Many of the books I write are Cross-Genre books, meaning they don’t fit easily into one category of books. Consider my western-sci-fi Thunderation for instance. Is it a western? Well it has Peco Bill in it. But yet, Aliens are trying to attack the earth so it’s sci-fi, unless in your universe that’s real life. It starts of with William’s girlfriend breaking up with him and introducing him to her new boyfriend, but that’s all the Romance there is, so it’s not a Romance. And there’s a puzzle to solve – why haven’t the aliens attacked yet, they said they were going to, so maybe it’s a mystery. However nobody dies (except perhaps some alien bad guys), so it’s not a murder mystery unless you consider solving crimes before they happen to fall into that category. Mostly it’s a Sci-Fi, but also a Western. So which genre do I categorize it under?
Luckily Amazon allows me two genres for paperbacks and e-books. Paperbacks used to only offer one genre, but then kdp took over createspace – long story – and now you’re allowed two genres for your paperback and e-book. These genres can be generic – Western, Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, etc or they can be somewhat more specific. Amazon’s audio book platform (acx) only allows you to place your book in one very generic genre. I’ve been guilty of cheating at times and placing my books in different categories for the paperback, e-book, and audio book. Amazon doesn’t seem to mind so long as those categories are somewhat relevant to the book.
Let’s start by trying to categorize a book along very generic lines. Say you’ve written a book. Things happen in your book which don’t happen in the real world. Is it Sci-Fi, Fiction, or Fantasy?
Here’s how I try to keep things straight. First of all I have a spreadsheet. In this spreadsheet I post which genre folder I have it stored in on my computer. I also check which other possible categories it might be. I also state websites where I have posted it such as GoodReads and if that website allows categories, which category I posted it under. To be complete I would include the genres I posted it under when I published it, but I haven’t done that, yet.
Next, I determine categories as follows: Is it a Children’s book? Many of my Children’s books are about superheroes, so if there’s a superhero it’s probably, but not necessarily a Children’s book. (Note: all of my superhero stories are Children’s books so far.) If it contains wee people it’s probably a Children’s book. Though my Wizard without a Wand Series contains Tomtons which are Scandinavian wee people I first learned about in Astrid Lindgren’s (author of Pippi Longstockings) book – The Tomten.
It’s usually fairly obvious which of my books are children’s books, however my children’s books often contain lots of fantasy. But if they’re Children’s books, I classify them as such rather than as Fantasy.
Fantasy – does it contain magic or parallel/alternate worlds? Sci-Fi – is there space travel or aliens from another world? Romance – is there a Romantic main plot? Many of my Romance books have fantasy in them. Ribo Quadrilobe is about a Robot who falls in love with a Human – well they fall in love with each other. Nanutea is about an Angel falling in love with a Human. My soon to be published first Horror Story – The Landes of the Dzhardes – The Horror Beyond Hell has a Romantic Plot of a Human falling in love with a Demon – well, he’s worse than a Demon, he’s a Dzharde. Sarah involves Space Travel and Aliens, so it’s also a Sci-Fi.
My reference books fall into the following Categories – Spiritual, Computer, Environment (Earth-wise), Food, and Other. Since I also have Spiritual Books which are not Reference books, I keep all of my Spiritual Books in a separate folder for that genre.
When my books cross Genres, I have to consider which Genre is it mostly. Many of my books contain some Romance, but unless that’s the prevalent theme, it goes into a different genre. My Sci-Fi Western Thunderation fell into Sci-Fi.
But limiting to one genre is only for publishing and posting on various websites. When promoting my books, I try to mention all of the various genres in which the book fits. Actor and Author Steve Carlson suggested I do this. He said that’s the only reason he offered to narrate Thunderation for me. Western SciFi caught his eye.