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Kitty Pryde
01-24-2010, 08:07 AM
So, it's been brought up many a time around AW, that the African American fiction (although not all of it) and lesbian/gay fiction (although not all of it) are both segregated in their own special sections of the bookstore. On the plus side, the argument goes, people who want to read about African Americans or gays or lesbians can go find the books in one spot. The negative of course is that lots of books are never seen by lots of novel readers who don't venture to these sections. Also the concept that only gays want to read about gays, or only African Americans want to read about African Americans is quite troubling.

ANYWAYS. Today in Barnes and Noble I discovered to my delight that the urban fiction section has been integrated into the fiction section! There were a whole lot of books I had never seen before. I went to investigate and yes, the African American section has only nonfiction books on the subject now.

I think it's pretty exciting. I found some science fiction novels by an author I had always heard about but never ever ever ever seen her books before. By the way the cover was designed I could tell it had just been bussed in from the AA section (sorry, I couldn't resist). Anyway, it sounded really exciting and now she's on my to-read list! And lots of other books will soon find their ways into lots more people's hands and I think it's all just lovely. I told my sweetie and she said, "Praise Barack Obama!" though I don't know that we can thank him for this corporate decision... Anyone else notice any desegregation going on in their local big chain bookstores?



PS The gay and lesbian fiction section is still segregated :(

SPMiller
01-24-2010, 08:24 AM
Really? Where does Delany's work go?

maxmordon
01-24-2010, 08:46 AM
Wow. You have sections dedicated only to African-Americans and Gay & Lesbians on your chain bookstores? Ours don't even bother to separate science fiction from fantasy!

Kaiser-Kun
01-24-2010, 09:32 AM
Wow. You have sections dedicated only to African-Americans and Gay & Lesbians on your chain bookstores? Ours don't even bother to separate science fiction from fantasy!

My stupid bookstore keeps mixing Young Adult with Fantasy. I have to push aside all the books with teenagers riding dragons in a way reminiscent of Homer in the zoo. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRQLyuqMMRI)

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 09:42 AM
Yes!

I've been waiting for the abolishment of genres for so long!


Wait...

Nevermind, this isn't what I thought.


I just want a big fiction section... where literary and sci-fi and romance and mystery and fantasy and thriller and everything else can all sit side by side as equals and co-mingle and all be happy together... is that so much to ask...? :)

Well. This is a beginning! :D

itesser
01-24-2010, 09:46 AM
hooray! I'm glad to hear this. Brings back painful memories of working in B&N several years ago, but still good news!

... there are stores that separate SF from Fantasy?

mlhernandez
01-24-2010, 09:47 AM
I keep waiting for our B&N to move AA fiction--especially romance novels--where they belong, not in some out of the way corner. I will say I was shocked to find not one but TWO copies of Alex Beecroft's False Colors in the romance section when it came out a few months ago.

In my uber-Conservative neck of the woods, this was a huge thing. I couldn't believe it was right there on the new release shelves in romance. Normally I'd have to hike over to that shadowy corner where they stow GLBTQ fiction and nonfiction.

maxmordon
01-24-2010, 09:47 AM
My stupid bookstore keeps mixing Young Adult with Fantasy. I have to push aside all the books with teenagers riding dragons in a way reminiscent of Homer in the zoo. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRQLyuqMMRI)

You have to love Humberto Vélez voicing Homer!


But yeah, my bookstore mixes up Children's Books with Fantasy, so it's kinda funny and kinda sad seeing Lord of the Rings sandwiched between Barbie's Cinderella and that children's book Madonna wrote. (Borges, García Márquez, Quiroga et al don't count as fantasy since they wrote Magic Realism *eyerolls*.

And that's the more "alternative" one, the big franchise one has them without section under poetry books that nobody gives a second look. (And how is the novel section divided? Novels, Latin American Novels and Venezuelan Novels). "facepalm."

maxmordon
01-24-2010, 09:50 AM
hooray! I'm glad to hear this. Brings back painful memories of working in B&N several years ago, but still good news!

... there are stores that separate SF from Fantasy?

If they have AA Fiction and AA Non-fiction sections on the US, I assume they would reach this nitpicking.

Mr Flibble
01-24-2010, 02:06 PM
My stupid bookstore keeps mixing Young Adult with Fantasy. I have to push aside all the books with teenagers riding dragons in a way reminiscent of Homer in the zoo. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRQLyuqMMRI)

Mine has trouble with Pratchett, it kind of wanders back and forth...

Other than that fiction is divided into SFF, Horror, Kids/YA, Crime and Everything Else. And when you're in the mood for some historical about Celts say, and you have to wade through half a ton of chic lit to find it, it can get annoying.

That's good for you though KP. Until I came on this board I never realised that GLBT would be sperarated anywhere ( although it's not exactly prevalent in the fiction on the shelves afaia, it wouldn't be shoved somewhere different), or even those with different ethnicities. It still boggles me a bit that it happens.

Matera the Mad
01-24-2010, 05:00 PM
It's comforting to know that the whole world is having a genre crisis. I feel so much less alone. :D

Ken
01-24-2010, 05:15 PM
... my library segregates AA books. Kinda annoying. When I'm looking for bios to read I have to look through 2 different sections for books, instead of just one, which takes twice as long. To me it makes no difference what ethnicity the person being discussed is. I just want a good book to read. So I wish my library would combine the sections.

kellion92
01-24-2010, 05:16 PM
This is good news, Kitty.

In my bookstore, the MG is being eated by YA paranormals and a huge toy section. I was in there on Wednesday (buying a Barbie coloring book because my toddler had ripped the crayons out of it and started coloring), and the clerk asked if I had found everything I was looking for. I said no, and he was SHOCKED as if I said something rude. But I had looked for five or six new titles and found NONE of them, including the latest Newbery winners and honor books, which I had purchased from Amazon.

aadams73
01-24-2010, 05:52 PM
I just want a big fiction section... where literary and sci-fi and romance and mystery and fantasy and thriller and everything else can all sit side by side as equals and co-mingle and all be happy together... is that so much to ask...? :)


Noooooooo! I really don't want that at all. Separation of the genres makes it that much easier for me to find what I want to read. I don't want to have to flick aside literary novels in order to find fantasy or sci-fi. That's just a monumental waste of my time. I don't want to get a book home and discover it's more romance than mystery. Segregation of genres is helpful to me as a reader.

However, going back to the OP, I don't consider AA or gay fiction to be genres. AA fantasy should be shelved in fantasy. Gay romance should be shelved in romance. That way people who like those genres can consider them along with all the other offerings.

Speaking of AA romance(although technically she's British) I keep pushing Dorothy Koomson's The Chocolate Run (http://www.amazon.com/CHOCOLATE-RUN-DOROTHY-KOOMSON/dp/0751539686). I'm not often a romance reader, but that book was great!

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 06:16 PM
Noooooooo! I really don't want that at all. Separation of the genres makes it that much easier for me to find what I want to read. I don't want to have to flick aside literary novels in order to find fantasy or sci-fi. That's just a monumental waste of my time. I don't want to get a book home and discover it's more romance than mystery. Segregation of genres is helpful to me as a reader.

I'm a weird reader. It's not helpful to me in the least.

What if I want to read a literary sci-fi romantic mystery?

Hmm. I should write one of those.

Mr Flibble
01-24-2010, 06:33 PM
What if I want to read a literary sci-fi romantic mystery?

SFF section.

SPMiller
01-24-2010, 06:45 PM
I'm a weird reader. It's not helpful to me in the least.

What if I want to read a literary sci-fi romantic mystery?

Hmm. I should write one of those.This is close to a description of Hyperion but you'd have to throw in fantasy, too.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 06:47 PM
SFF section.

Which just makes no sense to me. :Shrug:

Mr Flibble
01-24-2010, 06:50 PM
That's just for my local book shop. If it has spec fic elements, it goes in SFF ( at least 95% of the time. Very occasionaly it will be lumped in with Everything Else, but only if the spec fic part is very minor))

Or you could just ask the nice lady behind the counter

ETA: Unless it's a big bestseller, like the Time Traveller's Wife. Then it goes on the chart thing, and because its status as a bestseller has made it 'mainstream', then it goes with Everything Else once it's out of the charts. Because most people don't venture into SFF. SFF gives you herpes or something.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 06:52 PM
That's just for my local book shop. If it has spec fic elements, it goes in SFF ( at least 95% of the time. Very occasionaly it will be lumped in with Everything Else, but only if the spec fic part is very minor))

Or you could just ask the nice lady behind the counter

I'm just the kind of person that doesn't really care what genre a book is labelled as long as I like the writing and the story.

Mr Flibble
01-24-2010, 06:55 PM
Neither do I. But if you're looking for something in particular ( I feel like romantic spacemen today) it makes it a heck of a lot easier to find. Especially when the nice ladies are busy.

SPMiller
01-24-2010, 06:58 PM
There are some genres I won't read, period. Romance, for example, is in general both too formulaic and too happy. It's not the writers' fault, really.

Birol
01-24-2010, 07:13 PM
I'm a weird reader. It's not helpful to me in the least.

What if I want to read a literary sci-fi romantic mystery?

Hmm. I should write one of those.

And how would you locate it on the shelves of a fully integrated bookstore if you didn't know the author or title and was just wandering through looking for something you're in the mood for?

Look, you're not alone or unique in that you read across genres and just want a good read. There are many, many people like you, including me, but when it comes to the business of selling books, if you just throw all the books onto the shelf in some sort of mishmash, most customers are going to say 'Heck with this' and wander to the video store next door because most people, even if they do read across genres, are in the mood for something particular when they're browsing the shelves, even if it is a cross-genre read.

I can tell you, on my hunt for books related to fairy tales or folklore, I would have been very frustrated to have had to go through the entire store in the hope that I might possibly wander across one of them.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 07:19 PM
you didn't know the author or title and was just wandering through looking for something you're in the mood for?

Actually, that's what I do. Wander aimlessly until I find something.

Birol
01-24-2010, 07:22 PM
You're very fortunate to have that kind of leisure time.

KTC
01-24-2010, 07:24 PM
Actually, that's what I do. Wander aimlessly until I find something.

That's what I do too. I actually go through ALL the fiction sections---as if the barriers aren't even there at all!

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 07:27 PM
You're very fortunate to have that kind of leisure time.

Okay, truthfully that doesn't happen a lot; I don't do it often.

Actually, most of what I read, I'm looking for specific titles or authors. Usually ones referenced by other writers in their own works.

Oftentimes, I've looked for a genre writer in the Literature section only to find it wasn't there, and I later discover it in Sci-fi/Fantasy or Mystery or whatever. Which in turn has led me to look for things in genre sections only to find it later in the general Fiction section....

These things just don't work out very me :(


That's what I do too. I actually go through ALL the fiction sections---as if the barriers aren't even there at all!

Yes, exactly. When I do have the time, I'll just go alphabetically through all the fiction sections, and I'll usually just end up wishing they were all put together so I didn't get confused or have to walk across the bookstore to start at the beginning of the alphabet again :)

wrangler
01-24-2010, 07:34 PM
... my library segregates AA books. Kinda annoying. When I'm looking for bios to read I have to look through 2 different sections for books, instead of just one, which takes twice as long. To me it makes no difference what ethnicity the person being discussed is. I just want a good book to read. So I wish my library would combine the sections. I concur.

KTC
01-24-2010, 07:35 PM
Sometimes...and this is embarrassing...I go into a bookstore for '10 minutes'...I come out in a fog of lost memory 6 hours later, hefting a ridiculously large bag to the car...feeling mildly insane, insanely lost and obscenely guilty and feverish.

aadams73
01-24-2010, 08:08 PM
I'm a weird reader. It's not helpful to me in the least.


See, now quite often I just run in there looking for a specific book, so it really is a time-saver for me. I know what I like and what I want. Right now bookstores make that easier for me.

BigWords
01-24-2010, 08:18 PM
Sometimes...and this is embarrassing...I go into a bookstore for '10 minutes'...I come out in a fog of lost memory 6 hours later, hefting a ridiculously large bag to the car...feeling mildly insane, insanely lost and obscenely guilty and feverish.

Hell yeah. Any time I say "ten minutes" everyone knows it isn't worth waiting on me outside the shop and when I return I find myself on my lonesome. The fact that I have a (rough) idea of what I'm looking for doesn't really matter once I'm inside, because there are books which I buy on impulse.

My brother said he's going to throw an intervention for me if I buy more than my body weight in books in any given week.

Jamesaritchie
01-24-2010, 08:59 PM
Everywhere I go, there never has been a segregation problem. Bookstores that have a separate section for such things as African-Americans writers, or gay/lesbian writers have always also included these novels in the genral fiction sections. The "segregated" sections were simply a bonus section so those who want novels by these writers could find them easier.

maxmordon
01-24-2010, 09:02 PM
Hell yeah. Any time I say "ten minutes" everyone knows it isn't worth waiting on me outside the shop and when I return I find myself on my lonesome. The fact that I have a (rough) idea of what I'm looking for doesn't really matter once I'm inside, because there are books which I buy on impulse.

My brother said he's going to throw an intervention for me if I buy more than my body weight in books in any given week.

Heh. I know I had a problem when I asked the price for "Conversational German for the Mandarin speakers"

Birol
01-24-2010, 09:20 PM
I'm at the point I have to sneak any new books into the house.

No, I've had <insert newly released book title> for ages. It was an ARC/in my book bag/I found it stuck in the papers-to-be-filed. Really.

People have threatened to leave me at bookstores if I wasn't out in the amount of time I said I would be.

Libbie
01-24-2010, 09:33 PM
I've been to book stores where the lesbian/gay and African-American novels are segregated, and where they're integrated. I can't decide which version I like more. I'm white and straight, but sometimes even I go into a book store planning to get a really good novel from the African-American shelves, or the gay/lesbian shelves. (This is how I found one of my favorite books, Marlon James' The Book of Night Women, which is really more of a historical novel than anything else.) So I totally understand that it must increase sales for the store, arranging their shelves this way, and it is nice for readers who have specific interests in mind.

However, it's just as nice to browse all the spines and covers and find something that interests you. If you know the names of authors who write the kind of stuff you like to read, obviously this makes it easier. Duh. But I like to spend a few hours cruising through shelves, sifting for tasty tidbits with my book-baleen.

I'm just ticked that "historical fiction" doesn't get its own shelf-ghetto. That would REALLY make it easy for me to find new stuff to read.

Libbie
01-24-2010, 09:35 PM
I'm at the point I have to sneak any new books into the house.

No, I've had <insert newly released book title> for ages. It was an ARC/in my book bag/I found it stuck in the papers-to-be-filed. Really.

People have threatened to leave me at bookstores if I wasn't out in the amount of time I said I would be.

Heh heh -- yeah. My book collection has overflowed my four floor-to-ceiling book cases and is now taking over the dining-room table AND the back seats of the car (the car books are specifically biographies of medieval through Restoration royalty. I found a WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM!) Last night my husband suggested that we celebrate my acquiring an agent by getting rid of old books "we" aren't going to read anymore.

BigWords
01-24-2010, 09:44 PM
People have threatened to leave me at bookstores if I wasn't out in the amount of time I said I would be.

Bolding mine.

Yeah, they threaten to, but do they actually do it? I've emerged with my books to find everyone has abandoned me. Do you have any idea how dumb I feel walking up and down the street looking for them afterwards?

aruna
01-24-2010, 10:12 PM
See, now quite often I just run in there looking for a specific book, so it really is a time-saver for me. I know what I like and what I want. Right now bookstores make that easier for me.

Same here. I like books with a non-American or British setting; that's how I learn about the world. It's always difficult to find the very few books of this nature in the general section; I wish there was an "international" section!
The books I have read recently or are on my TBR pile are about:

the Chinese Boxer Revolution
the Tamil repression and uprising in Sri Lanka
Renaissance nuns in Italy
two books set in Africa, another Sri Lanka one, Sweden, India...

Believe me, it's very hard to find these books in the general section!

So for me this is the prfect solution:

(jamesaritchie)Everywhere I go, there never has been a segregation problem. Bookstores that have a separate section for such things as African-Americans writers, or gay/lesbian writers have always also included these novels in the genral fiction sections. The "segregated" sections were simply a bonus section so those who want novels by these writers could find them easier.
__________________

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 10:22 PM
Same here. I like books with a non-American or British setting; that's how I learn about the world. It's always difficult to find the very few books of this nature in the general section; I wish there was an "international" section!
The books I have read recently or are on my TBR pile are about:

the Chinese Boxer Revolution
the Tamil repression and uprising in Sri Lanka
Renaissance nuns in Italy
two books set in Africa, another Sri Lanka one, Sweden, India...

Believe me, it's very hard to find these books in the general section!

Really? :Huh:

I just glanced at my bookshelves and at least half the books on it that I've gotten from the general fiction section neither take place in America/Britain nor are about Americans/Brits. This is entirely by accident, too. :Shrug: Granted, most of them are by non-English writers.

aruna
01-24-2010, 10:24 PM
Really? :Huh:

I just glanced at my bookshelves and at least half the books on it that I've gotten from the general fiction section neither take place in America/Britain nor are about Americans/Brits. This is entirely by accident, too. :Shrug: Granted, most of them are by non-English writers.


Yes, the ones I have are also from the general section. But I have to go through the whole section to find them. I'm saying that because there is no such section, I have to spend a lot of time looking for these books. I wish there was an international section.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2010, 10:30 PM
Yes, the ones I have are also from the general section. But I have to go through the whole section to find them. I'm saying that because there is no such section, I have to spend a lot of time looking for these books. I wish there was an international section.

Hmm. I'm just saying I don't seem to have any trouble finding them completely by accident. Weird. I hate to be contrarian again (okay, actually I don't) but I'm glad there isn't a different section. I'm happy to just come across them how I do now.

aruna
01-24-2010, 10:39 PM
It's because you aren't looking for them specifically, and only them.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-24-2010, 10:41 PM
See, this is why I love genre fiction--you get all sorts of variety in your cast of characters without even looking too hard. In the YA fantasy section alone (a section I love like candy, though it pains me somewhat to admit it) you can easily find GLBT themes, multiple races, nationalities, and religious backgrounds, all in a quick spin down one shelf. Same goes for horror and fantasy, which I persue with equal fervor.

General fiction tends to lean either towards mystery/thriller or the Great American Novel (whatever that means).

willietheshakes
01-24-2010, 10:49 PM
Sometimes...and this is embarrassing...I go into a bookstore for '10 minutes'...I come out in a fog of lost memory 6 hours later, hefting a ridiculously large bag to the car...feeling mildly insane, insanely lost and obscenely guilty and feverish.

Hell, I walked into a bookstore in the summer of 1990, and haven't walked out yet...

KTC
01-24-2010, 10:51 PM
Hell, I walked into a bookstore in the summer of 1990, and haven't walked out yet...

i know...and that makes me jealous. i always say if i ever win the millions, i'm going to walk into a bookstore and beg for a job.

willietheshakes
01-24-2010, 11:03 PM
i know...and that makes me jealous. i always say if i ever win the millions, i'm going to walk into a bookstore and beg for a job.

That's what they say: you wanna make a small fortune as a bookseller, start with a large fortune.

Kitty Pryde
01-25-2010, 12:11 AM
See, this is why I love genre fiction--you get all sorts of variety in your cast of characters without even looking too hard. In the YA fantasy section alone (a section I love like candy, though it pains me somewhat to admit it) you can easily find GLBT themes, multiple races, nationalities, and religious backgrounds, all in a quick spin down one shelf. Same goes for horror and fantasy, which I persue with equal fervor.


This is true...on the other hand there are loads of fantasy and scifi and mystery and romance novels that you AREN'T seeing on their respective genre shelves because they're stuck in the AA or gay section. If you aren't going looking for them specifically or looking them up on the store computer, you won't see them.


Everywhere I go, there never has been a segregation problem. Bookstores that have a separate section for such things as African-Americans writers, or gay/lesbian writers have always also included these novels in the genral fiction sections. The "segregated" sections were simply a bonus section so those who want novels by these writers could find them easier.

That's not really how it works, though. Certain books, as decided by publisher or store, are shelved ONLY in these african american sections or lesbian/gay sections. Others appear in the general fictions section. It's not the case that a given novel is shelved in BOTH general fiction and the lesbian/gay or AA section. The bookstores just don't have that many copies. For instance, authors like Sarah Waters or Armistead Maupin or Toni Morrison or Walter Mosley end up in fiction, while others get segregated out.

aadams73
01-25-2010, 01:35 AM
i know...and that makes me jealous. i always say if i ever win the millions, i'm going to walk into a bookstore and beg for a job.

If I ever have millions, I'm going to buy my own bookstore. :)

IceCreamEmpress
01-25-2010, 01:41 AM
Everywhere I go, there never has been a segregation problem. Bookstores that have a separate section for such things as African-Americans writers, or gay/lesbian writers have always also included these novels in the genral fiction sections.

I've never seen this, ever, except with best-sellers like Walter Mosely.

But this may be because I live on the East Coast of the US, where shelf space in bookstores is at a premium because floor space is at a premium. I'm willing to believe that in some other parts of the country where rents are lower some bookstore owners might do what you describe.

Generally, if one of the bookstores I go to has one copy each of two novels by, say, Monica Jackson (which would be awesome), both will be in the "Black Writers" section rather than the "Romance" section.

That said, I know an awful lot of people who go directly to the "Black Writers" and/or the "Gay and Lesbian Writers" sections rather than browsing through the fiction sections, so I see why bookstores have them.

KTC
01-25-2010, 02:01 AM
If I ever have millions, I'm going to buy my own bookstore. :)

no. i'd just want to work at one. as much as i wanted to. for free.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-25-2010, 02:05 AM
This is true...on the other hand there are loads of fantasy and scifi and mystery and romance novels that you AREN'T seeing on their respective genre shelves because they're stuck in the AA or gay section. If you aren't going looking for them specifically or looking them up on the store computer, you won't see them.
True enough--I guess the ones that become more successful generally get moved into the genre sections to reach a wider audience.

Shadow_Ferret
01-25-2010, 02:13 AM
I didn't even know they had separate Black and Gay sections.

I just want a big fiction section... where literary and sci-fi and romance and mystery and fantasy and thriller and everything else can all sit side by side as equals and co-mingle and all be happy together... is that so much to ask...? :)



I have a hard enough time because sci-fi and fantasy are combined to find what I want. I don't want to have to sort through all those other genres I don't even care about to find a fantasy book. Personally, in that regard, I don't think it's segregated enough.

kuwisdelu
01-25-2010, 02:25 AM
I have a hard enough time because sci-fi and fantasy are combined to find what I want. I don't want to have to sort through all those other genres I don't even care about to find a fantasy book. Personally, in that regard, I don't think it's segregated enough.

I was walking through the bookstore today and it occurred to me just how much genre fiction was in the general fiction section that could be in the other sections.

aruna
01-26-2010, 02:22 PM
Here's a recent example.
About two weeks ago I was in WH Smith's and saw a novel set in Sri Lanka I thought I'd like. It was a 3-for-2 offer, so I had to find two other novels to go with it. Now to get the books I wanted I had to go to the general section and try to find them. aaargh!

What do you do, pull out each one and read the blurb? Would take all day! I've learnt to read clues from the covers (if they are on a table, or face out on a shelf) and even from titles (they often have the word "sun" in them, or "orchid" or "monsoon" or whatever.) But sometimes there's just no clue.

So yes, having an "international fiction" section would be extremely helpful to me. The term "multicultural" or "post-colonial" fiction is used in the industry, but regretably not in bookshops.

I only read these books at the moment. With very few exceptions (for example the wonderful Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh) they are by authors I've never heard of. Got to support these authors; it's the only way to convince publishers to buy more of them!

So, de-segregation is not always a good thing. It's certainly not the equivalent of ghettoisation or racism. It's mainly to help buyers.

Anyway, I finally found my two other books in Smith's that day. But only after a long search. At least in Amazon you can look for tags. That does help.

maestrowork
01-26-2010, 02:51 PM
I'm in the camp of "hate this." Granted, many books are cross-genres now so it may be harder to separate them out.... still, as a book buyer, unless I know exactly the title and the author's name, I can't find the stuff I want. When I go to BN and see the "Literature" section is now 100 shelves long and grouped by author's name (not subject), I get confused. Now I will have to read through every single blurb and maybe even a few pages just to find out the subject matter or genre. Sure, I do that anyway, but at least in the past, I know it is sci-fi before I even pick it up. Now, I have to see, "hmmm, it's set in 1845 Mongolia... nope, not sci-fi") Multiply that by a few hundred books....

Call me old-fashioned, but when I shop I want to get what I want quickly, instead of walking from aisle to aisle not knowing where the stuff is. Can you imagine the supermarkets just throw all the food items into one giant section and let you sort them out? Where is the rice? Where are the soups? Where are the cereals? Oh, the cereals are now next to diapers....

Um, I don't have three hours to spend roaming the supermarket just to find rice.

NicoleMD
01-26-2010, 07:03 PM
Um, I don't have three hours to spend roaming the supermarket just to find rice.

But would you shelve the brown rice next to brown eggs, just because they're both brown?

Nicole

Christine N.
01-26-2010, 07:22 PM
I don't think our B&N has separate sections, but I mostly stick to the YA section anyway, where everything is jumbled together. But then I usually know what author I'm looking for and go right to that section of the alphabet. I'm kind of with Ray that too much choice is almost at bad as too few.


Also the concept that only gays want to read about gays, or only African Americans want to read about African Americans is quite troubling.



I've been thinking about this and I think I didn't say what I think I meant in the other thread. Not that AA's only want to read about AA's or gays about gays, but that there is a larger audience of that type in general. Does that make sense. Not that they want to, but they often DO buy books of that type because they can relate to the subject matter? They are more likely to buy that book than a book that's not AA, but the pool of readers who aren't AA and read AA or who aren't GLBT and read GLBT is smaller.

Either way, I don't remember evey seeing a separate AA fiction section. Maybe GLBT, but I haven't actively looked.

And I kind of agree with Aruna and others that say maybe this isn't a good thing. Those AA and GLBT will get lost among all the others, and people don't have time to sort through them. So new authors aren't found and bought, and even fewer AA books are published.

It's not 'segregating' but 'classifying'. Libraries do it for ease of shelving, cataloging, and helping patrons to find the books they want, not to separate for any other reason.

BenPanced
01-26-2010, 07:35 PM
But let's not get into how GLBT books are further separated along "gay fiction", "gay non-fiction", "lesbian fiction", and "lesbian non-fiction", leaving you to wonder where th' heck the L and B are in the equation because my head hurts enough as it is...

willietheshakes
01-26-2010, 07:43 PM
But let's not get into how GLBT books are further separated along "gay fiction", "gay non-fiction", "lesbian fiction", and "lesbian non-fiction", leaving you to wonder where th' heck the L and B are in the equation because my head hurts enough as it is...

:headscratch:

Haven't you already accounted for the L?

SPMiller
01-26-2010, 07:45 PM
But let's not get into how GLBT books are further separated along "gay fiction", "gay non-fiction", "lesbian fiction", and "lesbian non-fiction", leaving you to wonder where th' heck the L and B are in the equation because my head hurts enough as it is...Biphobia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphobia), for example, and I think you meant B and T.

DeleyanLee
01-26-2010, 07:47 PM
Yes!

I've been waiting for the abolishment of genres for so long!


Wait...

Nevermind, this isn't what I thought.


I just want a big fiction section... where literary and sci-fi and romance and mystery and fantasy and thriller and everything else can all sit side by side as equals and co-mingle and all be happy together... is that so much to ask...? :)

Well. This is a beginning! :D


Oh, you mean the way it was when I was a child, back in the misty depths of time.

Sometimes I liked it, most times I didn't--like when I didn't have my usual desired 1-2 hours to just roam the shelves and see what appealed to me. As my time became more booked, I've come to appreciate the division--but I do sometimes miss the chance to discover authors and stories the division "keeps away from me".

NicoleMD
01-26-2010, 07:52 PM
And I kind of agree with Aruna and others that say maybe this isn't a good thing. Those AA and GLBT will get lost among all the others, and people don't have time to sort through them. So new authors aren't found and bought, and even fewer AA books are published.


Me personally, I'd rather let my writing stand among its peers (science fiction) and be judged on its own merit rather than the color of my skin. In the science fiction section, my books (one day!) will have an equal shot of being picked up as the next random writer.

Honestly, I'd be heartbroken to have my books shelved in the African-American section. That's not my audience, and that's not what I read. I love reading about people of color in science fiction, but it's science fiction first, and that's where I go to look for it. Putting multiple tags on a book is helpful, and with the kiosks most bookstores, it wouldn't be difficult to build up virtual lists to help people find subsets of books within a larger selection.

Nicole

kuwisdelu
01-26-2010, 07:54 PM
I wonder if I asked for red man fiction if I'd be led to the Westerns.

BenPanced
01-26-2010, 08:08 PM
Biphobia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphobia), for example, and I think you meant B and T.
Yeah, sorry 'bout that. Still reeling over the fact the US ban on imported haggis might not be lifted, after all. Not like B, L, and T are that close together on the keyboard.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2010, 08:10 PM
Dammit, now I want a BLT.

maestrowork
01-26-2010, 08:14 PM
Me personally, I'd rather let my writing stand among its peers (science fiction) and be judged on its own merit rather than the color of my skin. In the science fiction section, my books (one day!) will have an equal shot of being picked up as the next random writer.

Honestly, I'd be heartbroken to have my books shelved in the African-American section. That's not my audience, and that's not what I read. I love reading about people of color in science fiction, but it's science fiction first, and that's where I go to look for it. Putting multiple tags on a book is helpful, and with the kiosks most bookstores, it wouldn't be difficult to build up virtual lists to help people find subsets of books within a larger selection.

Nicole

But what if it's shelved both in the AA and the Literature sections? Those who were interested in AA would find your book, and those who are interested in Lit would find it, too. But the AA section provides a shortcut for those buyers. How would it benefit you, the author, if it's buried among 346 other books of all genres? It'd only work for you if they already know your name (even the title is not good enough -- they will have to do database search to find out who wrote it since the books are alphabetized by author). The AA section could be your way of getting recognition.

My book was shelved under Literature, local interest (in my area), and Romance. No, it's not local interest at all, but I figure people who are interested in local authors could find my book easily, since it's a relatively small section. It's also not really a romance -- not genre romance anyway. But I figure readers who are looking for romance could find that book relatively easily, too.

And I was right. The copies shelved under Local Interest and Romance moved much faster than those in Literature! Let's face it, I'm not a NAME. Any way to move the books is good for me.

I'm all for selling more books and have more people reading it.

Christine N.
01-26-2010, 08:31 PM
Me personally, I'd rather let my writing stand among its peers (science fiction) and be judged on its own merit rather than the color of my skin. In the science fiction section, my books (one day!) will have an equal shot of being picked up as the next random writer.


Being it's SF, I don't think it ever would be, since the genre classification would come first. At least that's where I would put it in my library. Actually, in the library, it would be fiction and come under your last name in the Dewey Decimal system. In a bookstore, like Ray said, you might luck out and get shelving in both locations.

To me AA fiction is literary fiction about the experience of BEING AA or literary fiction written by an AA writer and NOT any and all books with an AA author or AA characters. Literary fiction is such a broad and diverse genre that to NOT separate it out would cause it to be lost in a sea of everything else. Classifying it for ease of finding it.

Kitty Pryde
01-26-2010, 08:44 PM
FWIW, I don't really think that sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, and horror should be lumped in with general fiction. Genres help us find books about the kinds of subjects we like. The part that's troubling to me is when books are separated out by what kind of people they are about. To quote the "White Readers Meet Black Authors (http://welcomewhitefolks.blogspot.com/2008/11/youre-invited.html)" blog,


Welcome readers of all races, shapes and sizes. Here is where you'll be safely, carefully introduced to books written by black people. Now, don't be alarmed. The books are written by black people, but like other books, they can be read by anybody. In fact, we WANT you to read our books. Don't let the fact that publishers and booksellers put us in the back in the special section of the store scare you. They do that because they want African American readers to be able to find us easily, which is a good thing. However, it has come to our attention that it also puts some of the rest of you off.

Aruna mentioned having a hard time trying to find international or multicultural fiction at the bookstore. And I can relate. But pulling all the multicultural novels into a separate shelf in the corner of the bookstore will sell fewer books, not more.

And keep in mind that authors have ZERO control over which section their book ends up in (I mean, unless they only write about straight, white people). You can write The Great American Novel, a work of staggering genius, and if it's about black characters your book can end up in the AA section where almost no non-AA readers dare to browse. That's messed up, is all I'm saying.

And by the logic of "Let's separate books about X people out so X people can find them cause then we'll sell more copies", should there be a section for white people lit, African-American lit, gay lit, lesbian lit, Jewish lit, Indian lit, Chinese lit, Japanese lit, African lit, Argentinian lit, etc.? I just read a book in which all the characters are Laotian, but I fear the Laotian lit section would be really small.

And let's segregate the other genres to make things easier for us. Fantasy and SF got to be separated. Let's break fantasy down into urban, epic, contemporary, and weird. In urban fantasy let's organize by whether the protagonist is a sexy magical creature or a moody wizard. Then let's make subcategories for sexy werewolf, sexy vampire, sexy shapeshifter, sexy demon, sexy angel, or sexy slayer.

And by the logic of "people only like to read about people who are just like them", I'd say I'm pretty hosed because I can't think of a single book about nerdy american jewish lesbians. Feel free to recommend me one.

The point of a section of a bookstore is that the reader might want to read any of the books in it. Yeah, there are readers who only read about knitting-themed sleuths, or exclusively read fantasy novels that have unicorns, or only read literary novels about miserable women who suffer endlessly, but for the rest of us, genres are useful.

The bottom line always being PROFIT, has anyone come across any evidence that ghettoizing the LGBT section or the AA section is more profitable than otherwise?

NicoleMD
01-26-2010, 08:48 PM
Being it's SF, I don't think it ever would be, since the genre classification would come first.

I really hope that's the case, though I swear I've heard of cases where it's been otherwise. I'd choose to be shelved both, it that were an option, but if I had to choose one, it'd definitely be science fiction. If I wrote literary, I'd probably choose the same, depending on the book's best audience.

Nicole

Kitty Pryde
01-26-2010, 09:05 PM
I really hope that's the case, though I swear I've heard of cases where it's been otherwise. I'd choose to be shelved both, it that were an option, but if I had to choose one, it'd definitely be science fiction. If I wrote literary, I'd probably choose the same, depending on the book's best audience.

Nicole

Lots of AA SF/F ends up in SF (Delaney, Butler, Barnes off the top of my head). On the other hand, Tananarive Due's AA SF is in the AA section. I've been an obsessive bookstore browser and never seen her books in SF/F ever. Someone at the publisher made a decision to give her books covers signifying they are "black books" rather than "sci-fi books" and then that's where they end up.

veinglory
01-26-2010, 09:06 PM
I didn't even know they had separate Black and Gay sections.

Which is exactly the issue many authors have with being segregated. It makes their work less accessible to the majority of customers for their genre. A similar thing happens with erotica which is a non-fiction section at Borders right next to "Religion/Spirituality". Having ones erotic romance shelved there is not great for sales, I assure you. Books, IMHO, should be shelved by genre, not secondary themes and characteristics.

willietheshakes
01-26-2010, 09:08 PM
Dammit, now I want a BLT.

I was thinking I wanted a B&T, but then I remembered I wasn't in the drinking thread.

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 01:13 AM
What about a Mac BLT? With fries.

KTC
01-27-2010, 01:22 AM
I wonder if I asked for red man fiction if I'd be led to the Westerns.

doh!

Christine N.
01-27-2010, 02:00 AM
It makes their work less accessible to the majority of customers for their genre. A similar thing happens with erotica which is a non-fiction section at Borders right next to "Religion/Spirituality". Having ones erotic romance shelved there is not great for sales, I assure you. Books, IMHO, should be shelved by genre, not secondary themes and characteristics.

Yeah, that IS weird. My question is this: would the majority of customers purchase the book if it is shelved with hundreds if not thousands of other competing titles? If you know an author, that's great, you'll look for them. I agree that in the case of spec fic, that's what the book should be shelved by and not the author's race, unless someone wanted to ALSO shelve it there in order to showcase it in a more intimate setting where buyers of multicultural books, not necessarily LOOKING for spec fic, might be able to see it.

Nowandays, there are so many titles out there I think you'd want as little competition as possible. People who are looking for AA fiction, AA or not, will seek it out. But we also live in a society of time compression. If they can't find it quickly and easily, they might just pick something else and walk away. If your book is on that easily navigated multicultural shelf, rather than the overwhelming literature section, I would think you would sell MORE books and not less.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:05 AM
(Puts bookseller hat on)

Part of it -- the most significant part, I believe -- is how and by whom these books are published. There are imprints and publishing companies who have as their mandate to publish only AA materials, or only gay materials, or only lesbian materials. They are marketed in the same way, and designed to be sold in that manner. They're not interested in breaking through to mainstream readers: they WANT the books to be segregated. There is a market for "urban fiction" (one of the buzzwords du jour for deliberately AA novels) which is better tapped by separating it out from general fiction. Which is why you'll find Omar Tyee and Kerri Woods in an AA section, and not Toni Morrison -- it's who they're published by, and how they're published, and how they're intended to be marketed.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:11 AM
They're not interested in breaking through to mainstream readers: they WANT the books to be segregated.

I would like to see hard data on this. Because I know many authors and some publishers who explicitly do not want segregation. I know that as I reader I do not want it. I know that as an author I did not want it, and my publisher argued long and hard with Borders against it--and lost. Bookstores seem quick to justify the practice based on what "we" want--but I have never seen data. And given the automated systems of stores like Borders it would be very easy to test.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:15 AM
People who are looking for AA fiction, AA or not, will seek it out.

But people looking for romance, or science fiction, or memoir who don't care a fig about the race of the protagonist will never even know these great books exist. I am a basically "white" person who deliberately checks the often well-hidden AA section, but I bet I am one of not very many. Many others will probably never discover what great authors people like Monica Jackson and Laurinda Brown are.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:17 AM
I would like to see hard data on this. Because I know many authors and some publishers who explicitly do not want segregation.

They're probably not published by these houses, then.


I know that as I reader I do not want it.
You're probably not who they're marketing too, then.


I know that as an author I did not want it, and my publisher argued long and hard with Borders against it--and lost.

Then your publisher is not one of those to which I was referring.


Bookstores seem quick to justify the practice based on what "we" want--but I have never seen data. And given the automated systems of stores like Borders it would be very easy to test.

Bookstores tend to go with what works, as do publishers. "Urban fiction" is as much a genre, a literary niche, as romance or sf/f -- there are publishers who publish JUST that, and readers who go looking ONLY for that.

It's the equivalent of why AS Byatt's Possession and Jane Austen aren't usually shelved in the romance section.

The theory behind it, and some examples, are at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_fiction

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:21 AM
They're probably not published by these houses, then.

I am published by gay only presses

You're probably not who they're marketing too, then.

Half the books I buy are from gay only presses

Then your publisher is not one of those to which I was referring.

No, it is in that category--it (actually "they") just don't think like you expect.

Bookstores tend to go with what works, as do publishers. "Urban fiction" is as much a genre, a literary niche, as romance or sf/f -- there are publishers who publish JUST that, and readers who go looking ONLY for that.

I can tell you from wide shopping experience that most books in the AA section are not "Urban Fiction" -- the main genre I buy from that section is 100% genre romance, much of the rest is erotica, memoir or spec fic. I have a shelf full.

If the section was for "Urban Fiction" there would be no problem. But black writers get their work put there against their explicit request and that of their publishers. Check out Monica Jackson's blog if you want to see specific examples.

Ditto the placing of my book under "sex self-help" despite being a romance book by a romance publisher tagged and requested to be shelved as romance.

It seems to me that if some writers see segregation as a problem, as do some publishers and some customers... you can't just say there is no problem and everyone (or everyone "important") likes things just how they are. It just isn't true.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:25 AM
They're probably not published by these houses, then.

I am published by gay only presses

You're probably not who they're marketing too, then.

Half the books I buy are from gay only presses

Then your publisher is not one of those to which I was referring.

No, it is in that category--it (actually "they") just don't think like you expect.

Bookstores tend to go with what works, as do publishers. "Urban fiction" is as much a genre, a literary niche, as romance or sf/f -- there are publishers who publish JUST that, and readers who go looking ONLY for that.

I can tell you from wide shopping experience that most books in the AA section are not "Urban Fiction" -- the main genre I buy from that section is 100% genre romance. I have a shelf full.

If the section was for "Urban Fiction" there would be no problem. But black writers get their work put there against their explicit request and that of their publishers. Check out Monica Jackson's blog if you want to see specific examples.

Ditto the placing of my book under "sex self-help" despite being a romance book by a romance publisher tagged and requested to be shelved as romance.

Okay.

Feel free to disregard anything I said, then.

As someone who meets with the publishers reps, though, and reads their catalogs, I know how they're marketed and sold to us by a certain set of publishers and imprints. THAT's what I was talking about.

But hey, your personal experience clearly trumps mine, so rock on.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:30 AM
I am saying that my experience is also real. It may be in the minority, but you know, minorities count too. That's kind of the point.

Medievalist
01-27-2010, 02:30 AM
Everywhere I go, there never has been a segregation problem. Bookstores that have a separate section for such things as African-Americans writers, or gay/lesbian writers have always also included these novels in the genral fiction sections. The "segregated" sections were simply a bonus section so those who want novels by these writers could find them easier.

Have you noticed difference in terms of Westerns as a genre, that is, that stores have a Westerns section, either geographically or over time?

Bookstores, indie and chain both, in N.H. and Maine in the seventies and eighties both, had Western sections. The same bookstores now, don't.

And now I'm seeing Horror appear and disappear as a genre section in book stores.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:30 AM
It seems to me that if some writers see segregation as a problem, as do some publishers and some customers... you can't just say there is no problem.

Ah, an edit -- I LOVE those.

First off, you'll have to point out WHERE I said there wasn't a problem.

Secondly, SOME writers, SOME publishers, SOME customers (and I'll add SOME booksellers) see segregation as a problem. OTHERS however, see it as a virtue and a strength and write, publish and market accordingly.

The fact that you and your publisher struggled for inclusion doesn't negate the fact that OTHER publishers and writers struggle for exclusion and segregation.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:32 AM
Ah, an edit -- I LOVE those.

First off, you'll have to point out WHERE I said there wasn't a problem.

Secondly, SOME writers, SOME publishers, SOME customers (and I'll add SOME booksellers) see segregation as a problem. OTHERS however, see it as a virtue and a strength and write, publish and market accordingly.

The fact that you and your publisher struggled for inclusion doesn't negate the fact that OTHER publishers and writers struggle for exclusion and segregation.

"There are imprints and publishing companies who have as their mandate to publish only AA materials, or only gay materials, or only lesbian materials. They are marketed in the same way, and designed to be sold in that manner.."

I read that is an all inclusive statement. I was pointing out that it is not a universal sentiment. In fact in the romance genre I would suggest it is the minority. Romance sales are strong and I would suggest that most romance writers (gay, black or whatever) want to be on those genre shelves.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:33 AM
I am saying that my experience is also real. It may be in the minority, but you know, minorities count too. That's kind of the point.

I thought I was careful enough to stress that there were some publishers who published and marketed with segregation in mind, and that I wasn't speaking of all of them...

Celia Cyanide
01-27-2010, 02:33 AM
I don't really care. *shrug*

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:37 AM
"There are imprints and publishing companies who have as their mandate to publish only AA materials, or only gay materials, or only lesbian materials. They are marketed in the same way, and designed to be sold in that manner.."

I read that is an all inclusive statement.

I wish you wouldn't have.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:37 AM
I thought I was careful enough to stress that there were some publishers who published and marketed with segregation in mind, and that I wasn't speaking of all of them...

I think that is the point, and we agree on it.

The question is, who decides which books get lumped and which get split. It does not seem to be the author, publisher or distributor. Stores get to do what they want, but the supply chain gets to complain (loudly) when they think it is to their disadvantage.

And re: JARitchie's comment--I have not seen romance double shelved. in fact finding a romance book about a black lesbian shows what the trump card is (it is "black" BTW)

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:38 AM
I wish you wouldn't have.

I guess I got it wrong, but it still reads that way to me. I stand corrected.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:40 AM
Stores get to do what they want

Fuckin booksellers. :)

Medievalist
01-27-2010, 02:41 AM
Someone at the publisher made a decision to give her books covers signifying they are "black books" rather than "sci-fi books" and then that's where they end up.

Sometimes at chain bookstores, and an awful lot of indies using inventory ordering software, the cover is not the main reason books are shelved in less than appropriate places.

The metadata assigned *by the publisher* travels with the book's digital data, including the way it's listed in LOC and library systems, and in various book ordering and tracking systems.

B and N have their own system-wide metadata tagging system, and it is possible for authors and publishers to contact them to get the "right" data.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:44 AM
I'll give you an example of why this bothers me. My last novel sold a few hundred copies via Borders stores (not the website, off the shelf). I think it could have sold a lot more. A lot more. Maybe I am niave but here is my reasoning:

It was a high fantasy story--dragons, magic, young man on an adventure and so forth (https://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/p-father-of-dragons). My publisher (Samhain) is all genre with a romance focus. The hero happens to be gay, but the romance is very much a subplot. Where do you think they shelved it? Yes: "Literature/ Fiction - Gay and Lesbian - Gay Fiction"

Why?

I mean, really. Why? Fantasy, shelved as fantasy, with a gay protagonist, is not rare. Mercedes Lackey? Fiona Patton? MZB? Lynn Flewelling? Samhain is a general genre press and they code the book primarily (via Ingrams) as fantasy.

Aargh.

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 02:47 AM
At the same time, my novel sold more shelved under Romance (and Local Interest) than General Fiction.

Go figure.

I think we writers would always have a knee-jerk reaction when stores miscategorize our books. My initial reaction was, "What? It's NOT a romance! And what would these readers think when they didn't get what they expected? I'd be ruined." Well, I wasn't ruined. I sold more books that way, despite what I thought.

The thing remains, my book would have been "buried" in the vast section of General Fiction/Literature. Being put there does NOT tell the readers anything, except my surname starts with a "W." How is that going to help me sell books when the average readers have to glance through the entire section to even see the book's spine?

Genres serve a purpose, whether we agree how our works should be categorized.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:47 AM
I'll give you an example of why this bothers me. My last novel sold a few hundred copies via Borders stores (not the website, off the shelf). I think it could have sold a lot more. A lot more. Maybe I am niave but here is my reasoning:

It was a high fantasy story--dragons, magic, young man on an adventure and so forth (https://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/p-father-of-dragons). My publisher (Samhain) is all genre with a romance focus. The hero happens to be gay, but the romance is very much a subplot. Where do you think they shelved it? Yes: "Literature/ Fiction - Gay and Lesbian - Gay Fiction"

Why?

I mean, really. Why? Fantasy, shelved as fantasy, with a gay protagonist, is not rare. Mercedes Lackey? Fiona Patton? MZB? Lynn Flewelling? Samhain is a genreal genre press and they code the book primarily (via Ingrams) as fantasy.

Aargh.

What was the title?

(Sheesh - I suppose I could have just clicked the link...)

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:47 AM
"Father of Dragons"

http://www.veinglory.com/father.jpg

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 02:50 AM
"Father of Dragons"

http://www.veinglory.com/father.jpg

Is there a reason it's listed on your publisher's site as Gay-Lesbian before Fantasy-SciFi?

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 02:52 AM
"Father of Dragons"

http://www.veinglory.com/father.jpg

I blame it on the cover. It screams: romance! (if not GLBT)

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:56 AM
Is there a reason it's listed on your publisher's site as Gay-Lesbian before Fantasy-SciFi?

On their book store it is the other way around--they are equal categories on that site (love the internet, no need for nesting). It's overall category with them is 'Fantasy with romantic elements'. But honestly I'd live with romance as they category too. But genre-wise it is fantasy>romance>gay.

It is meant to be loaded in Ingrams as fantasy. If anyone is able to double check that for me I'd love to hear back, the sequel comes out this year.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 02:58 AM
I blame it on the cover. It screams: romance! (if not GLBT)

If they went by publisher it would get shelved as romance. I could live with that, I guess. I have nothing against the G/L section, but this book is fantasy genre. That is where I would like it to be--right next to the other high-fantasy-with-gay-heroes-written-by-women. My best chance for a sale is someone who went in looking for Lackey/Patton/Flewelling et al. My cover looks pretty much like theirs IMHO--and that is my niche.

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 03:06 AM
I do agree that sometimes their criteria are too narrow: oh, it has a gay protagonist so it must be in the G/L section; oh, its protagonist is African-American so it must be AA -- say what? Did they even read the blurb?

I'm also surprised how little the publishers have any say in this sometimes. My novel is categorized as general/lit fiction by my publisher but the bookstores didn't seem to care.

willietheshakes
01-27-2010, 03:10 AM
If they went by publisher it would get shelved as romance.

I don't know if that's the case.

If the website is a reflection of their catalog (and I'm not saying it is - note the "IF"), then it's listed as GL first. Even if not, the "some M/M sex" in the description might be enough...

veinglory
01-27-2010, 04:03 AM
It should be listed as fantasy. But only Ingrams knows for sure. The M/M thing line basically so no one can say they weren't "warned" : / The whole book has maybe one page of spicy material.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2010, 04:07 AM
high-fantasy-with-gay-heroes-written-by-women.

Is this niche going to get its own section of the bookstore, too?

:D

Christine N.
01-27-2010, 05:04 PM
I don't know that many WOULD miss the book if it were shelved in with all the other books, only because there are just so may. Not to say that it wouldn't sell a few copies that way; it has as much of a chance as any other book jammed onto the shelf. I'm not saying that a copies couldn't be put in both places. In a perfect world, that would be so. It would be ideal.

But bookstore real estate being at a premium, I would think that any author would want placement where their audience is going to be able to find it quickly and easily. This is a dog-eat-dog business, and if you don't sell quickly, your book winds up in the returns pile.

I'd much rather have my book on the two shelves of YA in my local B&N than in the seemingly neverending SF/F section, even though I write fantasy. It's segregated by age; is that ageism? No, that's a ridculous idea. But I know a ton of adults who WANT to read that kind of book, including myself, so we go to those shelves to find what we want. The choices are fewer, but I can find things much easier than in the SF/F section, trying to sort through it all to find something that appeals to me. Classification helps patrons find the information they want and need quickly. Yes, bookstore browsers do pick up books without knowing the authors beforehand, but if you are one of 150 instead of one of 15,000, your odds go up.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 07:07 PM
Is this niche going to get its own section of the bookstore, too?
:D

No, we are just going to take over the fantasy section... and then the world.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 07:11 PM
I don't think things are lost in the herd. I stand in fant sci-fi and scan every book and there are normally other people there doing the same. In romance the section may be larger but the sub-genres have their own secret language of color and font. So the chance of being seen by a potential buyer there may be, well 10% conservatively. The chance of being seen in niche shelving is more like 1%, optimisitically. If I am a cabbage, I want to be in the vege aisle. That's where my peeps will look for me.

Not to mention that the gay/lesbian section is often so small and well hidden that I need staff help to find it--and the staff member sometimes needs other staff help to find it for me because she didn't know the section existed (true story from a recent trip to Washington, I had to insist several times that they did indeed have such a section.).

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 07:46 PM
I don't know that many WOULD miss the book if it were shelved in with all the other books, only because there are just so may. Not to say that it wouldn't sell a few copies that way; it has as much of a chance as any other book jammed onto the shelf. I'm not saying that a copies couldn't be put in both places. In a perfect world, that would be so. It would be ideal.

It depends on placement. Most books are displayed with only the spine out, so all you get is the title and author's name. If you're not familiar with either, then you most likely will pass on, unless the title really grabs your attention.

Exhibit A: Title is important -- first POS opportunity

The better placement would be cover out, but not many books get that treatment because of limited shelf space. Whenever I see a fellow AWer's book, I ALWAYS move them so they are face out. ;)

Exhibit B: The cover design is very important (themes, colors, mood) -- it should immediately tell the readers what kind of stories they may expect.

Only if you can attract the would-be readers by the title and/or the cover would you have even a slight chance. Nobody cares about the author's name unless you're well known.

Thus, if books are al shelved together by author's name, the named authors would pretty much drown out everyone else because a) they're recognizable and people look for them specifically, and b) their books most likely would be the ones facing out.

veinglory
01-27-2010, 07:58 PM
I started observing my own books scanning behavior a while back. I seem to scan for cursive font, black background and emo titles, and if the cover has a cute guy on it I read the blurb. But on a slow day I have been known to look at every cover in the fantasy aisle... Yes, I am that sad--but I am not alone :)

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 08:15 PM
I started observing my own books scanning behavior a while back. I seem to scan for cursive font, black background and emo titles, and if the cover has a cute guy on it I read the blurb. But on a slow day I have been known to look at every cover in the fantasy aisle... Yes, I am that sad--but I am not alone :)

There's a reason why there are so many shirtless dudes on romance covers...

I have decided no matter what I write (epic war fiction, sci fi, thriller, whatever), there is going to be at least one shirtless guy on the cover.

Christine N.
01-27-2010, 08:24 PM
Will it be you, Ray? (I know it will...)

maestrowork
01-27-2010, 08:49 PM
I don't write Jaba the Hut stories...