The Bad Sex in Fiction Award teaches us several things: first, many novels contain profoundly cringeworthy sex scenes; second, even great writers often flounder when they try to write about sex; and finally, there are plenty of editors who (perhaps begrudgingly, or perhaps because they too are at a loss for how to approach this subject) are letting these giggle-inducing scenes sneak through to publication. This state of affairs might lead us to wonder, Why is it so hard to write about sex? And, more importantly, what can editors do to help?
We all know books are categorized into different genres. There is an official committee that essentially helps publishers categorize their titles. It’s called the Book Industry Study Group, and it creates, activates, and deactivates the current BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) codes. These are exactly what they say they are: codes that define industry standards.
As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
It may come as a surprise, but books don’t magically appear in coffee shops, charming oceanside stores, or locally-owned bookshops. It takes research, phone calls, and actual human interaction to place books in smaller or non-traditional bookstores.
Out of Amazon’s ebook paid sales, 45 percent were romance. And out of all romance sales, an estimated 89 percent are digital copies. So why do romance readers buy so many ebooks?
Building an audience is one of the most important facets of marketing, but if book marketers cannot effectively establish a genre then they cannot establish an audience.