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Sorry if it's already been shared but didn't see anything about it. Amazon has made a slight change to their page with romance category keywords. At the bottom, it now says this -

Do not add books from any Romance category to these categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's.

Just an FYI for anyone writing science fiction romance.

Link - https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A19G4ONBAU6NO3
 

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I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I would assume that the notice is because they have been receiving complaints about heavy romance books getting listed in those "as well" - so a supernatural werewolf romance getting listed in 'fantasy' and possible getting top rankings there because Romance sells so well, even though the general idea of 'Fantasy' for most buyers in that category is not a werewolf romance story.

Not saying this is right or wrong, but if Zon gets complaints about sexy times they shoot first and ask questions never.
 

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Interesting.  I do think there's a difference between Romances that are fantasies (like Nora Roberts might write) and Fantasies that have a romance central to the plot (like Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters series).  And since I was recently looking at the top 100 lists for both because I think one or the other is what I'll write for my next series I can say that the distinction does not exist in Amazon's charts right now.
 

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I can definitely see where this is coming from, given that the Military SciFi fans have been complaining for years about Romance taking over their top slots and making the lists unusable. They're generally, as a genre, much more closed-door on sex and in depth on military tactics than, ah, the Romance-SF books that take over tend to be.

Heck, right now #12 in scifi - military - space marine is "mated to the alien" with a nekkid male torso. If that's not a perfect example of wrong category, I don't know what is.

On the other hand, this is going to hit hard on things like Bujold's A Civil Campaign, which is a regency in space, or Catherine Asaro's Quantum Rose, which is a scifi and a romance, and faithfully done to the tropes of each genre.
 

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As someone that reads SFR and fantasy romance, I expect to find them under romance-fantasy and romance-science fiction. I would not expect them to be in the regular SF or fantasy category. That of course goes the other way too, a non romance science fiction novel should not be listed in romance-science fiction either.

But there is so much mis-categorizing going on that as a reader, browsing categories has become pretty useless anyway.

And I have to point out that sex does not equal romance. Its nothing to do with that. There is sex in non romance books. The amount of sex in a book does not determine if something is romance or not. 
 

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Alright then, I'm going to put my fantasy romance just in fantasy.  ::)
 

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But then folks like me would never see you. I never go into the fantasy or sci fi category as I don't read them. But I read Science fiction romance and fantasy romance.

I guess this is a matter of there being just too many darn romances?  :p. Not a new issue though is it. Its always been a pretty big genre with lots of books.  ;D
 

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Considering that Romance has taken over both the Fantasy and Science Fiction Categories, making it very hard to find things that aren't romance, I'm not surprised.
A few months ago I tried searching for a particular scifi genre, and every single result on Amazon was a romance novel. Every single one.
For a scifi topic that wasn't at all romance. I guess people are starting to complain, it has gotten extremely out of hand.
 

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Warning: heavy generalizations follow. I know there are a few, a very few exceptions, but by and large, the following is, I believe, 99% spot-on:

Romance (genre) is like obscenity: you may find it hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Anything with naked torsos is suspect, and so is a romantic embrace cover, because we all know that's cover code for the Romance genre.

Setting is and has always been a subset of Romance, not vice versa. Historical romance is romance with a historical setting, not history with romance thrown in. Sci-fi romance is Romance with a sci-fi setting, not sci-fi with a romance thrown in etc. If it's science fiction with a romance in it, it's science fiction, not Romance. We all know it, and that's why this change needed to be made. Nearly nobody cruises the sci-fi category looking for any sort of Romance, because if they want Romance, they go to Romance categories.

Categories are there for a reason. The definitions are good for discovery, good for consumers. Miscategorizations help nobody. Arguing by extreme, if there were no categories, there would be almost no discovery. The more well-defined categories, the better for everyone.
 

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Even prior to the indie publishing revolution, so many books fell into gray areas between genres that they were difficult to place. Today, it's near impossible, which is a problem for everyone: readers, writers, Amazon. The issue seems to stem mainly from the fact that Amazon's categories still reflect the primary genres of the Print Age, and not what is really out there now. Amazon wants our books to sell just as much as we do, so hopefully they'll tweak their system some more to better reflect reality.
 

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Cora, thus comes the "know it when you see it" principle. Your covers don't scream Romance. They don't look out of place on the sci-fi lists. That's the first hurdle. And "strong romance elements" isn't necessarily romance either. If it's not clear-cut, personally, as a reader and an author both, I'm not going to complain. It's the "taken by the alien shifter" type books that I guarantee are miscategorized.
 

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I can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of a complete overhaul/self-policing movement of all the categories. The reader in me wouldn't mind. The author in me...well, let's see how it goes.
 

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Try having a look at the "Fantasy Romance" category some time, and see why those of us who write actual fantasy blended with romance want somewhere else to put our books. If Amazon wants to overhaul the categories, that would be awesome. But do ALL the categories, not just one.

And give us some sort of option to use a keyword (like magic or swords, both of which are very relevant to my fantasy romance) without putting us in a category we didn't select!
 

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David VanDyke said:
Setting is and has always been a subset of Romance, not vice versa. Historical romance is romance with a historical setting, not history with romance thrown in. Sci-fi romance is Romance with a sci-fi setting, not sci-fi with a romance thrown in etc. If it's science fiction with a romance in it, it's science fiction, not Romance. We all know it, and that's why this change needed to be made. Nearly nobody cruises the sci-fi category looking for any sort of Romance, because if they want Romance, they go to Romance categories.
Even with a generalisation warning, this over-generalises things.

I write sci fi romance and erotica where the sci fi isn't just a setting, it's integral. I'm not writing shifters in space, I see myself following in the wake of such authors as Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, Delaney, Farmer or Sturgeon. A couple of younger classics have also already been mentioned.

This is a silly move trying to deal with something they cause themselves. They need to provide fixed categories for at least military scifi, hard scifi and space opera. They also need to stop pushing erotica authors under the table and man up enough to set up a solid erotica category with parental controls and in-category search functions so that those who want to buy it can navigate and find hard core porn and erotica.
 

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I have to admit that I'm not a fan of romance. It's not a slight against the genre, it's hugely popular for a reason after all, but for me, I dislike it. Which has meant that finding books on most Amazon lists has been a pain for sometime. The only way around this is to type in the search box something like : Sci-fi Science Fiction Fantasy -romance -erotica

This then brings up everything with the above keywords, but excludes any book with romance or erotica in their keywords or categories. Finally, I could find actual scifi and fantasy stories again without all the billionaire shifter naked torso books which just don't interest me.

Putting books in the wrong categories is a huge problem. Romance readers at least will be vocal about any book in their categories that aren't actually romance. As a reader, this change is a good thing. As a writer, this could be the start of a category shakeup that is even more restrictive, rather than actually fixing the categories properly or just putting in a filter so you can exclude certain genres if they don't interest you.
 

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I'm not comfortable with calling 'A Civil Campaign' a scifi-romance. Yes, the character tries to romance a woman. But, Miles Vorkosigan is a character that has been in a long-running series by this point. He just happens to be trying to find a lady friend in this book. The series is most-definitely scifi and has earned its place in the category. I don't know about the others mentioned up thread, but this one isn't out of place.
 
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