Hi Simon.

It’s difficult. I’d probably classify it in that tough category known as “cross-genre”. Crossing two genres can work well if one is clearly dominant. Crossing three genres may make it hard for readers — and agents/editors — to quickly grasp what it is, and so more likely to look elsewhere before giving it the chance it might deserve.

My instinct is that you’d struggle to get representation for this based on the blurb. But now you’ve self-published it, you must solve that problem yourself. The current blurb tries to say too much and so ends up saying too little.

Let us know who these people are — their names tell us nothing— and why we should care. Two names, some vague political context, and being told that their love is forbidden doesn’t cut the mustard.

What’s the significance of the political situation for them personally? How does it make their love impossible? Why does it matter so much to them? What are the stakes?

Make it personal and character-revealing. Hook the reader in with emotion-provoking detail; give them something — someone — about whose fate they feel anxious.

I don’t think you’ve got three genres here, though.

The genre here is romance, the context dystopian, and the style satirical. So, in the blurb, focus exclusively on the romance, why it matters and what threatens it. Be specific. The dystopian satirical elements should be evident in the way you write about the romance in the blurb. It doesn’t need an explicit statement.

Your purpose is to get a potential reader to turn to the first page. Don’t try to squeeze everything into the blurb. You won’t hook many readers with a clever idea. You need motivated people desperate to achieve a goal which is under immediate threat to do that. So, use the blurb to hook the reader on their doomed romance — and make damned sure it’s the doomed romance of two motivated people, not just the concept of doomed romance.

Then give the reader credit that when they start reading they’ll understand the dystopian context and the satirical style.

Hope that helps.

Austin is a professional writer and editor. Skeptical about everything else, he believes in kindness. Here, he shares sensible advice for serious writers.

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