Lessons in Book Classification: A lesson I learned the hard way so you can learn the easy way

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Some lessons, I've learned the easy way as a writer. I knew how important from the get-go that covers were important. I hired the one person I knew with design experience to do the Destiny Trilogy covers and I paid what I thought was a lot. In retrospect, I got an amazing deal for those covers. Anyway, that isn't the real point. Because today, we are here to talk about a lesson I learned the hard way.

Book classification.

Now, let me state from the start that I'm really good and knowing genres, sub-genres, and helping to define where books go in any given system. However, I hit a snag with the Taelis series. I wanted a fictional country but I also wanted to pull in some history as well (especially in some of the books later in the series. After all, a lot of authors use this with modern princess stories and it works just fine for them so it would work for this series, right? Spoiler alert, I was wrong.

While a few people like this blending, it confused most of my readers. Some loved the fantasy aspect but then were confused by the historical aspect. The people who loved history just plain hated the books most of the time. It irritated them that it was neither straight-up fantasy or completely historical.

When I decided to have Adventures and Adversities edited, I decided to move the whole series into the non-magical fantasy (or kingdom fantasy) category. I took out all references to the real world (except those that had to do with Jesus and Christianity) and rereleased it.

How can we avoid a mistake like this?

Several friends who had read the book knew that my straddling genres would cause trouble. However, I didn't ask. So I learned that you need to ask your beta readers if they agree with your classification of the book.

Look at books that are like yours. Yes, I was one of those who thought that no one published books like mine. However, when you find books that are like yours, even if they are not exact, pay attention to their classification.

If you are caught between genres, get a lot of opinions before you pick a genre. I know, it's so easy to go with our feeling and think we as the author knows best. It's important to remember that for classification, readers, not authors, need to determine this.

Now, for a fun question! What book did you either read or write that was hard to classify? Why was that? 

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