I once worked for a music executive who told me that to sell records you had to "find your niche." And while that advice is fine if your niche suddenly explodes into a major market type niche (think paranormal romance), many times it limits the product you are trying to sell. (Yeah, we used to call albums/CDs product—literally that's it was and is.) Don't get me wrong. I like niche markets and have absolutely nothing against them so this isn't a ragging rant.
It's more of an expression of frustration. What if your work doesn't fit into any one niche easily or comfortably? How do you define your genre when reviews range from dark to gritty to thrill ride to social commentary to almost "stream of consciousness"? What if your style is much different than everyone else in every other genre?
People like order; they like the idea of knowing what they expect will be what they expect. I despise the word "pigeonholing" but sometimes you have to use a word you hate. I've read and written tomes on blending/crossing/doubling up genre' and still have problems defining my own work within those contexts. And sometimes I think it's just as difficult for editors and readers to do so as well. I get a feeling that they don't know what they're in for when they open up my first page—they like it—they just don't expect it. That can be a good or bad thing—it's good because they enjoy it but bad because they don't know what to do with it and sometimes I think it may be a bit overwhelmingly different for them.
I'm not complaining and hopefully I'm not sounding egocentric—it's just that it can be frustrating in more ways than one. I have problems defining my genre so I have to sort of hyphenate it: "well, it's a dark-sci-fi adventure-semi-dystopian-militaristic science fiction-crime thriller-romance about drug abuse, prostitution and guilt that ends with a type of redemption." Right about semi-dystopian even I'm confused.
Yet it's all correct. All of those facets are there, part and parcel of the very fabric with which the story is woven. Hell, I've even chucked in a few historical factors as well just because I love history. It works somehow but people are still surprised because it generally doesn't meet their expectations of whatever genre' they're used to and it throws them off-balance a little. That's a really good thing.
For me that's kind of what it's about—waking up and shaking up any and everyone who reads my work though that isn't the main objective (ooh, military speak) of my writing. My objective is to write the absolute best story I can regardless categories or genre' placement. It's to write a story that grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go until they begin to look cyanotic.
So what to do? For me—nothing. I write the way I write and I write as honestly as I can be it romance or rogue aliens and leave it up to those who do categorize to figure it all out. If they can. LOL.