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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always had my books listed as thrillers, which they are, but I was doing a search for science fiction on Amazon last night, and to my surprise, there were quite a few books that were ones I wouldn't consider science fiction. For instance, Stephen King's 11/22/63. Yes, there is time travel so I guess that makes it fit the bill, but it's not like the time portal is ever explained--it doesn't have a scientific explanation.  There are others like that, and I got to thinking that several of Robert J. Sawyer's books also fall into that realm of real world but something happens to give it a sci-fi twist. (ie, in Flash Forward).

So, my question is I'm wondering if I should put my books in both thriller and science fiction? There is a element that is similar to what King and Sawyer have in that there is a magical camera that shows the future in photos and the main character has psychic dreams. Other than that, the rest of the world is completely 'real'. I had thought they might be paranormal, but I didn't put them in that because when I think of paranormal, I think of vampires, werewolves and that kind of thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just...no? I can't see what the difference is between King's sci-fi element and mine, or Sawyer's use of a flash forward in time.
 

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Take a look at the Western genre. Ostensibly, chasing the big hunky cowboy is now a western story trope befitted to dominate the genre. I think that is stupid as all hell, but there it is.

Someone might ask if a magical realist element of camera wizardry really qualifies for "sci-fi", or they might not. I wouldn't qualify it as a science fiction book, but I'm not the reader nor the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
CaseyHollingshead said:
Take a look at the Western genre. Ostensibly, chasing the big hunky cowboy is now a western story trope befitted to dominate the genre. I think that is stupid as all hell, but there it is.

Someone might ask if a magical realist element of camera wizardry really qualifies for "sci-fi", or they might not. I wouldn't qualify it as a science fiction book, but I'm not the reader nor the market.
The thing is, it isn't strictly thriller either, but there is no category for magical realism or thriller with paranormal elements/sci-fi elements. The description mentions the camera and what it does, so it should be apparent to science fiction readers what kind of sci-fi they are getting. It's not going to be The Lost Fleet series kind of military science fiction, but more along the lines of 11/22/63 or Under the Dome.

I never considered sci-fi before, and dismissed paranormal because of the lack of vampires and other of the elements of that genre.
 
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thriller =/= science fiction

As an avid science fiction reader, it pisses me off when I see books miscategorized in my genre.  Steven King does not belong in science fiction.  George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire does not belong in science fiction.  Anything with a hot tramp-stamped vampire chick on the cover does not belong in science fiction.

Trust me, you're not doing yourself any favors by adding to the problem.

ETA: Just because a book has science fictional elements in it does not mean that it's science fiction.  Lord of the Rings has a love story (two, actually): Aragorn & Arwen, and Faramir & Eowyn.  Does that make it genre romance?

No.
 

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MaryMcDonald said:
The thing is, it isn't strictly thriller either, but there is no category for magical realism or thriller with paranormal elements/sci-fi elements. The description mentions the camera and what it does, so it should be apparent to science fiction readers what kind of sci-fi they are getting. It's not going to be The Lost Fleet series kind of military science fiction, but more along the lines of 11/22/63 or Under the Dome.

I never considered sci-fi before, and dismissed paranormal because of the lack of vampires and other of the elements of that genre.
I understand. Mixing genres is a difficult thing to do when your book's classification is, quite literally, not in your hands. The idea of "picking" genres just, inherently, kinda stonewalls you when you come up with something that's a little of this, a little of that. You might want to just try the Sci-Fi "Alternate History".
 

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One of your categories, FICTION, is super broad (600K+ titles) and seems sort of wasted. Surely you could drill down further within the genre fiction cats and sub-cats and possibly gain exposure in a less-crowded field. The magical/diabolical camera would suggest something other that complete reality (horror? paranormal? sci-fi?). Even your main category of THRILLER is broad. Might you also pick a sub-cat within that? Don't forget that drilling down does not prevent you from hitting the top 100 in the larger/parent categories further up the thread.
 

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I get peeved by blatant miscategorization like ASOIAF under Science Fiction, but if there's a magical, time-altering camera that's integral to the plot, the book at least falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction. Time travel/altering the timestream is very commonly labeled as sci-fi.

I'd need more information. Like, how critical to the story is the time/camera/dream business? Is it a one-off thing that launches the plot, or an ongoing influence on the story? Is much thought given to the impact of playing with time? Basically, is this something SF readers could have fun with?

There isn't a Time Travel SF subcat, but there is one for Alternative History. That could be a decent fit, depending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Edward W. Robertson said:
I get peeved by blatant miscategorization like ASOIAF under Science Fiction, but if there's a magical, time-altering camera that's integral to the plot, the book at least falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction. Time travel/altering the timestream is very commonly labeled as sci-fi.

I'd need more information. Like, how critical to the story is the time/camera/dream business? Is it a one-off thing that launches the plot, or an ongoing influence on the story? Is much thought given to the impact of playing with time? Basically, is this something SF readers could have fun with?

There isn't a Time Travel SF subcat, but there is one for Alternative History. That could be a decent fit, depending.
It is the main element that drives the plot. Because of the camera, he gets into all kinds of trouble, but also uses it to get out of trouble or prevent bad things from happening. There is thought about why Mark has the camera (did it 'choose' him? ) and why it works for him and not anyone else. This is throughout the series, not just in one book. People want the power behind it, or want to possess it for themselves so that it can't be used to prevent the crimes they want to commit.

Thriller has very few subcategories. When I first uploaded No Good Deed in 2010, there were more that we could choose from, but in updating covers and or making changes to fix typos, I lost those other choices and had to pick two. I chose thriller/suspense. For awhile I had it thriller/political, but it's not really political in that there isn't a single politician in the book. (just a politically controversial plot element). However, there must be others out there who like magical realism. When I would shop in Borders, I found many of my books in the sci-fi section even though they weren't about space or spaceships. I read a couple of Sawyer's series and none of them involved space at all.

I understand that someone who writes strictly science fiction might not like that a book that isn't like that would be in the same category. Going by the romance comparison made upthread, I could do that too as there is a bit of romance in my books, but it has more science fiction elements than romance. I could pull the romance from it and still have most of the plot elements remain unchanged. I can't pull the sci-fi elements and still have a book at all.
 
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My comments have nothing to do with my opinion as a writer.  As a reader, this bothers me.  Nothing about your covers or blurbs say science fiction to me.  If anything, it's an action story with a speculative element.  Unless you're speaking specifically to our community, it's not where your books belong.
 

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Joe Vasicek said:
My comments have nothing to do with my opinion as a writer. As a reader, this bothers me. Nothing about your covers or blurbs say science fiction to me. If anything, it's an action story with a speculative element. Unless you're speaking specifically to our community, it's not where your books belong.
Yeah. It's a valid position and one I'm sure many SF readers would share. If so, it's possible that dropping it in an SF cat would result in negative reviews from people who aren't its target audience. That would be the risk. (Or just that no one browsing the SF cat would buy it. :p )

I think Alternative History would be a pretty appropriate category, though. Strictly speaking, that "should" be reserved for stuff like The Man in the High Castle, but I just took a look at what's there and it's a pretty wide mishmash of books. On page one of the pop lists, at least two titles involve time travel; one has the Three Wise Men as vampires or something; monsters attack post-WWII Japan; medieval zombies; Mongols invade Europe; 1984 and Animal Farm for some reason; a few that are more like alternative futures (which strikes me as another definition of "science fiction," but whatever).

On Amazon, it's also a subcat of > Fantasy. Magical realism may be more like slipstream than straight-up fantasy, but I don't know where the lines get drawn. Depends on how broadly you define "Fantasy"--and there's an argument that SF/F/H are all subgenres of fantasy fiction.

The old categories don't necessarily work for indie books that tend to cross genres right and left. I don't like the idea of playing fast and loose with meaningful genre categories. But this book isn't Hunt for Red October. It has a camera that can be used to alter causality. That sounds like spec fic to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Joe Vasicek said:
My comments have nothing to do with my opinion as a writer. As a reader, this bothers me. Nothing about your covers or blurbs say science fiction to me. If anything, it's an action story with a speculative element. Unless you're speaking specifically to our community, it's not where your books belong.
So a camera that shows future photos doesn't make it science fiction at all? Is there a category for speculative fiction? I didn't see one, but I'd be happy to go with that if I could find it. I put my omnibus in the alternative history one in addition to thriller, but it's really only alternative history for one of the books, and that's a stretch. Would paranormal be a better fit?
 

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MaryMcDonald said:
So a camera that shows future photos doesn't make it science fiction at all? Is there a category for speculative fiction? I didn't see one, but I'd be happy to go with that if I could find it. I put my omnibus in the alternative history one in addition to thriller, but it's really only alternative history for one of the books, and that's a stretch. Would paranormal be a better fit?
There is no spec-fic category, no.

Choosing categories is a difficult part of the process for some works. Particularly those that fit within an accepted genre which happens to be absent from Amazon's listings.
 
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MaryMcDonald said:
So a camera that shows future photos doesn't make it science fiction at all?
Does kissing make it romance?
Does nudity make it erotica?
Do guns make it a thriller?
Does a homicide make it a murder mystery?
Does a non-adult viewpoint character make it YA?
Does Victorian drag make it steampunk?

Genre is more than the sum of its parts.
 

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Technically Sci-Fi is anything where technology/science is a/the driving factor in the story, and removing the technology/science would make it not the same story, because a major source of plot points/premise would vanish.

I don't know what the future camera being referred to is, but if it is a device that has some kind of scientific background that is even theoretical, and it is central to how a story works, it IS a kind of Sci-fi.
Sci-fi is not all aliens and spaceships any more than Fantasy is all Elves and Trolls. (Though I admit to having both Elves and Trolls.)

(And I say this as a long-time Sci-fi reader.)
 

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Hi Mary,

I disagree with almost everyone here, apart from you!  If you look at the movie world you have films like Deja Vu, Vanilla Sky, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, et al, all being labeled as Science Fiction, which at their very core - they are!

Simple one word answers from the likes of Joe are not helpful at all and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but Sci-Fi is not all space trekking and alien invasions.  I'm sure Jurassic Park caused a stir when it showed up under Sci-Fi for a while.

Your thriller has elements of science fiction with a camera that shows future photos!  That sounds all a bit Sci-Fi to me, backed up by a possibly exciting story so chuck it under the science fiction category, emphasis the future photo element in the description and test it out.

You'll never know until you try - I change my keywords, tags and categories often until I get the right one that fits the readership. 

Nothing wrong with that and good luck!
 
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