Thursday, May 16, 2013

Indie Author Series: Categorizing Your Book

This week the YA Author Club will be talking about the importance of categorizing your book. It seems simple, and it some cases, it is. In others... well... not so much.

While I started off specifically writing a young adult book (Warriors of the Cross) that my daughter would enjoy and one we could talk about together, I quickly realized the book (and the next 3 books in the series) could never be categorized with something as simple as young adult. There were just so many other genres that fit the book's characteristics: romance, action, suspense, medical, paranormal, fantasy, saga, ghost, tragedy, and adventure.

For me the book's variety makes it interesting and unexpected and a great read. At the same time, it made it much harder for me to find the perfect audience for the series. 70-80,000 books later, I can safely say the series has found its way. Its path was just a little less traveled because it was not an exact replica of stories, characters, twists, and turns already written and re-written.

For my latest series, I opted - yet again - for the path less traveled. While Grave Bound is new adult... romance... action... adventure... tragedy... saga... suspense... erotica, it is not like anything else written, making it equally difficult to pigeon hole into one genre. Because it is labeled as 18+ only, the readers adding it to their TBR list appear to enjoy reading erotica. Of course, the hard-core, erotica-loving readers are often disappointed by Grave Bound because it is a real story (novel and not short story) about life-like characters. They don't start off AND end up having sex. There's a world that had to built (only because it was so different than anything we know) and characters that had to become endearing. This is mostly because I'm not big on writing (or reading) about characters that I'm supposed to instantly care about. Like my best friends, I have to get to know them before I love them enough to become emotionally vested in their tribulations.  Don't get me wrong, there is sex in this Grave Bound. It is earth-shattering and passionate. It is not gratuitous or hard-core erotica. 

Because I have to, I label my books with a genre. I can assure you they are never perfect, but they do represent a tiny portion of what the book is and who its characters would appeal to. I have to believe others outside of the identified genre could/would enjoy the stories if they gave them a chance and stopped judging them by their 'genre'.

In some ways, assigning my books to a specific genre is similar to labeling my every role (wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, boss, nurse, author,...) and saying I can only be one thing. For me, that's an impossible task. It depends on where I am and who I'm with as to which role I'm playing. The same can be said for my books. The genre depends on which character you are reading about, where they are in the story, and what challenges they are facing.

In order to show you how many different literary genres exist, I've included WiIKIPEDIA'list of genre's and subgenres. After you see them, you will understand how daunting the job can be when it comes to labeling books. The links are included so feel free to explore the options.

1 comment:

  1. It is so overwhelming and deeply frustrating to try to force your complex story into such a small box. I honestly envy those who can look at their work and say, "It's just a romance." or "It's traditional fantasy." Then again, there is something fabulous about having a story so complex and fascinating that it seems determined to defy our labels.