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Silverhand
11-03-2006, 11:01 PM
Hey everyone,

I can now understand why fantasy is such a small market. I was in my Border's this morning and talking with its GM about my own up and coming release.

The subject eventually switched to the Harry Potter series. Mid way through our discussion, she informed me that fantasy novels which include romance, YA, historical, etc etc are not considered true "fantasy" novels. She told me point blank that Harry Potter did not fall under the fantasy category--and that it was YA instead.

Uh...say what? Harry Potter may take place in modern England, but it certainly has friggin elves, fairies, dragons, wizards, a dark lord, and other fantastical themes. And, I understand that it is for a YA audience. That still does not change the fact that it is fantasy.

To put this in perspective, the Harry Potter series has sold somewhere along the lines of 100 million copies world wide.

I mean if, at the drop of a dime, publishers can take away fantasies from the fantasy marketplace and inject them into romance or YA, then of course our numbers suck. What other novels do not qualify? Eragon? Eldest? Roman Fantasy? what other numbers are we losing to different genres?

discuss...

veinglory
11-03-2006, 11:05 PM
I think cause and effect is the other way around. Books likely to appeal across audiences are shelved in a more general area to catch browsers who wouldn't go to the fantasy aisle. See: magical realism etc. This, of course, then contributes to a self-fulfilling
prophecy.

Somewhat relevant blog discussion here: http://madwriter.livejournal.com/420140.html

dclary
11-03-2006, 11:42 PM
By bookstore regulations, only books with cover art by Vallejo and his followers can qualify as Fantasy, unless grandfathered in during the pre-Vallejo era.

FennelGiraffe
11-04-2006, 12:27 AM
She told me point blank that Harry Potter did not fall under the fantasy category--and that it was YA instead.

Uh...say what? Harry Potter may take place in modern England, but it certainly has friggin elves, fairies, dragons, wizards, a dark lord, and other fantastical themes. And, I understand that it is for a YA audience. That still does not change the fact that it is fantasy.The problem with Harry Potter is that they have to choose between shelving it in the Fantasy section or the YA section. If it was in the Fantasy section, the clueless type of parents wouldn't know it was a kids' book. There's a lot of other fantasies in YA, as well. It would help if they would break YA out by genre, but I guess YA isn't large enough to make that necessary.

Higgins
11-04-2006, 12:54 AM
Hey everyone,

I can now understand why fantasy is such a small market. I was in my Border's this morning and talking with its GM about my own up and coming release.

The subject eventually switched to the Harry Potter series. Mid way through our discussion, she informed me that fantasy novels which include romance, YA, historical, etc etc are not considered true "fantasy" novels. She told me point blank that Harry Potter did not fall under the fantasy category--and that it was YA instead.

Uh...say what? Harry Potter may take place in modern England, but it certainly has friggin elves, fairies, dragons, wizards, a dark lord, and other fantastical themes. And, I understand that it is for a YA audience. That still does not change the fact that it is fantasy.

To put this in perspective, the Harry Potter series has sold somewhere along the lines of 100 million copies world wide.

I mean if, at the drop of a dime, publishers can take away fantasies from the fantasy marketplace and inject them into romance or YA, then of course our numbers suck. What other novels do not qualify? Eragon? Eldest? Roman Fantasy? what other numbers are we losing to different genres?

discuss...

I think fantasy is becoming an accepted component of many genres. Certainly it has always been a big part of the YA supergenre.

Summonere
11-04-2006, 04:49 AM
Books are shelved where they will sell.

Euan H.
11-04-2006, 06:13 AM
'fantasy' (element of a book) does not necessarily equal 'fantasy' (marketing category)

Silverhand
11-04-2006, 11:49 PM
I know the marketing side of products well :)

The problem of course is that once you start removing products from a product line...then your numbers will be wildly skewed.

In this case, Harry Potter has sold around 100 million copies. That would take fantasy from a niche market into the mainstream. It would move fantasy from a 3-5% market share into 15%+. Just think about that for a second...one book included in the genre it should be...would take fantasy and make it 3rd largets fiction market.

J. Weiland
11-05-2006, 12:00 AM
Couldn't Harry Potter just be 'Young Adult Fantasy'? There. Problem solved.

Nateskate
11-05-2006, 03:13 AM
When I looked for G.P Taylor books, I was embarrassed when the B&N took into the YA section of the store. The Shadowmancer was on the Best Sellers list.

I really do think that when you say you're writing a fantasy, there's an identity crises thing that takes place. I consider a good Fairy Tale a fantasy.

ChaosTitan
11-05-2006, 03:57 AM
When a book crosses genres, the strongest component of a book determines where it is placed on bookstore shelves. That's why any book that is romance goes into romance, be it contemporary, historical, urban fantasy, or suspense. If a book is Young Adult, it goes into YA, regardless of being fantasy, contemporary, SF, mystery, horror, or historical. You can go to those two sections and be sure that the book has romance, or that the book is YA.

Fantasy has been a strong-selling genre for decades, long before Harry Potter, and it will continue to sell long after HP is relegated to the dusty bargain bins in the YA department.

Euan H.
11-05-2006, 05:00 AM
This has been discussed before (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=364136#post364136)--albeit indirectly. The idea of 'fantasy' being a product line is IMO a little off. Genre boundaries aren't clearly defined; they're fuzzy, and as such, defining works best though exemplars and not through boundaries. Sure, Harry Potter has elements of fantasy in it, but that doesn't mean it belongs in the fantasy section of the bookstore.

What you're saying about it taking fantasy into the mainstream is also off, IMO. Fantastic elements are mainstream. Right now. What about the Plot against America? That's alternate history--about as genre as you can get. Or Fatherland?

Also, what about paranormal romance? Books like this one (http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Belles-Jackie-Kessler/dp/0821781022/sr=1-4/qid=1162687986/ref=sr_1_4/102-0843122-3949736?ie=UTF8&s=books), from dragonjax here at AW. (You should buy it. It's good.) Should they be classed as romance or fantasy?

Like chaostitan said, a genre category refers to the strongest element of a book, and it works through being more/less like the categorical genre member than looking at elements. In the case of HP, it's a YA book (age of protagonist, setting etc.), but with magical trappings. So it belongs in the YA section. :)

evangoer
11-05-2006, 07:25 AM
I think of genres as "tags" -- they're like those little keywords thatflickr (http://flickr.com) and other websites use to categorize objects. A single book could be tagged as "fantasy" and "YA". Or "urban fantasy", "steampunk", and "horror". A genre is just a handy little word to help audiences find books they might like.

However, unlike bits of data on a web site, a book in a physical bookstore usually only sits on one shelf. And as Summonere says above, books are shelved where they will sell. I'm sure Ms. Rowling is very happy that the marketing folks chose the right shelf for her book. :)

veinglory
11-05-2006, 07:34 AM
They actually could cross-shelve books where multiples are kept in stock...

evangoer
11-05-2006, 07:51 AM
Oh, sure, and I'm sure I've seen this in stores. But this only would make sense for certain titles. Cross-shelving *every* book across its possible categories just wouldn't scale.

Euan H.
11-05-2006, 08:18 AM
Unless you had some kind of multidimensional shelving thing going on...

Silverhand
11-07-2006, 02:31 AM
Couldn't Harry Potter just be 'Young Adult Fantasy'? There. Problem solved.

Yea, that is fine with me. I am not against having multi-genre titles. The problem arises on to which platform records the sale. In this instance, HP goes under YA, and the fantasy platform loses out.

Euan,

My answer would strictly be in a sales and marketing sense.

Let me try to explain my take on how much of a disservice our marketing friends do the fantasy product line. Of course, bear with me as I am a no one in the book industry.

Say you owned a business and had concrete numbers that X category outsells every other category by 30%, and that Y catgory pulls a very stable, yet small market percentage.

Now, you recieve a new product that has both X and Y elements, and if marketed properly would reach both the X and the Y demographic. What would you choose? As a smart business person you would choose X simply based off the larger demographic, right? Okay that is reasonable. But, lets say you record all your sales of a dual product under only 1 label. What is the side effect? The side effect is that a product which may have done well in either...and should be consider a source of sales for both....is only being reflected on one side of the books.

So, in this instance, I will use romance as a medium. Romance is known to sell the most fiction titles--something like 45%+. Fantasy is known to be a very stable market with loyal fans...but it only captures a small market percentage. (5%) Now lets say a romantic fantasy comes out and sells 20 million copies. How do both of these markets reflect the change? Well, romance looks like it is just going about its business...expanding and contracting based on quality supply and demand. However, the fantasy market stays stagnant...because those sales which the market is rightfully do are removed. What we truly could be seeing here is romance, in truth, only capturing 35% of the market...while fantasy is actually garnering 25%. Now, if that was the case...more agents...more publishers...and more marketing dollars being spent. In my opinion it is a vicous cycle. If the big boys can pick and choose what fantasy titles are really "romantic fantasy", then the numnbers would be so unaccurate that it actually HURTS the entire fantasy community. Imagine for just one second if "fantasy" did not only sell 5% of all books...but instead was the 2nd or 3rd largest market. It would change how fantasy authors are percieved in general...and take us out of a niche market into what is considered by many to be mainstream.

I also want to point out one more thing, since I directly faced what I am talking about. Before I actually sold my book...I marketed it to publishers as an epic high fantasy. Somehow during all that work...I finally sold my mss as a somewhat christian action/adventure novel. This, of course, means that my high fantasy will not count its numbers with the fantasy market, instead joining the christian market. (Assuming I sell for then 50 copies (: )

I guess my point of all this is: If the sellers dont adjust their mindset..then how do we even know IF a romantic fantasy would sell or not as a traditional fantasy rather then a romance?

Euan H.
11-07-2006, 04:42 AM
... Romance is known to sell the most fiction titles--something like 45%+. Fantasy is known to be a very stable market with loyal fans...but it only captures a small market percentage. (5%) Now lets say a romantic fantasy comes out and sells 20 million copies. ... What we truly could be seeing here is romance, in truth, only capturing 35% of the market...while fantasy is actually garnering 25%.
Um, not really. By subtracting the romantic fantasy sales from the romance genre, you're implicitly stating that that romantic fantasy is a fantasy and not a romance.

So, sure, your calculations work if you assume that any work with a fantasy element should be shelved as 'fantasy'. But that's not a reasonable assumption to make, and so your %s don't work.

Is HP fantasy? Well, it has fantasy elements, but it's not really 'fantasy' in the sense that it should be shelved under the 'fantasy' section in the bookstore. It has more in common with other YA fiction than it does with typical fantasy, so that's where it's shelved. (Usually.)

The Plot against America is alternate history, but do you really think that people who read and enjoyed it are going to enjoy the 1632 novels by Eric Flint? I doubt it.


It would change how fantasy authors are percieved in general...and take us out of a niche market into what is considered by many to be mainstream.
Yabbut, when you say 'fantasy' authors, you mean people who write epic or high fantasy, don'tcha? And books written by those people are not really the same thing at all to Harry Potter, are they?

If the sellers dont adjust their mindset..then how do we even know IF a romantic fantasy would sell or not as a traditional fantasy rather then a romance?
All depends on what you mean by 'romantic fantasy'. Do you mean a high fantasy with a romance? (There's lots of those. Every fricken' farmboy has to marry a Princess...) Or do you mean a romance set in a fantasy world? (Can't say I've read any) Or do you mean a romance with fantastic elements? (Paranormal romance)

Silverhand
11-07-2006, 09:41 PM
Euan,

I am not saying necessarily subtracting from one genre and adding to another. I think that a romantic comedy falls under BOTH categories...and thus should either be relfected on both sides...or neither since it cannot be truly categorized. In that case it should fall under multi-genra literature with a romance theme. As it stands now, it falls under romance and only romance.

No, my assumption is not that it must fall under fantasy and only fantasy. Like I said before, the numbers are being skewed. Because of the size of a given market. books that may be more history then romance, are being given to romance. Books that are more fantasy then YA, are being given to YA. Why, because those markets look more saleable. Why do they look more saleable? Because sells keep changing the true definition of books and feeding other genre titles into them.

There is a big difference between a romance with fantasy features...and a romantic fantasy that is set in another world or even this one...using made up creatures...having magic everywhere. One is a fantasy with romantic themes...the other is a romance with fantastic themes. Again though...both of these fall until multi-genre.

As to HP. I completely disagree with you, but that is ok...we all have our opinions. Harry Potter is a fantasy is the grandest sense. It has a Dark Lord and is epic, it has magic and wizards, it is about the coming of age of a hero (only 95% of all fantasy uses that), etc etc. Now, it MAY or may not be written for young adults, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a true epic fantasy novel. The only reason we are arguing between the fact, is because someone said, "This would sell better to a larger market, so lets sell it as YA and NOT a traditional fantasy." Saying that, they were obviously right...it has worked very well as a YA novel. But, that STILL doesn't change the fact that it is a true fantasy novel that should be reflected in fantasy sales.

C.bronco
11-07-2006, 10:05 PM
Couldn't Harry Potter just be 'Young Adult Fantasy'? There. Problem solved.

That would make sense, but when pitching a book you have to pick the one genre that fits best. That probably carries over to marketing and shelving.

J. Weiland
11-07-2006, 10:40 PM
That would make sense, but when pitching a book you have to pick the one genre that fits best. That probably carries over to marketing and shelving.

I admit to being a tad ironic when I wrote that. ;)

RTH
11-08-2006, 01:08 AM
Even with LOTR & Harry Potter being big hits, fantasy is still considered "weird" by a lot of people, who'll probably avoid the fantasy/sci-fi aisle for that reason. If you stick those books with fantastic elements in other places, I imagine you're more likely to attract the eyes of those types of folks. Maybe that's why??? :Shrug:

Cheers
RT Hogg

Cathy C
11-08-2006, 02:16 AM
This is actually something that was discussed in several panels at the World Fantasy convention this past weekend in Austin, TX. Where to fit the cross-genre books, as well as what makes a book a YA were major issues, because so many early writers fell into multiple genres too: fantasy, horror and SF. This is the centennial of the birth of Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan, as well as one of the staples of the Cthulu mythos.) What makes a fantasy a fantasy? What makes a book a YA versus an adult? Is there an age limit, or is it by content? What is "taboo" in YA?

Several editors, both large and small press, spoke up regarding the reasons for shelving and the elements of YA. Naturally, they discussed cross-genre, from paranormal romance, to fantasy/SF crosses (Dragons of Pern, for example) and all points in between. Overall, everyone agreed that the editor usually makes the determination at the time of purchase, based on elements that resonate strongest with them. Marketing might suggest otherwise, based on what's "hot" in the marketplace, but the editor can (and sometimes does) override that. As others here have said, a lot depends on how many books they think they can sell in a given location. YA is a big market--close to romance in sales, so if they can fit it in there, cool. But adults WITHOUT children seldom venture there unless with a specific purpose, so things will sometimes get moved into mainstream if it appears that adults will likewise enjoy it (such as The Thief Lord by Funke, or HP.)

Every time someone gave an example of what is "taboo" in YA, an audience member would raise a hand to discount it. It got all the way up to beastiality sex for the under-18 set before the panelists gave up and stuck with the "protagonist's age" theory. :ROFL:

There are more horror readers perusing the fantasy aisles of late, and I posted in the horror forum that Fangoria magazine just did a piece on paranormal romance called "Romance Runs Red," suggesting to horror readers that they're missing out by not stepping across the aisle to give these a try. Of course, that just confuses the poor bookstore owners even more. I'm seeing more cross-shelving if the EMPLOYEES think the book will sell to a different clientele. I've found our books in romance (the actual stated category) to fantasy to horror. It's a free-for-all right now, and I don't know that it will change anytime soon.

There weren't any definitive answers at World Fantasy--just the acknowledgment of the issue and a shaking of heads in confusion. But stay tuned. Maybe something will come out of the discussions, since a number of editors were in attendance. :)

Pthom
11-08-2006, 04:00 AM
Or genre categories could be entirely ignored, such as happens in my local library, and just shelve books by author's last name. I find that method particularly inconvenient.

civilian chic
11-08-2006, 05:33 AM
So, knowing the tendency of publishers and bookstore owners to shelve things under the category that will sell the most titles... and who can blame them?... Can't you use that to your advantage? Write for multiple genres (while pitching to a single genre of course) but know that they have to put those books somewhere. Genre-crossing is fine, but categories are necessary.

Unless your goal is changing the system--and Clinton couldn't revamp health care... systems are hard to change-- your focus should be on knowing the system and using it to your advantage.

YA tends to trump all other genre's in my (vicarious) experience, anyway. If the protagonist is under the age of 18, YA eats it up. Fantasy, romance, historical fiction... it's all YA. That's the system.

JimmyB27
11-08-2006, 02:09 PM
I'm sorry, let me see if I've got this straight. Booksellers/publishers are marketing fantasy books according to how they will best sell...and this is a bad thing?

Wha-?

Cathy C
11-08-2006, 08:31 PM
Well, it CAN be a bad thing, depending on what you want as an author. A fantasy author who is shelved in romance because of a marketing decision, for example:

1. Can't enter the book in a genre-specific fantasy award, because of the shelving. And it would have to compete with a much larger pool of "paranormal" titles in romance, which include SF, time travel, vampire, shapeshifter, ghost, etc., etc. This makes it much more difficult to win awards.

2. Might not be able to make the top of a fantasy bestselling list, because it doesn't qualify for the category.

3. If the next book in a continuity series or another series winds up getting shelved in FANTASY, then the books won't show up on the same shelf, causing readers to not realize the other title exists. The more often it happens that the genre is confused, the more difficult it is to sell your backlist.

4. If your numbers don't go up, because you can't keep the readers from book to book (because they're shelved differently,) the author is unlikely to get higher advances with the NEXT book or series. That makes it difficult to advance in the marketplace.

Not every decision an author makes is just about the best location for a particular title. Sometimes the genre you WANT to write has to mean something.

For us, it hasn't mattered much, and I'm happy with what they've done with our books. But I'm hearing from more and more authors that they have concerns about the future of their books. :Shrug:

Silverhand
11-08-2006, 11:18 PM
Cathy am I not explaining this correctly? You seem to be one of the few who truly get the problem.

/sigh

Ok lets try this again...this time I won't use books in my analogy.

Say there was a auto store and inside the store, sales were broken down into two categores: auto parts, which had 400 products, and tires, which is comprised of 37.

Now...you are handed a market synopsis which shows what sales from this particular store look like. To your amazement, the sales look like this: Auto department equates to 75% of all sales, while the tire department comprises only 25%.

So, a new product comes in--a dual purpose tire. It is shiny...and perty. It is everything that a dual purpose tire should be. As the GM, you look at which market is larger...as that is the larger demographic to sell to. Thus, you CHANGE the definition of a tire, and place the Dual Purpose TIRE inside the auto division. And...BAM...this particular tire sells 10 million units, further widening the gap between the auto department and tire department.

Now, imagine for a moment, that as you look back at the sales reports...50% of all the products in my auto line..are not really auto parts...but TIRES. Furthermore, you notice that at one point you stopped shelving tires as TIRES...and instead sent them all over to the auto parts market. This of course increases auto sales and keeps the tire market barren and stagnant.

Now, I ask you what the back lash of this would be?

First, there would be less marketing dollars spent in the tire department, since obviously the tire department doesn't have the sales to merit such resources.

Secondly, there would be less tire distributors, representatives, and manufacturers...based simpy on the fact that the numbers of units sold as TIRES doesnt show that tires are a desired resource.

Finally, it keeps the tire market a small niche within the larger auto idustry...instead of making it one of the giants, which in fact, it is.

Do you see what I am saying here?

This goes beyond mutl-genre writing. I agree with marketing to the largest common denominator. I agree with writing books, if you are capable, that cross multiple lines.

The problem arises when these lines are blurred so much, that one theme of the book loses its identity...gets remade into another identity...and thus loses its sales influence.

Silverhand
11-08-2006, 11:25 PM
PS - I also want to clarify that I am not talking about where they are shelved. I could care less if HP is shelved and marketed as historical fantasy mainstream literary fiction.

The problem is....how are those sales itemized come accounting time. Are they listed as YA...fantasy...or both?

Cathy C
11-09-2006, 04:52 AM
Generally, where they are shelved IS how they're classified. Bookstores run the show, in reality. Agents sell to publishers who shelve similar books in X category. So, let's take the Conan series for example. No question it's fantasy. It has been for nearly a hundred years. But suddenly, what if someone decides to give it a "broader" audience and moves the whole series to mainstream, lock stock and barrel, so it's sorted alpha by author (purely hypothetical, of course.) Does that mean Conan books are no longer considered fantasy?

Yes . . . and no.

For the purpose of accounting and the bestseller lists, it's now a mainstream title. The ISBN tracks the sales in the category the publisher has classified it.

Of course, the shelving doesn't change the contents. The books are what they are. Elements within the book don't have much to do with the shelf. So, they're fantasy books on the mainstream shelves.

Unfortunately, for BRAND NEW READERS, the books are mainstream. They have no way to know any better. So, will picking up a Conan book on the mainstream shelf then lead to that reader discovering Hobb, or McCaffery, Lackey, Cook or any of a hundred other fantasy authors that can give the reader a similar experience? IMO--no. And it does a disservice to these authors, because they get squeezed into a smaller and smaller place in the stores by the moving of important titles into other locations. There's only so much space in a store, and mainstream takes up a large chunk. "Important" titles that are on those shelves means there will be more OF those shelves, and less of other things. The less space there is in the store for fantasies, the fewer books of that genre the bookstore will buy, and the fewer books the publisher will publish the next year.

But now for the other side--does reshelving do a disservice to the Conan books? No, because the series found new readers. That's always a good thing and it's benefitted both reader and publisher (and author's heirs) because often, only stocking the "bright and shiny new books" in a genre relegates the old classics to obscurity. Should Dune, and Conan, and Foundation and Empire disappear to make way for each year's crop of new fantasies? Doesn't moving fantasy titles out into the mainstream give the books a chance at a renewed life?

You see the problem? There's no good solution. I don't know what can be done about it. Every publisher has to make a decision about how to promote their front list while protecting their back list. It's a fine line to tread (and the reason for the animated discussion at WFC.)

I fear this is a problem that will be discussed for a long time without a good solution. :(

JimmyB27
11-09-2006, 02:35 PM
Cathy am I not explaining this correctly? You seem to be one of the few who truly get the problem.

/sigh

Ok lets try this again...this time I won't use books in my analogy.

Say there was a auto store and inside the store, sales were broken down into two categores: auto parts, which had 400 products, and tires, which is comprised of 37.

....

The problem arises when these lines are blurred so much, that one theme of the book loses its identity...gets remade into another identity...and thus loses its sales influence.

Sorry, but all I can think is - the tyres are still selling, right? The tyre manufacturers are still getting their slice.




Well, it CAN be a bad thing, depending on what you want as an author. A fantasy author who is shelved in romance because of a marketing decision, for example:

1. Can't enter the book in a genre-specific fantasy award, because of the shelving. And it would have to compete with a much larger pool of "paranormal" titles in romance, which include SF, time travel, vampire, shapeshifter, ghost, etc., etc. This makes it much more difficult to win awards.

2. Might not be able to make the top of a fantasy bestselling list, because it doesn't qualify for the category.

Awards and bestseller lists wouldn't bother me too much - but I can see how this could be an issue for some.


3. If the next book in a continuity series or another series winds up getting shelved in FANTASY, then the books won't show up on the same shelf, causing readers to not realize the other title exists. The more often it happens that the genre is confused, the more difficult it is to sell your backlist.

4. If your numbers don't go up, because you can't keep the readers from book to book (because they're shelved differently,) the author is unlikely to get higher advances with the NEXT book or series. That makes it difficult to advance in the marketplace.

Could be an issue, but most books list the author's other works inside, and this is how I usually find out about them.


Unfortunately, for BRAND NEW READERS, the books are mainstream. They have no way to know any better. So, will picking up a Conan book on the mainstream shelf then lead to that reader discovering Hobb, or McCaffery, Lackey, Cook or any of a hundred other fantasy authors that can give the reader a similar experience? IMO--no.

Maybe, although I'm not convinced that this is how most readers find new authors. Certainly no-one I know does. It's all about word of mouth. Someone tells me about a good book, I go read it.
I did once buy a book on a whim like this, and soon wished I hadn't

Ryvah
11-28-2006, 04:36 AM
I'm an 8th grade English teacher and I really don't know why YA hasn't been broken down into genre categories yet either. It's such a monstrous (and really rewarding) grouping in its own right that it would make my life easier if the books were in genre break downs. Fantasy is huge in the YA community. A lot of that has to do with the movies (TLOR and HP), but I'll take what I can get. If it gets kids to open books, I'm all for it. The kids come up to me and tell me they like a certain book, are there more like it? I'd love to be able to point them to a genre section and tell them to go for it. By the way, on a side note, does anyone know any kid-friendly books that are "like" the Cirque de Freak books? They're flying off my shelves and my boys are running out of things to read!

I think the popularity of cross-genre books is also contributing to the shrinking of our section. No one knows where to shelve the things. The last time I went to Borders there were the usuals--Anthony, McCaffrey, Eddings, etc-- and a ton of those media tie-in books and WOTC offerings. I've been browsing the horror, romance, and even mystery sections lately. Anyway, that's my two cents.

Matt
11-28-2006, 05:00 PM
Clive Barker - a respected writer of all things fantastic - gave a decent speech on the whole genre thing, which can be read here (http://www.clivebarker.info/newsfantasycon2.html).

My book, The Secret War (http://www.mfwcurran.com/pg2_tsw.html), is a cross-over title - of history and fantasy, but there's also horror in it, there's action-adventure, there's a dab of religion, yet I'm pretty certain it will be listed in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of the bookshops here in the UK. Am I bothered? A little, but not overly, because the book is being marketed properly and not being restricted. (Bookshops are not the only means to sell your books...);)

As I see it, a book is a book, and is a sum of itself. It has romance in it, or it doesn’t. It has fantasy in it, or it doesn’t. We all make little compartments for ourselves and others because it is safe – but truly this is the wrong way to look at any art, yet it also sells. If a book is marketed properly, the fantasy readership will not be the only audience interested in it. If not, then yes, the market share will be quite, quite small.

RTH
11-28-2006, 08:47 PM
Mr. Barker's gotten it right -- most times, when you use the word "genre," there's an instant assumption that you're going to be reading a piece of pulp and not art. It's put a close fence around a lot of authors who deserve to be more widely read.

yanallefish
11-29-2006, 12:15 AM
Ok, I see what y'all say, but then there's a problem - say you're somebody who, like me, is going from the short-story market into the book/novel/ebook market. (or at least trying to*g*)

In the ss market, in case someone has missed it, editors of magazines can get pretty picky as to what they want - they've invented extremes of "genres" to submit to, with regards to what they'll take for said magazine, and well that's that. I've seen "speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy" but I've also seen "dark fantasy but no vampires or ghost stories" and "dark sf but no aliens or dystopian societies".

So then, if I go into the book etc market, how in heck do I try to market a thing then? At the moment I've simply had the luck to land in an ebook publisher's place that is new, and therefore looking for all sorts of different stuff. But if I try hard-copy books, then how does this change??