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Writer's Circle > genre slush pile?

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message 1: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 261 comments Does anyone else wonder what genre his or her fiction book should be listed under, when it doesn't fit into any of the established genres, such as science fiction, romance, fantasy, thriller, etc.? The genre called variously "mainstream," "literary," or "general" fiction covers quite a broad range of stories which are vastly different. Who establishes a new genre identification category?


message 2: by Sally (new)

Sally (brasscastle) | 261 comments Two examples of my own: My first novel, "Bead of Sand," was given an editorial evaluation by the publisher as a romance, which it is not. It depicts a growing love relationship, but does not fit the formula of a romance. Many books that are clearly not romances are about a love relationship.

Example Two: The novel I am currently working on has elements of the paranormal or metaphysical, but they are not the focus of the book. Nor is it a romance, either, for the two main characters do not develop a love relationship, although the relationship they do develop becomes an integral part of the fiber of their characters. So here again, my second story will likely get categorized as "mainstream," "literary," or "general" fiction.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 347 comments My books don't fit established genres either, other than being collections of short stories. Fortunately, Amazon has fairly extensive subcategorization, so it's not too difficult to find something that's close enough.

As for Goodreads, I never pay attention to genres, because I'm usually looking up a specific book or author.


message 4: by Kitiera (new)

Kitiera Morey | 5 comments My publisher has my book listed under romance, which it has a tiny bit but it is not the main focus of the novel. The main character has no romantic ties with anyone for the entire trilogy, but I know it's hard to pinpoint what genre my book embodies more. It's got a little of so many. I love books like that, though, so I'm happy I did that with my own.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic I personally believe that the traditional system of assigning a book to a specific genre is gradually becoming less important to readers. There are now so many genres and sub-genres that many books fall into a gray area.

Some readers do choose to focus the majority of their reading choices upon one genre, but many have developed an eclectic taste and will read anything that attracts their attention and stirs their curiosity.

Genre assignment in some cases is not so specific. The description, included on the copyright/disclaimer page of my novel by the publisher, reads 1. Fiction / Science Fiction / General 2. Fiction / Alternative History. The local public library placed it in the area designated for general fiction.


message 6: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 50 comments Kitiera wrote: "My publisher has my book listed under romance, which it has a tiny bit but it is not the main focus of the novel. The main character has no romantic ties with anyone for the entire trilogy, but I k..."

I'd be wary about having my book in the romance genre while having very few of it in the story. Most romance readers know their romance and they love their romance. If they buy a book expecting romance and it ends up being only a small subplot and not from the main character either, it could be enough to set them on fire and prompt them to leave bad reviews.

I've check the blurb and it's much more than romance. I would think of it more as a paranormal/urban fantasy genre. Maybe there lies the confusion. Nowadays, many people only see paranormal as PNR (paranormal romance).


message 7: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 14, 2015 04:54PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) G.G. wrote: "...I would think of it more as a paranormal/urban fantasy genre ..."

You should shelve it as such. As in add shelf names "Paranormal" "Urban Fantasy" and "Paranormal Urban Fantasy."

Goodreads uses shelves the same way other sites use keywords, tags and genre (some but not all shelf names get crowdsourced to put book in one or more genres). Goodreads doesn't care if you shelve your own book a bunch of different ways.

There are some goodreads features (including exploring by genre, new releases by genre, recommendations, etc.) that look at shelf/genre names.

There are group/bookclub activities that look at books on certain shelves or books that might have something (vampires, werewolves, gnomes, toothpaste , witches, tire irons, or whatever) that will also look at the shelf names. Some of those bookclub activities may not matter so much to authors (like cover hunt challenges to just find a bookcover with whatever on it); others might because requires book to be read and reviewed (for example, cover hunts that require reviews or "Bookshelf BINGO" which in its heyday generated thousands of reviews each round). Sometimes quirkier or more distinctive shelf names catch reader's attention and they explore the shelf to see what other books are on shelf; sometimes just gives a bit more detail about the book.

Because crowdsourced, genres can be odd on goodreads. There are some books (and I don't mean just memoirs) that members cannot even seem to agree if fiction or nonfiction...


message 8: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 14, 2015 04:55PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Off topic, but not necessarily a bad idea for authors to shelve books they like reading. For some goodreads members, that's a sort of introduction or calling card. Not uncommon for friend requests and group admission requests to cause someone to have a peek at your "library" as well as what books you wrote.


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