The problem with the use of genres is that it attempts to fit a given book or story into a specific box…
Sometimes I’m in the mood for something new. This could be a heroic epic with a sci-fi slant, or an urban fantasy with a hint of romance. The problem, however, is that I often don’t know where to start looking.
Let’s take Amazon as an example. Currently, if I browse the top selling fantasy and science fiction ebooks on my kindle – because yes they’re grouped together 😦 – I get overwhelmed by the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series. Sure it may be a good, and I understand that the recent TV adaptation of Game of Thrones may have generated a lot of interest, but unless I’m looking for political intrigue this just won’t appeal to me.
So where to look? Choose a sub-genre? There are potentially dozens to choose from but they’re all woefully underused. Does this mean that they’re not useful? For new authors I see them as an incredibly useful way to target your niche audience, but unfortunately this does not seem to be a priority of the large retailers.
The solution? Recommendations; trawling through book reviews; following favourite authors; or…? What I need is some way to identify the key features of a story before wasting time reading the blurb, because with a growing selection of books this becomes cumbersome.
Perhaps something visual? Something that can start to describe the books or series without giving the plot away? If the result of this is the development of a system that makes it easier to group books and breaks the ‘one-genre classification’ then ever better.