07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cross-genre all the way

I’m in the middle of a blog tour right now for my September release, Shadowman, and one of the questions I’ve been asked more than once is what subgenre my Shadow series belongs in. Where should bookstores shelve me? So far I have found my books in romance, fantasy/sci-fi, and horror. One blogger named me paranormal romantic suspense, others refer to me as urban fantasy, and still others paranormal romance. All good, particularly if it helps me to reach new readers. I call myself dark fantasy romance and I want to be shelved where readers will find me.

And there’s the rub. The flip side of defying categorization is that people might not be able to find you. Case in point: Last night I went to my local B&N and discovered that the first in my series, Shadow Bound, was still shelved in Fantasy/Sci-fi, while Shadowman, book three, the same series, was happily face-out in Romance (and had diminished in number since my last visit--yay!). I’m with a new publisher now and I support my new placement in Romance--I think more readers will be apt to pick me up--but I had to squeeze my eyes shut for a moment at the insanity. I know I’m not the first author to experience this, and I also know that readers are super savvy people, who know what they like and can figure out just fine where to get it (if they have time and patience at the given moment to do so). Nevertheless, I’d sure love to make that process a little easier.

Online is a whole different world. With a click, an entire author’s list can come up. With tagging you can help identify your book. And bloggers embrace cross-genre authors; no need to walk across the store. It seems each day that more applications or features are being created to make information more accessible (My husband is a programmer). Problem is, there are so many books in cyberspace that it’s hard to stand out. Sometime it feels impersonal, and for me, books are very personal. Which takes me back to the bookstore and the kind of browsing I grew up on.

So I guess you can see how cross-genre, for me, has also become a bit of a cross-delivery kind of idea. I love my kindle (I’m on my second one), but I still have a fantasy of owning a bookstore (and reading my stock all day). I’ve mentioned a few conflicts in my cross-genre publishing experience, but let me just say that I view them as opportunities. I’m in two places at my B&N bookstore, doubling my chances for discovery. And online, there might be a lot of books out there, but I’ve got my husband in my corner making me cool stuff to help me stand out. (Check out my Segue site for his latest handiwork: www.SegueInstitute.com). We’ll see what the future holds. I’m excited.


elizabethreinhardt said...

I love discovering a book that I would have thought I wouldn't like because of cross over! And I agree...more spaces on the shelves = more people grabbing it up! One thing that always annoyed me when I heard editors/agents speak was a reluctance to leap on a fantastic book because they don't know where to shelve it. I just read a wonderful self-published book that was a college aged book...it has awesome sales and readers are eating it up, but there was no physical shelf to put it on in the traditional book stores! Your book looks fantastic! I would definitely pick it up in either section!

Judith Ashley said...

Erin, you point out the pluses of e-books for a known writer (one click and your whole backlist shows up) but for a debut author, with the thousands of self-published books out there now, how do you stand out when you don't have a tech-savy husband in your corner?

Judith Ashley said...

Segue Institute looks amazing. I'll come back later and spend more time. I'd be excited too!

Erin Kellison said...

I'd love to know the title of the college-age book, Elizabeth. I love stories where an out of the box book reaches an audience anyway.

Erin Kellison said...

Hi Judith,
Thx for looking at the Segue site. Thrilled you enjoyed it! Yes, I am very lucky to have a tech savvy guy around the house. Actually, his support regardless of his skills has been the driving force behind my writing. He's been everything.

Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Erin, the Segue Institute website is fabulous! Your fans (including me) will love it!

Thank you for sharing your experiences in print and ebook format as a crossover book author.I agree that we have more opportunities nowadays, and new challenges.

Any advice for debut authors who want to stand out in the ebook market?

Erin Kellison said...

Hi Sarah!

TY! I'm so glad you liked Segue.

There are some online promo geniuses at RTG (Amber immediately comes to mind) but an easy place to start is twitter and FB. Then I'd contact bloggers in the author's genre, send them review copies and set up blog dates. I'd think of pulling together with other authors. Contests, games, excerpts, being accessible. I consider all of that to be a good foundation. Then get creative from there.

Does that help?

Sarah Raplee said...

Thanks, Erin! Yes; that helps. :)