Gma: "so, can we get a tagline about your book?"
Me: "Um, ..." *gets distracted so I don't have to answer*
Gma: "Well, it does have a main character, right? It's fiction?"
Me: *sigh* "Yes, it's fiction. The main character's name is Julia."
Gma: *clearly wanting more information*
Me: *Doing my best to not make eye contact*
Now, I've known for a long time that there is this little problem in my family: fiction is okay, but fantasy is considered to be crap. The problem is that I love writing fantasy. I mean, that's what all my manuscripts have had in them--some kind of fantastical element. So, do I go ahead and share this with my family? Um, no. No one in my family really has any idea what I write about. The fact that they even know that I write is sometimes more than I want to tell them. The fact that I write for teens is also another sore spot. My mom just can't understand why I don't write the next great American novel. My answer: Honestly, that's not what I would ever find fun, let alone want to spend years of free time working on. So, dealing with all of them after I expound on all the small intricacies of my inner world while sitting around the pool on a Sunday afternoon is just too much for me to handle.
Okay, so all this yammering about my family is to bring me to my point: biases exist against certain genres. At some level, they may be based on personal preference, but they are also influenced by society. Fantasy (or even just fantastical elements, such as paranormals or urban fantasy), is regularly at the bottom of the heap, along with sci-fi. This really annoys me. I mean, any book takes a considerable amount of effort to write, and being able to build another world that is believable in all its nuance? That takes some serious effort. I honestly don't know how to avoid some of these biases, but noting they exist is at least opens the doors to discussing it. Of course, how I can do that with my family remains to be seen :) I can just imagine the look on my 85 year old grandmother's face when she finds out that I write about people who can fly...