I've been rewriting a novel I've been working on for quite a while under the genre of paranormal romance. The problem I am facing is that in my attempts to improve my manuscript, I feel my story is drifting out of this genre, possibly into science fiction or fantasy.
You always say to read your genre and know it well, but I am not well versed in the sci-fi world (I have read a good amount of fantasy though).
Do you find books that combine genres to be popular? My main concern is that the genre's I'm crossing may not work together--the paranormal romance scene is quite different, in my opinion, than that of sci-fi.
Also, when it comes to querying, I am not sure how to list my book. (I realize I'm getting a little ahead of my myself, but as I've been working on this for so long I've had an uber long time to think about the next step.)
Finding the right category for a book is a troublesome task for those of us on this side of the slush pile too.
The trick here is to think about who will read your book and love it. That's one of the reasons you have to know a category really well.
If you think about people who read crime novels, they want resolution of a problem, and most definitely want justice to be done. It may be rough justice, vigilante justice, last rites, divine justice or just desserts, but there must be a reckoning of sorts to be a crime novel.
Romance novels must have a romantic relationship that grows, is challenged, breaks and then heals. The plot arc is largely the arc of the relationship rather than outside events. In a romance, someone must end up happy, and most usually happy with a love interest.
I don't read enough SFF to know what readers must have. It's more than cyborgs, dragons and space travel though.
And it's not enough to use the tropes of a genre to make a book fit in a genre.
Paranormal romance is shelved in romance, SFF is not. You're very right to understand these are two very different categories.
And it's very common to have books in one category also contain elements from another. There's crimesolving in romance, there's romance in crime fiction. There are dragons and crimes and romance in SF.
Finish the novel. Get a couple beta reads. Ask the readers what author it reminds them of. If you've got good beta readers they'll guide you.
And in the end, don't fret. I don't discard queries based solely on the category authors tell me they're writing, cause at least 50% of the time, they're wrong. I look at what they tell me about the book.