Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This is an issue I've struggled with quite a bit while publishing. How do I categorize my Qol books? (For the purposes of this post, I'll be focusing on Fallacy, but Veracity and Evasion pose similar problems.)

When publishing, I have to select categories for my books. If I hop over to Amazon and pull up the Kindle ebook store, these are the subcategories listed under Science Fiction and Fantasy:

Science Fiction:
  • Adventure
  • Alien Invasion
  • Alternative History
  • Anthologies & Short Stories
  • Classics
  • Colonization
  • Cyberpunk
  • Dystopian
  • First Contact
  • Galactic Empire
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Hard Science Fiction
  • Metaphysical & Visionary
  • Military
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Space Exploration
  • Space Opera
  • Steampunk
  • Time Travel
  • TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations
  • Alternative History
  • Anthologies & Short Stories
  • Arthurian
  • Christian Fantasy
  • Classics
  • Coming of Age
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Epic
  • Fairy Tales
  • Historical
  • Metaphysical & Visionary
  • Myths & Legends
  • Paranormal & Urban
  • Superhero
  • Sword & Sorcery
(As a note, not all of these are available for selection when publishing through KDP.)

I would say that my books are fantasy. The setting is more geared toward fantasy, given the inherent magic of the Colors system as well as energy-magic. But fantasy often omits technology, while I attempt to fuse the two with my mad scientist, Jauge, and other elements in later books. (The tech angle will become more relevant still in the Delving arc, which is currently being rewritten.) Despite this fusion, it's not exactly Urban Fantasy--Fallacy certainly doesn't take place in an urban setting, although allusions are made to such locales. It's not our world with magic behind the scenes--our world's existence is called into question.

It wouldn't fall under the umbrella of Alternative History, Arthurian, Christian Fantasy, or Classics. Is it a Coming of Age story? Well, sort of. But aren't there aspects of that in any story with a young protagonist? I've called it Dark Fantasy before, but that genre is vague enough that I think everyone has a separate interpretation of it.

Epic Fantasy? No, no--that's too broad in scope for Fallacy, even if it might suit the wider worlds of Veracity and Evasion to some extent.

The other subcategories of Fantasy are also right out. They have too many archetypes I don't use.

So what are my Qol books?

They're a touch introspective, putting a lot of emphasis on choice and a character's individual agency as opposed to some grand scheme of fate. Magic is intrinsic to the world and its people, and I use that as a way to look at the underpinnings of society. The story shows a snowballing effect as one tragic decision leads to a vast array of unforeseen consequences--arguably for both better and worse. The characters keep secrets and make a lot of mistakes.

...Probably more than many readers realize, since I alone can shout at my screen at them as they make their bad decisions. "You idiot! If you turn left, you'll avoid (spoiler)!" "No, stop! That (spoiler) isn't actually contaminated, and time is more important than--argh!" "Move! Move, move, move! You can't actually (spoiler)--it won't work for reasons you won't understand until it's much too late!"

I don't want to say that I'm above genres, since I grew up reading the same tropes and storylines, myself. I've inevitably been influenced by the storytelling techniques I read about, even if I can't spot the specific connections. But I do struggle to affix any sort of label to my work. Unfortunately, labels are necessary for browsing readers! I know that I like to know what I'm getting before I invest any time and money in a series.

What are all of your thoughts on genres? Do you consider them useful? Have you found any particularly good ways to categorize your stories (or the stories of others)?

1 comment:

  1. I find genres pretty annoying in general, I would really prefer a tag system for books, where you could pile on a bunch of genres when underneath a larger genre of just "Fantasy" or even just "Fiction". Otherwise they are way to specific too me.

    I'd probably say "Coming of Age" for Fallacy. Growing up is about learning to make decisions and having to deal with the consequences. So it might be the closest fit? :S