Sunday, March 27, 2011

Categories

I'm a bit flummoxed with Kindle and all their categories.  It seems confusing to me but I have a lot of things on my mind so maybe I'm missing the obvious.  

It did make me think about where to put your book when you're pressed to designate where  it belongs so people can find it.  This post won't be an answer to that question so quit reading now if that's what you're looking for.

What inspired me to do this post is not how fluid Not Low Maintenance is in winding up in unexpected categories but an annoyed 1 star review on BN for the Kate book.  Besides being horribly written, conceived and full of bland characters, there's no romance.  Darn it all, if it's supposed to be a romance, then there should be romance, you idiot writer!

Whee!

I suppose I shouldn't defend my work but sheesh, Kate?  It got me into television.  It was optioned for a TV movie. It was a book club selection.  It was both a hardcover and paperback.  All before this reader was born.

No one ever said In Real Life, I'm Just Kate (now Just Kate) was a romance.  I don't know that there were YA romances then the way they are now and I wouldn't have been interested in writing one if there was.  

So this reader was expecting a romance and was ticked enough to tell everyone not to buy this book because she just wasted a whole 99 cents on it.  Less than what you pay for a ginormous Snickers bar that will give you a pounding headache.  (Does anyone else think that shark focus group commercial is funny.  "Oh yeah, Steve was delicious."  "He had just eaten a Snickers Peanut Square!"  "May I have another taste?"  note blood all over shark's mouth.  Send in the next victim eating a Snickers Peanut Square.  "Eat the whole thing, please.")


Back to the trying to sort thru the categories question.  If you're writing a paranormal, you are already bored with this post and left by now.  Some books are really easy to classify.  Horse books.  Easy.  But even mysteries got hard.  Is it a traditional?  A cozy?  Hard-boiled?  

I know there are writers on the mystery>thrillers>legal bestseller list who see me there with NLM and they're shouting "How in the hell is that listed here?"  Because a character was murdered and there are a lot of lawyers.

Blame it on Amazon.  We need a category called WOMEN'S FICTION.

They seem to do this better in England.  Women's fiction can encompass a wide range.  Here not so much.  Everyone seems confused. Is chicklit women's fiction?  Should there be a category for older women?  (Hen lit in England).  When is a character not a chick any longer?  When does she finally grow up and become a woman?

What do you call it if you're telling the story of someone's life and yes, there's an element of romance but it's about coming of age, it's about underlying conflict with a parent, it's about feeling your way into the world for the first time.  That's Kate.  Kate's not a romance.

We like to pigeonhole everything because like the billboard easily understood when driving past at 60 mph, we don't want to take the time to understand.  Do you get it?  You don't work to "get it" you just "get it".  We all want to just get it and get to to end so we can get to the NEXT thing.

In Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince there's a passage about being thirsty.  And the prince talks about strolling to the well to get a drink of water.  Yes we want the water.  The water is necessary for life but how we get to the water is also necessary for life.

Here's the passage

"Men," said the little prince, "set out on their way in express trains, but they do not know what they are looking for. Then they rush about, and get excited, and turn round and round..."
And he added:
"It is not worth the trouble..."
The well that we had come to was not like the wells of the Sahara. The wells of the Sahara are mere holes dug in the sand. This one was like a well in a village. But there was no village here, and I thought I must be dreaming...
"It is strange," I said to the little prince. "Everything is ready for use: the pulley, the bucket, the rope..."





He laughed, touched the rope, and set the pulley to working. And the pulley moaned, like an old weathervane which the wind has long since forgotten.
"Do you hear?" said the little prince. "We have wakened the well, and it is singing..."
I did not want him to tire himself with the rope.
"Leave it to me," I said. "It is too heavy for you."
I hoisted the bucket slowly to the edge of the well and set it there-- happy, tired as I was, over my achievement. The song of the pulley was still in my ears, and I could see the sunlight shimmer in the still trembling water.
"I am thirsty for this water," said the little prince. "Give me some of it to drink..."
And I understood what he had been looking for.
I raised the bucket to his lips. He drank, his eyes closed. It was as sweet as some special festival treat. This water was indeed a different thing from ordinary nourishment. Its sweetness was born of the walk under the stars, the song of the pulley, the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a present. When I was a little boy, the lights of the Christmas tree, the music of the Midnight Mass, the tenderness of smiling faces, used to make up, so, the radiance of the gifts I received.
"The men where you live," said the little prince, "raise five thousand roses in the same garden-- and they do not find in it what they are looking for."
"They do not find it," I replied.
"And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water."
"Yes, that is true," I said.
And the little prince added:
"But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart..."


What's the rush?

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

2 comments:

Nicole MacDonald said...

Well that's a review I'd ignore immediately - anyone who attacks the author and not the subject gets ignored! Meh to the crazy categorising - I find smashwords just as confusing
The Arrival, Book 1 of the BirthRight Trilogy available now

The Hostess with the Mostest said...

Nicole,
I did take a little dramatic license with her and paraphrased. She didn't call me an idiot outright.

But she meant it! ;-)

BAM