Labelling Our Romance ~ Sunday Spotlight by Beverley


Labelling Our Romance:

Rose Heart Book image

This week’s Sunday Spotlight is by way of a fishing expedition. Last week there was excited ‘twittering’ – myself included – regarding Amazon’s decision to add an LGBT category to the main Romance category. Within this LGBT category Amazon had listed M/M, F/F, Trans* and Bisexual. This had come after much campaigning, protest and suggestion from many, many readers and authors. It was progress of a sort.

Screen shot

So my post was going to be discussing this and asking how this would affect readers and authors etc.

However, when I went to screen shot the listings for this post today, I see that Amazon UK and Canada do not have this category sticking to Gay & Lesbian Romance, as a sub sub category.

Screen Shot Amazon UK

In the UK we then subdivide again to include Trans and Bi. In Canada well they do not sub divide much, in fact even after I had found it for screen shot, I couldn’t find it a second time…to take the actual picture.

I do not know, at time of writing, why this has happened. Who takes the decision to acknowledge Trans* and Bisexual romance one day, but ignore them on other national sites? Perhaps they haven’t got around to changing all the sites…I like to give even Amazon the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it was too difficult for them to distinguish between the books…they seem to have a problem even with gay romance where J.R.Ward’s new ‘BDB’ release is listed, and that is a definite big, butch alpha M/F romance.

I do not know the technicalities of allotting categories to books on-line. Do they have a computer programme that recognises key words and then assigns category? I would love it if someone who knows could maybe leave a comment below… 🙂

This brings up another issue …if keywords are used what about characters in books who are called ‘queer’ or heaven forbid no one labels themselves in a story, and just gets on with life. Of course this doesn’t happen because a publisher has already assigned categories and these are for marketing purposes. Contemporary Romance sells better than Historical Romance or Tentacle Romance sells better than Avian Romance sometimes it seems that random.

When I was looking for the new LGBT category, I enlisted the help of some UK and US friends to check as well. One thing we all agreed upon was the books that could/would be assigned to an all-encompassing LGBT label were very hard to find by using the ‘label’ instead of the title of a particular book. It’s as if they didn’t want a customer to find the books!!

So, reader I married him…Oops no that was something else.

So, what do we think about labelling of books; does it help readers, authors, publishers or Amazon? If you don’t know a title, but want a book in a certain genre/sub-genre, how long would you search? Do you have a better way of dividing books so they can be found easily?

Are you more likely to impulse buy, if it takes a long time to reach your goal on the site of a book-seller?

Why is it so difficult for a bookseller to put genre Romance < LGBT and then sub divide or use an all-encompassing Queer label? Easy for the reader… still hidden from those easily offended eyes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as I just have more and more questions?

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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8 thoughts on “Labelling Our Romance ~ Sunday Spotlight by Beverley

  1. they have actually screwed it up more then before. In the past it was easier to navigate to the M/M romance category. Now I have to look through several categories to find what I want. I don’t search by a book name. I search by overall topic ( say M/M romance) and then read all the book descriptions until one catches my eye. Now I’ll have to search the romance, the sci-fi/Fantasy and other categories. I don’t like the new system. I’m going to put now while I try to find something to read.

    • Sorry I didn’t reply A.L. Boyd…I think I missed your post 🙁 I totally agree with you and wonder who this new system is for – call me a cynic, but I think Amazon wants us to take a long time to find our books so we will impulse buy.

  2. I guess I never search categories. Never thought about it until now, but I apparently am always in search of a particular title or author, so this doesn’t really affect me (as a reader). I see, as Helena pointed out, where it will affect me as an author in the not so distant future.

  3. I browsed the categories, and they seem pretty terrible. The listings for trans are mostly weird self-pubbed erotica. I didn’t see any trans books that I knew about until further down in the listing.

    I normally do not use the categories to search. Mostly I find out about the books I want from Goodreads or Facebook and then get them from the publisher. Amazon is a hot mess these days.

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