How true?

I’m adopting my Riga persona to write this…

Listings
Alchemy #7 and Shaman’s Drum #10 in Pagan Dark Fantasy on Amazon.com

Shaman’s Drum #4 and Alchemy #12 on Amazon.uk

Listings

Both in Top 30 in Canada

Listings

Why is this important? Change the question. IS it important?

I ask because I had a very unfortunate debate with a dear friend about the subject which ended up in her blocking me. She said that the ratings were all smoke and mirrors and I can see her point. If one invents a category so exclusive that your own book is bound to be Number One then it’s a fairly pointless exercise. Sadly, we didn’t get around to having the following discussion before her huff arrived.

When there are enough books listed in the category as to make it viable, then it IS a worthwhile exercise. Some readers like particular genres. They have their tastes and they like to stay within their comfort zone.

Just suppose a few readers like my kind of stuff and notice that both of mine are high up in the rankings…they might just go and look. Who knows? They might even buy them!

No, I don’t condone becoming the FB or Twitter bore, endlessly banging on with the self-publicity because if you blow your own trumpet enough you deafen people to your message. And YES I do get a personal kick out of thinking that the work I laboured over for long, hard hours and for which my editor spent time and effort helping me polish, is appreciated.

Now that Amazon have relaxed their regulations on how many genres in which a book can appear, this is gold! My own defy pigeon-holing because they cover such diverse subjects as ecology, terrorism, religion, paganism and huge dollops of adventure and romance. Yes, we did have a hard time fitting them in somewhere before.

Please do forgive me if I have a quick tootle. I feel that both Crooked Cat and I have earned it.

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9 thoughts on “How true?

  1. I believe the categories are very useful for both readers and authors. Smaller authors and independent authors struggle to gain visibility; the coveted top 100 overall rankings are generally beyond the scope of those without publicity machines behind them. This way we can become visible. Big fish in small ponds, perhaps but still good. Unless there’s a hungry heron. or Otter.

  2. Categories are important but I don’t take the blindest notice of ratings when I pick a book, I usually go by personal recommendation or look for an author whose book cover attracted me enough to buy in a charity shop and whose writing kept me entertained enough to be prepared to pay full price for more of the same. However, I am well known to be parsimonious spelled m-e-a-n.

  3. The categories are useful as the conventional genres are so wide. Totally behind you on way your books are listed and yes, the rankings do mean something.

    Shame then that my book has been put in a broad one that goes across whole range of horse mysteries from stolen pones, to undercover jockeys (Dick Francis) to western murders. How are my readers meant to find me, except via my blog… or by word of mouth.

  4. Yes, it IS still a minefield and I’m somewhat surprised to find that I’m “Dark Fantasy” but that’s fine, so are a lot of others. I agree with Sarah that one can come across a “not normally my cup of tea” author and love them, especially if one has a pretty eclectic taste.
    Roland – having read and loved Spiral of Hooves – you are in the same cleft stick as me; It could fit into any one of several genres but I would slap anyone who wanted to lump you in with Dick Francis.

  5. Personally, I’ve found that categories are often in the ‘eyes of the beholder’. Example? They list Charles De Lint as YA (young adults), which sort of belays his work. His work boarders between Fantasy and Urban Fantasy, at at times (book depending) could also be considered science fiction. YA, really?

    Most of his readers (other than his current works on Tanglefoot Cats) in MY Opinion, tends to be read mostly by not young adults (that would be 15-24 year olds), but tend to crossover to ADULT fiction as well.

    This is a clare case where the libraries and book sellers may or may not have the author’s best interest in mind. Why? Because most ADULTS that have found Charles De Lint’s material from “SciFi Fantasy Magazine” tend to be an older age (not all, mind you but a good majority!)

    The sad part of calling your work “Dark Fantasy” by your sellers is that there would be a good population (like Raymond and I) who don’t look in that direction, because we’re not goth, we don’t do goth material for our reading pleasure. We’re not into drinking blood vampires or into necrophilia. We tend to “see” visually what we read, so this makes us a bit different than some, to NOT want to see blood, gore, rape or death sex. Nor am I into seeing people buried alive, and the list can grow from there.

    We would miss the amazing writing that you offer simply because of the classification. Why? Because our ability to GET books, usually comes from the library services that delivers the books (why to GIVE books to your libraries, writers, because it helps grow your readership and purchasing public), has a limited function to search books…we don’t often see the books prior to their arrival, so we tend to stick to categories of book listings that would make certain we don’t get the death/sex mayhem.

    This is why categories SADLY do matter, and why people might overlook a extremely well written author/book: YA books don’t tend to end up in Adult fiction areas, and Dark Fantasy books tend not to show up in general fiction or even in straight Fantasy, and that would be a severe loss to anyone!

    1. Good point, Mary and very well put. I agree but …big but.. putting any book in any category is going to put some readers off. When I was just plain fantasy, the best reviews I got were from people whose ones started with “I’m not normally into fantasy…” There is equally a lot of romance in mine, but that would put some folks off too
      I could equally see my work appealing to YA – although there are no vampires, rape, or other yukkies. There are demons but they are more “recoil in horror” rather than gruesome detail.
      I don’t think it is anything we are going to work out some day soon.

      1. This is why the search words box on Amazon is so damn useful because you can put in things that aren’t in the boxes of genres and sub genres….

      2. Sadly really understand that, because there are always “purist”, (whatever that is!!) Personally, think that books should have a cross-referencing genre allowance (and in the case of libraries) they should allow books that THEY consider YA, be put in both areas (YA and Adults), this way non YA’s can get access. See, the problem is doubled by the business of adults browsing the YA area, (esp men) that would possibly look “suspicious” to Librarians, esp if they don’t see kids attached to the legs of the adults who frequent the area (esp if they are regulars) it gives off a very bad impression that the adults could be Panderers or looking to abduct children (I know this because actually my MA was in “kiddie lit” and talked to reference librarians about this problem and concerns).

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