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Friday, September 2, 2011

Writing Across Genres

The Pluses and Minuses of Mixing It Up
Publishing is going through a huge change right now. While print books are still in the majority, Ebooks are on the rise and I recently read that the reason print books are actually growing is because of Independent and Self-Publishing (not the big six traditional publishers). Another big change is that Borders is closing – the plus is that the smaller independent book stores are seeing resurgence in business. My experience (the minus) is that these smaller stores do not carry the variety and depth of romance titles that my local Borders did.

What does publishing have to do with mixing genres? Mainly it has to do with where in the book store your novel can be found. When I go to a book store, I go to the ‘romance’ section, wander the aisles, looking at covers, titles and author names – picking up one here and there to read the back cover blurb and most often leaving with 3 – 6 new books to read – some from favorite authors but also at least one from a new or debut author. I know exactly where to look for the books I want to buy.

But the more you mix or blend genres the more challenging it is for the store owner to know where to place your book and the more challenging it is for a reader to find you.

It is very exciting to let one’s imagination run free, to create characters, worlds, scenarios, conflicts and resolutions, to have your fingers fly over the keyboard, your thoughts becoming real on the screen before you.

But, if your readers can’t find you? – that’s a huge minus.

What do you think about all the changes going on right now in the publishing industry?

How do you find books to read?

© Judith Ashley, 2011. All rights reserved.

19 comments:

Paty Jager said...

My books lately come from excerpts I read on blogs and groups because my phone has a kindle app. and it makes it so much easier to 1) buy a book and 2) pack them all around with me to read when ever I'm sitting waiting.

But I still use print books for all my research. Those come form the library or used book stores and Amazon. The small independent book store near me is kind of hard to work with and I don't like driving 25 miles to Barnes and Noble. I know most people think that's nothing but to me it's a whole wasted day because if I'm going to go to Barnes and Noble I might as well hit the other stores in that town that I don't frequent to get items that have been stacking up on my list. Whew more than you cared to know! ;)

I like the changes. I like being able to get my books without leaving home.

minxlaurel said...

Where do I find my books? Everywhere! My husband would tell you that I never pass a bookstore, or bookshelf, without perusing the titles and reading a fair number of back covers. He would also tell you that between us and our two daughters the print book industry should be thriving. lol
I must admit, I have stocked up on books during the Borders closing, enough to keep me in front of the fireplace all winter. And yet, I continue to watch Amazon, Powell's, B&N, Target, Costco - you get the idea.
Additionally, recommendations from friends and favorite authors often lead me to websites where snippets and experts help me discover new authors.

Word of mouth, in person and via the web, has amazing power. It's just a matter of getting to the right ears. The best recommendations I've gotten are from other authors.

Laurel N

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Paty,

I just got a Kobos and am learning how to download books, etc. as well as read on it. It sure saves my hands - actually my thumbs - that are aging more rapidly than the rest of me.

My standard way of finding books is much more difficult to engage in. And, I really miss Marcie's picks (a list of books coming out as well as what was on the shelves. She even noted if it was a debut author!) now that Border's in Beaverton is closing.

I'm finding scrolling/clicking around pages and pages and pages of books in Kobo's book store a bit daunting especially since I don't really like clicking around on the internet to begin with.

But if you know who you want to read, it is easy, less expensive, and much more portable.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Laurel,

Wow! I thought I was the one keeping Borders going for awhile as I stopped by a couple of times most months and never left the store without buying something...

Even with all those books I bought before and since the "Going Out of Business Sale", I just got back from Costco with 3 more books.

And with a new e-reader (also courtesy of Border's discounts) I'm learning about e-books and now have 4 on my device.

I get to Safeway and Fred Meyer more than Target. The last time I was at Costco with my granddaughter, I made a point of walking past the books just because I'd come home the day before with more books!

Thanks for stopping by and letting me know I'm not the only book-a-holic out there.

Diana Mcc. said...

Oh, Judith! You are not the only book-a-holic out here in the virtual realm. This week I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the book ordered for my husband, and walk out with three more books! I just bought four books last week and three the week before and have three shelves of To-be-read books that may never get read. I have a Nook and have bought a total of 3 books for it. I got it in March and have only finished reading one book. Holding a book in my hand is still my favorite way to read. The Nook is great for playing games. :))

Donna Marie Del Grosso said...

Hi Judith!
What a great post. I'm still an old fashioned paperback reader. I love the smell of the pages and of course, there's nothing better to hold in your hand. But I think it's awesome that E-books/readers have caught on. There are so many great authors out there and this avenue will help those authors succeed! That being said, it is getting more difficult for me to find books I'm looking for. I have to resort to ordering them on-line! I also walked out of my bookstore without buying anything. No wonder Borders went belly-up and I'm reading there are more stores out there circling the drain. These stores are cutting their own throats!

Jean Paradis said...

Books seem to find me. My mother hands me a paperback and says 'here you'll like this.' I buy my Mother-in-law and book and she passes it back to me. I sell a few to Powells and they give me credit to get more. I go the library because with two kids in college I can't afford to pay full price for anything. And then there is word of mouth. When I hear a book is really good, then I give in and buy it.

Judith Ashley said...

Diana,

Glad I'm not the only book-a-holic out here. I've got a stack about the teeter over and three Border's bags with books (two are full).

While I still love holding a book, my hands complain if I do too much of it.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi agree, Donna...the rise of e-books is providing many writers a chance to be authors!

I know Powell's and B&N will order a book I want if they don't have it in stock - but there are so many books I don't know about. The Border's I patronized had a list of new releases as well as what was currently on the shelves. I really miss that!

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Jean,

I'm the one who passes more books on than I get back...haven't done the Library but several of my friends use them regularly - one is near-by (about 15 blocks) but across the street from a very dangerous store for me (Ed's House of Gems sells wonderful rocks/crystals, etc.)

Now you know my other weakness/passion - I'm not just a book-a-holic but a rock-a-holic too.

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Judith--

I find books all over--Fred Meyer, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Target, Barnes and Noble, and mostly Romantic Times Book Reviews. I often will order from Amazon.com, sometimes Barnes and Noble and a mail order book club, if I belong to one (Quality Paperback, OneSpirit).

Yes, I loved Borders because they were so customer friendly, offering a free membership card, and numerous promotional discounts. With that gone, it means that I'll rely more on Romantic Times Book Reviews for titles and probably purchase the books at Target or Fred Meyer (when they have coupons or discounts) or mostly online because I can often find discounts at the online stores of Barnes and Noble and Amazon--and I also think Borders (because their online store will still be open).

Sarah Raplee said...

Good question, Judith! I buy books at Barnes and Noble, used to buy from BORDERS, buy from Target, Costco, and Fred Meyers, order paperbacks online,buy from Indie Book Stores, and buy ebooks.

I like the changes. There are more opportunities than ever for writers to connect with their readers and to make money writing.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for stopping by, Vonnie - I even have a subscription to Romantic Times but I can't remember ever buying a book because I saw it reviewed there.

I think that's going to change.

Judith Ashley said...

I agree, Sarah, that there are more opportunities for writers to get their books out there. Maybe where the book is placed on the shelves isn''t as important as it used to be.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Great question! For the most part I buy books as I always have--authors I like, authors who are recommended for me to try, and doing genre searches on B&N.

I bought my first Nook almost three years ago. In the first year I purchased 4 times the number of books I used to buy in paperback. I used to buy around 20 books a year. That first year I bought close to 100 books. It was just so easy to hear about it, look it up, and press buy. That was when I knew ebooks would take over the fiction world.

I've cut back now to only 60 or so (I read about a book a week). I think the hardest thing, as a new author, is getting your name and books noticed. I'm still trying to figure out what the magic combination is for that. If anyone knows, please share. :)

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Judith,

I, too, don't buy books based upon reviews. Why I like RT Reviews is that it lists all the new releases each month. I also like it for the book advertisements. Yes, I read the book reviews but not to determine my purchase based upon a rating. Instead, I read for content, theme, and story. If it interests me, then I'll investigate further. I'll read about it online, or read an excerpt or go to the store and look at the book to decide if this is something I want to invest my time and money in.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Maggie,

I hope I don't end up buying 4 times as many books on my e-reader than I did at the books stores! although, I'd certainly have room for them all and wouldn't have to figure out where to put all the keepers! lol

That's one of the issues for a new author who writes in blended genres - what do we do so that readers can find us? How do we fit in a catagory/list for e-readers, review sites that focus on a particular sub-genre, etc.

Our August Guests had some Great Ideas on promotion and I picked up a couple of ideas to use now while I'm working on the 'getting published' piece.

You seem to be getting the word about "'Expendable" out there! so you've figured some of it out at least.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing how you use RT, Vonnie. I scan through the list of new releases, read the feature articles and sometimes read the review (well, I always read the reviews if I already know the author). I'll pay more attention to those reviews of debut authors now.

Vonnie Alto said...

Reading RT Reviews is the only sure way to know what is published each month. It serves as a catalog for romance. I read it to keep me in the know. It helps me to keep track of favorite authors, authors on the move, to learn of new authors, and to see patterns in publishing. It's an invaluable resource for both the reader and writer of romance.