Friday, October 23, 2009

Same Name . . . Different Genre

First off, let me tell you that I am totally and completely rejected. My last story I sent out was in some cases bluntly put down and in others, beautifully let go. I, naturally, like to listen to the nicer ones, but a rejection is still a rejection. Doesn't mean I'm giving up, though.
Still, being rejected does tend to make a writer/reader wonder, and I know you have too: about those books, those authors, who are out there; who do have their stories published. Yes, it is completely subjective. It is completely at the whim of the editor/publisher as to who gets out there. I'm cool with that (I think). These people (and let's say agents too for the sake of argument) have power, period. They are on the side of 1) themselves and 2)the author. Still, you'd think someone would want to stand up for the readers sometimes. Let me extrapolate...
I've had this discussion numerous times with others about authors who write a particular genre. Say, romance, for example. Personally, I believe that if an author wants to write a different genre, like mystery, it would behoove the author to either have a separate pen name for this switch or to demand the publicity for said book ensures the reader completely understands the genre is different. Am I making sense?
Nora Roberts vs. J.D. Robb is a prime example. I love just about anything written by Roberts, but I know what I'm getting in her books based on the two names. No ugly surprises.
Karen Marie Moning and her Fever books is another. She's written a lot of fantastic romance, but her Fever books are not romance, and she emphatically tells everyone and everything these books are not romance. I like that, I can respect that, and I thoroughly enjoy all she's written as well.
So let's take another author I like. I am a fan of J.R. Ward. Her Brotherhood novels were terrific and even though she did veer off a bit with the story on Phury, I still loved the romance (listen here - ROMANCE) in all the other books. She has out now a new (series?) book called Covet. Naturally, as she's a good read for me, I picked up the book straight off the Romance section bookshelf. After I purchased the book, I was then warned that it wasn't really a romance. Okaaay. I still like her voice and decided to give it a read anyway.
This book is SO NOT a romance, I don't care who says otherwise. A good book, overall, but I'm glad that I had been forewarned. The back blurb is completely misleading, in my opinion, and you could chalk the novel up to having romantic elements, sure, as there are two people who do end up falling in love, but really, their story was not, is not the focal point. Now I'm wondering if (and when) she does continue the story of Jim - who these books really are about - if I'll really want to read them. Not to mention, it's touted as the Fallen Angels, but she doesn't truly explain the fallen angels bit enough for me to nod and say, "oh, okay." Maybe it's just me.
How does this snafu help Ward? Given her name and her success with the Brotherhood, many, many people (such as myself) will automatically buy this story. Good monetarily for all her people involved, too.
How does this hurt Ward? Two ways. One, her current readership will be disappointed and she may even loose readership due to misleading expectations. Two, she is losing a huge potential fan base of people who want exciting fiction but not labeled as "romance."
{Let me note that even though the spine is not labeled romance, but it seems it's been pushed as just that}
Ward is not the first author to fall into this pit and I know she won't be the last, but it's simply what's been on my mind lately.

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