Learn to Categorize Your Damn Books!


It’s hard to please everyone, it’s even harder to please people that do what you do.  However, this week, I found a new pet peeve about writers.

I’m almost finished reading a book called Pawn (and you can’t get it yet… it isn’t published, but it is great… more on that later).  So, yesterday I began using Amazon’s new feature “Top 100 Authors” in a category.  This might not actually be new, but it’s new to me and I decided to use it.  I like blood, gore, guts, heavy plots, action, adventure, and just a hint of spine-shivering.  I popped over to the Top 100 Horror Authors.

Holy Crap!  I expected names like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Blake Crouch, Clive Barker, Joseph Naissee (or how ever it’s spell… I get his newsletter, you’d think I’d be able to spell his name, but there you have it), and JA Konrath/Jack Kilborn.  I wasn’t disappointed almost everyone mentioned was on the list.  I also picked up a couple of books that have real promise (one by a woman, gasp!).

However, between these great names were some books that definitely looked out of place.  Books that had half naked men on the covers and said things like “Blah, Blah, Blah – A Shapeshifter Romance by Person A”

WTF?!?!?!?!?  I’m not much of a romance reader.  Actually, that’s an understatement, I do not read romance, at all, if left to my own devices.  Despite the claim on the cover, it is in the horror genre.  After about three hours of speculation, I bought one of these “horror novels.”

The only aspect that was horrific was the categorization.  Seriously.  It was a romance novel.  If I was going to get specific, it would be an Urban Paranormal Romance novel.  If I was going to be accurate, it was shapeshifter erotica.

And I get it… There are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of urban paranormal romance novels.  It’s hard to get noticed as a result.  There are far fewer horror novels, so it is easier to get noticed.  But it’s book classifications like that, that end up hurting people like me.  I write a sort of rom-com series.  I have an urban fantasy series that has completed.  And then I have the Dreams & Reality Series.  I would not have classified it as horror, until someone with a lot more knowledge on these things and a description of what qualified as “horror” pointed out to me that they met the criteria.

However, it explains why men are very hesitant to try my books.  In the last month, I have had more than 50 men contact me through Facebook to ask if my book was a horror romance.  Um, no, there’s no romance.  Most of them have contacted me after reading either Tortured or Elysium to tell me how surprised they were to read a “horror novel written by a woman that didn’t contain romance.”

This irritates the shit out of me.  There are some great female horror writers, I know, I’ve been reading them lately.  Their books have little to no romance.  They do have some blood, guts, and gore, a plot with some twists, some creepy imagery that will make you rethink some of your daily habits, and most importantly, no half naked men on the cover.

Just because a book contains a vampire, doesn’t automatically make it a horror novel, folks.  Neither does infecting the love of your life with whatever disease or virus you are carrying so that you can be immortal forever (however, I do find the idea of this horrific, because I’m of the mindset that if you know you’re immortal, your maturity level instantly drops… there are no hard choices to make at that point, you can eat the puffer fish that might kill a person if not prepared right or go ahead and bungee jump, because even if the rope breaks, you just pick up the pieces and put yourself back together again and children of immortals are even worse… There’s a reason Zeus acted like a horny teenager in all the myths).  Now, if you have antibiotic resistant bubonic plague and you are injecting it into everyone you meet with said disease, then it’s probably a horror novel.

What I took from this flurry of contact was that these “horror novels” were actually hurting my sales and the sales of every other female horror writer who actually writes horror.  Male readers in categories such as horror, thrillers, and crime, are a decent chunk of the population.  Yet, they automatically look past my books because it has a girl’s name on the cover and as these miscategorized books appear to show, women can’t write horror without a whole lot of romance in them.  Which isn’t true and it’s hard to break the stereotype when I’m staring at covers with half naked men on them.  When was the last time Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Blake Crouch, or any number of male horror writers put a half naked man on their cover?  If you’re like me, you came up with zero.  I don’t remember any with scantily clad women on the covers either.

So, writers, please be kind to other writers and realize that if your book is miscategorized, you are reflecting on other writers in that genre.  And readers, please don’t lump us all together, some of us really do write the genre we say we right.

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7 Comments

  1. T.Vogt

     /  August 11, 2015

    Well if it helps any I think of you as more serial killer catcher then horror…classification fictional crime drama.. but hey I didn’t sign up for the beta reading because I already know I’d piss you off with ideas, you’d have to medicate yourself over….. ;o} Just keep writing I’ll read your stuff between the children’s books that come out of nowhere asking for me to review and the angels what not… just keep in mind there are a lot of us that are sexually frustrated and need the erotica too…why I read anything that doesn’t run away too fast..

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    Reply
    • I have no problems with the genre as a whole, a lot of my friends read romance and erotica. We all like different things. But it would be weird for me to put The Dreams & Reality in the Urban Paranormal Romance category, so I don’t.

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    • Sexually frustrated…….wow, well at least you’re honest. But misplaced sex in a horror novwl can fuck up the tension and make you not take a story seriously. Anyways, hopefully you will conquer your sexual frustrations xD

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  2. Maria D.

     /  August 11, 2015

    And now you bring up one of my pet peeves! Seriously I hate the way people categorize books – I have fallen prey to it several times and it’s really aggravating. I think this is probably the reason some women writers just use their initials and don’t put their faces on their book jackets – or at least that is what I would do to be taken seriously as a horror writer because you are right – men are more reluctant than women to read a book written by the opposite gender.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Hadena James, this blog was awesome …love you for sharing this. When posers get mixed up with the best, they make the best or new comers look bad. I will be honest, I avoid books written by women or even horror written by women because, there is usually an insatiable need to have romance when pretty much everyone is in a shortly situation which recall kills the tension for the horror. But I will give a shout out to I D .Iverson , female writer of THIS WOULD BE PARADISE which is on wattpad and on Amazon .com its not the best but its decent horror. I think writers should stick to the genre instead of destroying it with. Categorising is key

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  4. I must say your humour on infecting people was hilarious

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