparable books. That wasn’t a problem, but it started me thinking about what books I liked, the ones I returned to or was impressed, exhilarated or moved by so I drew up a list and put them into genres.
Romance (All of Georgette Heyer, Austen)
Sci-Fi (all types)
Several combined genres, such as Lindsey Davis’ Roman detective, Falco, or JD Robb’s 2057 detective Eve Dallas, many contained a strong romantic theme e.g. Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series as well as their core genre of historical fantasy adventure and some were European literary fiction with a fantasy element such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind.
So the answer seems to be a base of history, the next layer thriller/crime, a large dollop of fantasy, and flavoured throughout with romance.
Which is quite a relief as that’s what I write.
What does your reading history point towards? And are you surprised by it?