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.