November 29th, 2011, 05:24 PM
It's my superpower.
Originally Posted by Loerwyn
December 1st, 2011, 12:42 AM
It's not your fault if you are confused. It's the SITUATION's. It's complex and confusing. For instance, until Kat explained it, I didn't realize consciously that publishers in different countries might classify a book Adult and in others Teen.
Originally Posted by Loerwyn
Luckily we have Kat to help us be unconfused - or LESS confused . Or possibly MORE confused as the complexity of the reality more fully impresses itself upon us!
December 1st, 2011, 02:21 AM
We're all confused, yippee!
December 1st, 2011, 11:19 PM
Again, they aren't classifying the book as adult or teen. They're selling it in a market that targets as the first wave adults or teens. In the same way, publishers selling fantasy or science fiction novels in general fiction or the category SFF market are not classifying them as a type of fantasy or science fiction by a book being in either market. All the SFF titles can be sold in either market. This is why identifying distinctions based on the markets rather than the books themselves are inaccurate and meaningless. There is no literary versus genre or commercial. There is no such thing as non-fantasy fantasy, etc. The markets do not control theme and approach and so tell you nothing about those.
Originally Posted by Laer Carroll
December 2nd, 2011, 03:01 PM
Perhaps I'm unusually dense this morning, or your usually clear writing is a bit foggy. At first glance the distinction between CLASSIFYING and SELLING seems arcane and non-functional.
Originally Posted by KatG
I go into a bookstore. I see a line of shelves labeled TEEN. Is that not "classifying"? Is the intent of the store not "selling" those books? Aren't the two acts the same?
My problem is (marginally!) more practical. Soon I'll be uploading THE SUPER OLYMPIAN to Amazon. Do I put in the category (Amazon's term) Teen? Under Teen Amazon has you subcategorize it as Fantasy or Science Fiction.
Or do I put it in SF and Fantasy, subcategory SF, sub-subcategory Alternate History? Or SFF, subcat Fantasy, sub-subcat Alternate History? WHICH IS THE EXACT SAME LIST!
OK, now Barnes & Noble Online has a different way of categorizing books. And publishers and bookstores yet others, though with lots of overlap. My problem at this moment is Amazon.
Maybe the situation at Amazon illustrates that the classifying/selling distinction is a real one.
The Hunger Games series is clearly dystopian perhaps post-apocalyptic SF. Yet Amazon puts it in both the SF and the Fantasy lists.
The Twilight series is clearly fantasy. Yet Amazon puts it in both the SF and the Fantasy lists!
So Amazon is selling it however it can. Hell, maybe they also put Twilight in the Mystery and History and Golfing lists! I know they put it in the Love and Romance list. Though not (through some amazing ineptness?) in Paranormal Romance - which I thought would be a more natural choice than Love and Romance.
Oh, it was so simple when I just had to give birth to a book. Now I have the raise the damned thing all the way through college!
December 2nd, 2011, 06:32 PM
Now you're getting it!
Originally Posted by Laer Carroll
The reason I jumped on the word classifying is that classifying can indeed mean organizing stuff into groups by tabs which would be what they are doing in markets, but people tend to use the word classifying in regards to fiction as identifying the nature of what it is, related to ideas of the essence and themes of all science fiction stories, for instance. And as you see with Amazon, they don't actually do this in the publishing industry.
Amazon makes no distinction between science fiction and fantasy. To them, it's one category and either term will do. The sub-categories that they have available for these things are for the benefit of people who want to label them more narrowly, but as far as Amazon is concerned, it's one big pot. For Amazon, fiction is in the following categories and even those are not set: Children's Books; Teens; Gay & Lesbian (includes non-fiction; ) Literature & Fiction (no distinction; ) Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (no distinction; ) Romance; Science Fiction & Fantasy (no distinction and includes most horror.) Those are the Book Categories to the left.
As we've mentioned before, how much marketing are you aiming at the teen audience? Are they the main audience you wish to reach with this series? Is all the series meant to have main characters who are teens or who look like teens (immortals, gods, vampires, etc.) and be mostly for teen readers, or only some of the books? If it's all, then it would make sense to put them all in Young Adult. If it's some, then you have the option of splitting some of the books into teen and some into adult, or having all of them in adult and going mainly for adult readers while doing some marketing efforts to teens. If Amazon will let you, you could conceivably label them both teen and adult.
From what you've told me about the series, the people with powers who live through history are able to do so because they have alien DNA. That to me is science fiction. But if you want to list it as Fantasy, Amazon is not going to care. They don't care if you put it in Fiction either or Mystery, Suspense & Thriller or Romance. With the indie publishing, they just want bodies essentially.
So the question is what do you want. There are segments of fantasy fans who will not read science fiction. There are segments of science fiction who will not read anything fantasy or certain types of science fiction. But they may not know which you are -- as you noted the Alt History list is the same list -- and many probably won't care. In any type of selling list Amazon does, there will be on actual distinction between fantasy and science fiction titles or fantasy and science fiction teen titles. There probably often isn't any distinction between teen titles and adult titles.
The easiest thing for you to do is to stick the series into the Alt History category. This doesn't stop you from marketing to teens and you may be able to get it into other lists on Amazon set for teens. But if you really want to concentrate on the young adult market, which is certainly a fertile market, then putting it in Teen is logical and putting a Reading Level of 12 and up on it, if you're allowed and Amazon won't make you pay for it, would be a good idea.
You have to consider how you want to talk about the books outside of Amazon or any other vendor's categories. Are you going to talk about it as a teen series, or as two inter-related series, one teen and one adult? Are you going to talk about it being connected to aliens and going into the future and call it SF or are you going to talk about them as magical beings with powers and immortality and say that you worked some SF settings in?
You can say that the books are a fantasy and SF blend, people do, but you'll get asked which it is more and what it is really intended to be. Kameron Hurley, for instance, wrote a post-apoc, futuristic fantasy novel, God's War, but a lot of people want to see the novel as science fiction and it has some military SF fans. She's okay with that, although she was writing a fantasy story and talks about the book as a fantasy story with science fiction elements. So you have to decide -- how are you going to talk about the book, label the book, answer questions about it, etc. You're not locked into one market, but if you try to be too generic about it so that you're unclear, then you may miss readers who are going to be the most interested in it.
Last edited by KatG; December 3rd, 2011 at 04:58 PM.
December 3rd, 2011, 03:31 PM
It is becoming clearer that writing a book and publishing it, in ebook or "pbook" format, is not all an author must do if s/he wants people to read it. Only one in a million books is going to explode on readers' consciousness and become an instant best-seller.
Every book must be marketed, perhaps in a large way, perhaps in a small way. To do absolutely ZERO marketing likely ensures it will plop into bookstores and quickly fade away. But how successful the selling effort is will be decided mostly by the book content itself. All marketing can do is lead readers to the water, erh, BOOKSTORE. No clever or well-funded plan can force readers to "drink."
I'm not just selling individual books. I'm selling a whole franchise of books: the Shapechanger Tales series.
Originally Posted by KatG
THE SUPER OLYMPIAN is the only book which starts with a teen protagonist and follows her through a year of high school. But halfway through she graduates from high school.
That summer she goes to the Olympics, competes there, and trashes a group trying to repeat what Muslim terrorists did in our universe in the 1970's. The rest of the book follows her first two or three years as a superhero, her day job being a fashion model.
(Not as unlikely as it might seem at first glance. Shapechangers can be shockingly, stunningly beautiful. And they don't need makeup or Photoshop to cover up blemishes!)
I don't think most teen readers think about life beyond high school. Nor care about it. It's too foggy a future to care about.
So I think it best to fold OLYMPIAN in with my other efforts to sell the Shapechanger Tales (alternate history) sci-fi series.
Thanks much, Kat and others, for helping me make this decision.
December 18th, 2011, 01:37 PM
I'm having much the same issue with a series I am writing, where I have a variety of point of view characters, of which 7/10 are teenagers. I'm thinking Young Adult, with a look into the perspectives of the few adult characters, to show how they are both not so different and hugely different. I always look at Harry Potter when thinking about my own, not for the success or anything, just for the way the Adult characters became some of the most inportant and well-loved, because the adults around are actually highly inportant. I never went down for the whole 'Kids save the world because kids are reading the book,' angle, I don't find it overly realistic all the time.
The book spans from my protagonist being 16-18, and graduating in the second-to-last or last book. It also deals with a relaionship with an older person, said person being 22-24. I'd like to tackle this in a proper way, the expected regret, concern, thrill, etc.
For you, I'd go for alt. History too. It's so wide-ranging. You can also stick them into Sci-Fi or just, general, Thriller, surely? The thing about Genres is that they crossover and overlap A LOT. I must admit ignorance to many, many factors when it comes to publishing and marketing. For example, does the store/website chose what genre they sell your book under, do you, or does your publisher? Because I've seen several books catagorized in a range of different genres in different locations.
December 19th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Mostly, it's the publisher, which markets to the bookstores, but there have been incidents where bookstores have placed books in a different section or multiple sections, usually because they think it will sell best that way, but sometimes out of mistakes or old habits. One of these is a lousy one -- African-American authors often find their books shunted off to the African-American section instead of in general fiction, SFFH or YA. The establishment of an African-American specialty market was to help promote and display fiction and non-fiction from African-American authors, but it has over the last two decades become unnecessary and something of a ghetto. It's especially not necessary and not what we want in SFFH at this point.
Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein
But most of these shelvings are not as charged an issue. And most of the shelving is done according to which publisher is supplying the book. So the YA section is primarily supplied by YA publishing lines. The SFFH category sections are primarily supplied by SFFH publishers. So if you are marketing a work to publishers, which publishers you select to go to who might then license it is usually the biggest determinent of where your book will be sold in a store.
For people who are e-self-pubbing it, like Laer, this is not an issue as e-vendors like Amazon do not have book shelves and can put as many labels as you want on a book. So the issue there is what keyword tags do you want to have on your book so that the most likely interested readers can find it easily. That's all that categories like YA and SFF are -- markets created to help interested readers find a wide range of books more easily.
December 30th, 2011, 05:11 PM
A well written children's or young adult book can definitely appeal to older readers as well. When I was young, books aimed specifically at older children and teens were generally shelved with the children's books (making it embarrassing for a self-conscious teen/young adult to browse them), and so lots of books with younger protagonists were included with the adult genre fiction (think of some of Anne McCafrey's and Mercedes Lackey's books with teen and young adult protagonists). On my most recent trip to B&N, I noticed and entire subsection of the fantasy and SF area devoted to YA SF and F. Some of the books looked interesting to me as a middle aged adult.
But I wouldn't give up on adult fiction just yet. First of all, some children and young adults do read books written for adults. I know I started raiding my parents' book case and the adult section in the local library sometime around age 11 (and yes, some of those books had 'adult' themes ... it was educational. But then, so did books intended for teens back then too. Remember Judy Blume).
And those kids and young adults who are reading YA stuff now will grow up and (hopefully) continue to read and enjoy a wider variety of offerings.
September 24th, 2012, 06:57 AM
I'm not sure if I represent anything, but even as a teen I read adult fiction and never liked YA/teen fiction back then, and even less as I got older. For example, I stopped reading Harry Potter after maybe 30 pages.
Teenagers aspire to be adults, so having adult-facing (not adultering) characters can be a good direction. Not necessarily dwell in the world of teen or such, but be somewhat younger plunged in the world of adults. There are enough real life examples for this.
September 24th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I haven't seen any Spider-man YA books lately. I suppose there probably are some. I do, however, have a teenager who reads some adult books (she's working slowly through Song of Ice and Fire,) but also reads tons of YA books. She's a firm fan of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Her favorite author is star of YA John Green (not a SFF writer.) She's annoyed because she lent her copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower to a pal and now can't read it before the movie comes out. She studied the YA SF novel Feed by M.T. Anderson in school. She is planning to start the YA Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Many of the writers doing YA also write adult SFF, or have their YA work sold in the adult market in different countries. Some of the YA is being written for 12 year olds, like Harry Potter, and some of it is being written for sixteen year olds. It's a very wide market.
September 25th, 2012, 02:35 AM
That, Ms Kat, was a spammer/bot.
Originally Posted by KatG
September 25th, 2012, 11:57 AM
Well, we've been having a lot of foreign visitors too, so we give certain posts a benefit of a doubt.
September 25th, 2012, 12:44 PM
Sure, but that's still a bot/spammer. The name and homepage give it away.