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Old 07-10-2015, 10:32 AM   #1
patrickt
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Comments from a reader....

I went to a site I go to often looking for interesting books from new authors. The webpage came up and I went straight to the bottom and started scrolling up.

Why do I read it in reverse? Because they list the genre at the bottom of each entry. I filter the offerings for the genre I enjoy reading which is usually mysteries and detectives. I read other genre, such as history, but the site for new authors gets me mysteries.

Reading the genre entries doesn't bring a book to my attention. It has that by being in the mystery genre listing. But, the additiona genre comments can remove it from my interest.

For example, if the genre listing says, "Mystery, fiction, humor, romance." Oops. I have zero interest in romance novels. That includes romantic mysteries. Humor is okay. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Monk.

Other listings that make my interest fade would be paranormal, fantasy, occult, gritty, women authors, Christian, Science Fiction, Single Authors, Political, Legal, Courtroom Drama, Medical, Women's Fiction, Religion and Spirituality.

I get the impression that some authors think the more genre they can cover the more readers they attract. I don't know if that is the way it works and I'm just weird or if stacking on the genre loses potential readers.

I've been pondering this.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:46 AM   #2
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I was totally with you until:

> women authors

?!?
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:45 AM   #3
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twowheels, yes that does seem an odd exclusion.

patrickt, I am guessing that genre "stacking" probably happens (perhaps using it as a tag system rather than a categorisation), but sometimes it is simply that the story doesn't slot neatly into just one category. I'm in the process of publishing some short stories that are proving very difficult categorise. So it can be appropriate to place a story in multiple genres.

The intention is, obviously, to try and be visible to all readers that might be interested in the story. Assuming this works, any readers lost due to preferences like your own might be a cost, a trade-off, but I think it would be very difficult to measure the detrimental effect. (A lot of avid readers read widely, so showing up in all relevant genres might be helpful.)

But a more relevant question might be: isn't what you describe actually a good thing for readers? Isn't it better for the reader to know in advance that the story might fit into genres they don't like? It may also be better for the writer to have turned away readers that are predisposed not to like the story, and so avoid predictably bad reviews.

Mind you, there can be some odd ones. I added tags to my novels and one of the tag words I chose (because it's significant in the story) is found mainly in non-fiction spiritual/mystic-healing genres. My (fantasy) book might look a little out of place in a search against that tag (although some might argue that it fits right in ).
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I was totally with you until:

> women authors

?!?
I didn't want you to be "with me". That wasn't the point. I have preferences. I suspect we all do. You obviously do. I have a few women authors I read but none who would promote their book on that basis or seek readers on that basis. As a general rule with a writer I haven't read I'm far more likely to enjoy a book by a male author.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:12 PM   #5
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I wasn't saying it was a bad thing for me. I suppose is someone is really shooting for a very narrow niche it might make sense.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:25 PM   #6
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I'm not sure why you say "very narrow niche". As I said above, many readers read much more widely than you describe for yourself. This is not meant as any sort of criticism, simply an observation. By including tags and genre categories that accurately reflect the book, the author is looking wider rather than narrower ... or that's how I see it.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I'm not sure why you say "very narrow niche". As I said above, many readers read much more widely than you describe for yourself. This is not meant as any sort of criticism, simply an observation. By including tags and genre categories that accurately reflect the book, the author is looking wider rather than narrower ... or that's how I see it.
And the more 'tags' a given book has the better the chance that it will come up in a search on a site like say Amazon. Some people like Mysteries, some like Adventure, etc. and if a given book has elements of two or more genre's so that it might appeal to the tastes of different groups of readers that increases the chances of the author making a sale and therefore making a bit more $ from their labors. I think it's also the basis of large stores like Amazon who don't just sell one type of item as well. Want a copy of the latest movie on DVD? A new pair of designer jeans? New glassware? etc. By not limiting themselves to a set product such stores increase the chances of making a profit. Books just do it via the tags that the author puts in when they upload their book that's all.
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:24 AM   #8
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I agree crich70. I also consider it important to distinguish between how a book is categorised into a genre, from the tags that may be used. Some my work I would (and do) tag with "romance", because they have a distinct element of romance in them, but I would not consider giving them a genre categorisation of "Romance" because they're not written for (what I perceive are) the expectations of that audience.
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:04 PM   #9
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I agree crich70. I also consider it important to distinguish between how a book is categorised into a genre, from the tags that may be used. Some my work I would (and do) tag with "romance", because they have a distinct element of romance in them, but I would not consider giving them a genre categorisation of "Romance" because they're not written for (what I perceive are) the expectations of that audience.
Point taken. If a book has an element of romance, but isn't actually a piece of romance fiction the author should make sure to not accidentally mislead potential buyers. And lots of books that are one genre have elements of others in them. Mysteries for example can have the hero in a romance with another character, but they are still Mysteries.
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