Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's in a Label?

What I'm reading: Rogue's Challenge, by Jo Barrett

In case you're not aware, this is Read an E-book Week. If you're not familiar with reading digital books, this might be a great time to give it a try. A lot of publishers and e-bookstores are making free reads available. Not sure you're ready for an e-book reading device? Try a short story, more easily read on a computer.

The way I see it, digital books shouldn't be thought of as a way to replace print, but rather, to give readers an alternative. A choice.

Onward ... Today at the Y, I got into two very interesting discussions.

Keep Reading...
The first was with a woman who knows I'm a writer. Now, she's an avid reader and volunteers at the library, so it's not that she's someone (although I still can't understand how they exist) who just doesn't read.

She read a few of my Wild Rose Press short stories, but says she doesn't read my genre enough to be interested in trying one of my novels. But today she stopped me and told me I'd be interested to know she was reading a "trashy book."

I smiled and mentioned that we all have our own definitions of "trash", and that there are different levels for different readers. I told her I write what I consider to be mystery books, but because there's a strong relationship that ends on a positive note, they're called Romance, even though they're not the short Harlequin category books, which is what most people think of when you say "romance."

She went on to ask who decided what kind of a book it was. I told her that ultimately, it's the publisher's decision. When Danger Calls is action adventure, and if it was lying on a table, the cover would definitely not say, "This is a Romance."

Finding Sarah is another book that I think is as much mystery as romance. The cover (which I really like) doesn't scream "Romance" either. The sequel, Hidden Fire, which to me is much more of a mystery book, definitely says "I'm a Romance."

Next, I bumped into a couple, also a bit older than I am--but not that much -- who had bought When Danger Calls. The gentleman said he'd read the book and was a bit confused. I asked him to explain. He said he was about halfway through before he realized he just might be reading a ... romance. He enjoyed the book, but we got back into that label discussion I'd just had. (Yes, I did actually work out -- these conversations took place before and after.) His wife has just started the book, and I'm sure she's going to read it differently.

Does it matter what you call it if it's a good story? The gentleman will probably never admit to anyone that he read and enjoyed a ... romance. But he did.

Come back tomorrow -- I'll be sharing part 3 of Cop Humor, provided by "Homicide - Hussey"


queenofmean said...

Hi, Terry. This is the first time I've visited. I was drawn here from the crime scene writers blog. I had to comment when you mentioned you were reading 'Secret Prey' by John Sandford. I love his 'Prey' series. 'Secret' was actually the first one I read. It was passed on to me. I'm reading 'Silent' now.
I need to make a trip back to your blog when I have more time to browse(I'm at work now). You seem to have a lot of interesting things on here. And you like mystery & romance, too. What better place could I find? Take care.

Terry Odell said...

Welcome, and glad you stopped by. I was staying with friends and they suggested Sandford. I read about 30 pages and (being anal me) stopped so I could start with book 1.

My books are all mystery-based. Or romance based. Hope to see you around.