Holly Kennedy, author of two novels already on the shelves, The Tin Box and The Penny Tree stopped by my blog the other day and left this comment.
"How interesting that you write women's fiction (I read your profile)
-- not in a bad way, of course. In a very cool way. It's such a broad,
wide open market that calling it 'women's fiction' seems unfair, don't
I agree with Holly. I sometimes think labels limit a book's potential. I have read countless books that fall under the women's fiction category and while I am a male who doesn't mind reading a book described as such or for that matter a novel with a bare chested man embracing some damsel in distress. I'll read ANYTHING that catches my fancy or is recommended by a trusted friend. However I do not think I am the typical male. Matter of fact I've been teased from time to time by my mostly male coworkers for the books I often read.
This same thing happens with the designations of Literary and Commercial. I read both but I know people who view anything that hits the best seller list as trash. This is not the case, but they will not be caught dead reading Jody Picoult, Janet Evanovich, or John Grisham. Then there are the opposite kind of people who would never crack open a Pulitzer winner. they use excuses like I'm not smart enough to understand that kind of stuff, or it would take me years to read a book like that, or I like something to actually happen in the books I read, all that physcological crap puts me to sleep. Again this is not always the case, but preconceived notion prevent readers form even picking up a certain type of novel.
There are other monikers that I feel limit a book's potential, all the so-called its Chick, Mom, Lad, and so forth. I've read books from all these categories and enjoyed them but only because I read EVERYTHING. Why can't we just say this is a dang good book that will appeal to people who like and list similar,but maybe more well known authors. After all there is no section in the bookstore labeled Women's fiction, or literary, or chick-lit.
Now I understand the need for categorizing romances, westerns, mysteries, Sci-Fi and so forth, but it sure seems to me that everything else puts a limit on your readership. I'm eager to hear my fellow writers opinion on this. Especially you published authors out there who have actually dove into the business side of the publishing world.
All the research in the world can't compare to real life experience. So talk to me. Tell why I'm wrong, or why I'm right.