I got involved in a discussion in a reader group about book choices. It was mostly about why (mostly why they didn’t) read science fiction romance. I was surprised — and not surprised — that these very avid readers were perfectly happy to watch science fiction movies (with romance or not), but rarely picked up science fiction novels, without or without romance.
That discussion spawned an additional one about how reading/watching. Did what they watched match what they read? For some it did, some not at all. So, of course, I had to look at my watching/reading/writing choices. And yeah, they didn’t line up that neatly. I think it’s partly a visual thing. Some things play well on the big screen and sometimes I want the immersion of words. (Another factor for me is time. I can watch a movie in a couple of hours, but reading a book…and I’m a “gulp” reader. If I start it, I have to finish it.)
What I find even more surprising (even though I sometimes do it), is that readers don’t always follow a favorite author to a new/unfamiliar genre.
Because I always make up my science, I am going to make up some reasons about why this happens. (My “test subject” is myself, because well, me is all I’ve got. And I’m already a Jones, so we’ll pretend I’m anonymous, too.)
So…made up reasons people don’t often read outside their genre:
- They don’t want to (might not be entirely made up).
They like what they are reading right now and feel no need to change genre.
What they are reading satisfies their internal read-o-meter (there’s a highly scientific name for this that I haven’t made up yet because it’s Monday). i.e. Reading mysteries satisfies the need for order out of chaos or satisfied our sense of justice being served. Reading adventures satisfies those of us, er, those readers who like adventures, but only fictionally.
Some made up reasons why some people DO read across genres or change genres:
- They just need a change. (I have experienced genre fatigue several times in my reading lifetime.)
They accidentally follow a favorite author to a new genre and discover they like it.
They pick up a book because of a cover, get intrigued by the blurb, and take a risk.
They didn’t realize they were reading a new genre (um, not that I ever did that).
So, you’re probably wondering, where are the questions? She said this was a post about questions. So here are some:
- Have you ever changed genres? Why did you?
How does your tv/movie watching line up (or not) with your reading?
Did you ever watch a movie or tv show and wish you could “read something like that?” (I’m thinking it happens enough for based-on-tv-show novelizations to happen, but do novelizations satisfy your need to match the viewing experience?)
What makes you take a risk on a new-to-you author? Do you ever take a risk on a new author?
Do you wish for more books that are like XXXX but not exactly like XXXX? (You might be ready for a genre switch if you answered yes to this one. I moved from romantic suspense to science fiction romance because RS got too violent for me. I’m edging back again because more mysteries are letting the romance in but still keeping the violence down.)
Does a genre ever get too…something for you, forcing you to look over the fence?
I’m not completely disinterested in this (and not just because I’m a test subject here). I’ve not only wandered among the genres in my reading (historical, historical romance, contemporary women’s fiction, romance fiction, romantic suspense, mystery-comedy, mystery-mystery, science fiction romance, steampunk), but I’ve dabbled in it with my writing (romantic comedy-mystery, romantic suspense, steampunk, time travel, futuristic mystery, and even a bit of dabble in paranormal).
I’ve seen genres I don’t read or write go “hot” with readers (and I still didn’t try them. I should ask myself about that) and wondered why science fiction romance (for instance) hasn’t taken off big time.
Why did 50 Shades of Gray go big, but fictional worlds that have the feel and scope of Star Wars struggle to find readers? I belong to a readers group for mystery and suspense on Facebook, and I started a Facebook group called “What to read while you’re waiting for the new Star Wars.” One is very active (mystery has been very popular for a long time) and the other is looking for readers to wander over and check it out.
If you could match the wonder of Star Wars with your fiction, would you give it a try? Is it the word “science” that intimidates you? Do you know you don’t like XX genre, or do you just think you do?
Okay, that’s a lot of questions, but I did say I was full of them today. I’m curious as an author, yes, but also as a reader. Because I’m always looking for that “next great read,” despite a Kindle bulging with unread books. I love seeing all those books waiting for me. (Is that sadistic?)
Anyway, dear readers, even if you only answer one of my questions, please do! I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.
P.S. One of my risky “writes” is my first attempt at a holiday story. Did I write inside the lines? Um, afraid not. But I love the story. It made me smile to write it. If you feel like taking a reading risk, check out Open With Care.