Monday 8 July 2013

Dealing With Categorization On Amazon For Multi-Genre Works

Upon the release of muted, I had a dilemma. How to categorize it. But I should start off by telling you that muted is a science fiction, cyberpunk, dystopian short story written in verse, which means it’s ultimately a very long poem. So is it poetry? Or is it a short story? I could only choose two categories on Amazon. If I just put it under poetry and short stories, it wouldn’t be very discoverable, because really, who searches for those? So I put it under “Cyberpunk” and “Dystopian” Fiction. You may argue that this is silly, because ultimately, muted is an epic poem.

But did you know that epic poetry stems from the Greek word “epos,” which means to speak or to tell a tale? Homer’s Iliad is an example of an epic poem. So is the Odyssey. And they are stories. For the sake of discoverability I did what I had to do to be noticed. Muted is a story, despite being written in verse. And ultimately, does it really matter what category you put your work in? Writing is art. There are no limits to art.

Do you write in multiple forms and genres and not know how to categorize your work? If so, just ask yourself this: Does it evoke emotion? Does your writing keep me engaged? Does it make me want to read more of it? Does it use vocabulary creatively, avoid cliché, kick me in the gut and make me want to write like you? Does it make me email all my friends and tell them to check out this new and upcoming genius? Yes? Then what have you got to lose?

When the time comes to release your work, put it where it’s going to be seen (within reason of course—i.e. don’t put a hardcore science fiction book in the romance category). Be open-minded. Just because your work is one thing, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be considered another.

Be creative with how you categorize your work.

Get noticed.
Get readers.
Get fans.

*For detailed information on how to get your book categorized in Amazon subgenre bestseller lists, check out Let’s Get Visible, by David Gaughran. I highly recommend this book!

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  1. Oh the trouble of categories. They vex me. Always.

  2. Some of my writing crosses genres, but still retains the main flavor.

    Very good advice, Jessica. The powers that be would like to slot us in nice little boxes of their own making.

  3. My work all falls into one category, but I do wish it was visible elsewhere since some people don't read science fiction - and yet I have a large fan base of people who don't but enjoyed my books anyway.

  4. Very helpful indeed, because I often find it hard to categorise my works as well.

  5. Hi Jess .. I quite agree with you - and what an excellent post explaining it .. and Alex' comment makes absolute sense too ..

    I do hate when we're all lumped into one or two 'categories'/ types etc ..

    We are unique .. our writing is unique .. and as you and Alex note - your books just need to be found and not curtailed by unnecessary restrictions .. on the other hand - I guess Amazon are worried re everyone ticking all the boxes ..

    Interesting .. and good luck with Muted .. cheers Hilary


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