WriterWoes #3 – What’s in a genre?

In all of the years that I’ve been writing, I’ve never focused on practicing a specific genre to heighten my odds of publication by becoming an expert in one genre or another. As a result, at the end of each and every novel, after a year or less of writing and thorough editing, I end up with a piece of work that I cannot define as romance or horror, but rather as romance/horror/magicalrealism/action/poetry/music/blerghblerghblerghbiiiiiip...

… and I wouldn’t have it any other way, honestly.

Literary agents and publishers alike say that you should stray away from cross-genre works because they are hard to sell within an industry that relies on labels to keep their audience alert and absorbed, but then I ask, in turn, what makes a cross-genre piece, and what makes an idea that has come to fruition as unfiltered as it can possibly be without modifications to make it marketable for the industry?

Does genre, I ask, come before inspiration?

Should genre dictate what ideas that are worth pursuing more so than others?

Does the cleanliness of genre really matter outside of the publishing industry?

When we, the audience, sit with a book in hand, reading in front of the fireplace on an early morning, does it really matter whether the book stays clean in genre or not?