The Meaning of Genres, with guest Sarah Butland, author of Arm Farm

My blog is taking a different twist again this week. I’m pleased to welcome Sarah Butland. She wrote a very interesting article which I hope everyone will enjoy and learn from.  So without further ado… take it away, Sarah.

The Meaning of Genres

Like shelving footwear according to colour, it’s often difficult to sell a book if it’s not on the right shelf or in the correct category in an online market.

So many books get lost or missed because they are on a shelf you may ignore. A story about dragons and wizards may not be your first choice but the same tale can appeal to lovers of romance or mystery if they focus on the plot. It’s important to give each book a chance even if the chance is glancing at the front or reading the back cover but how do we do that if we don’t click on that genre?

Authors are bridging gaps between fantasy, mystery, romance and reality similar to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series reading a whole lot differently for children and adults. As well, who thought religion could be taught with a fantasy land and a talking lion while still being something a lot of picture book readers easily grasped?

We all have our preference and that’s ok and stores have to be organized somehow and by genre certainly may be the easiest way. I know I wouldn’t want to scroll through books looking for a mystery and finding cookbooks along the way and yet, depending on the season and the ingredients, it may encourage an extra sale.

Online tags or keywords are great triggers but how would a brick and mortar store do that? Customer service and knowledgeable staff would be key but with stores expanding their market to “stuff” it seems a daunting and maybe impossible task for the big guys. That’s why I support local as much as I can. My little used bookstore owners know what I like and know where to find it. They know customers by name and book by interest and yes, they put mysteries, romance and the like together but they are well read and focus on books and customers to provide excellent service that spans the genres.

Word of mouth, reviews and recommendations from you certainly help, too. So please, next time you read a book and love it tell people. Don’t shy away because your friend typically likes fantasy you love a mystery, if it’s a good book they’ll likely enjoy it and you’ll expand their worlds!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

author of Sending You Sammy sending you sammy

Brain Tales brain tales
and Arm Farm arm farm

Please visit me at to support myself and many other authors.  This month as everyone heads back to school, the leaves start changing colour and the air brings a chill I am bringing you lots of reading material in hopes you’ll find something you love to read. While I am putting forth a huge effort to bring awareness to my own books I understand that everyone wants something different to read. Please show a huge welcome to all my guests by commenting and checking out their books.

Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She was moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William, and a cat named Russ who all make her house a home.

After  many stories, attempts at novels and thousands of ideas later, Butland created Banana Boy and the Adventures of Sammy was born Sending You Sammy, her first published children’s book. Then came Brain Tales – Volume One, a collection of short stories and finally Arm Farm, her current literary pride and joy.


6 thoughts on “The Meaning of Genres, with guest Sarah Butland, author of Arm Farm

  1. Interesting post, Sarah. Discoverability is the true mountain for indies to climb. And when you write in multiple genres, or write genre mash-ups, it can be a real challenge! I wish, for instance, i could get more of my romantic suspense readers to migrate over to my paranormal romance. Many of them won’t even glance at a paranormal, yet I basically approach writing RS and PNR in exactly the same way. Same story structure, same boy meets girl, same suspense/danger thread, same passion, same deep emotional connection. But people sometimes don’t want to read outside their genre, their comfort zone. That’s why I love it when review after review says, “This is not your ordinary paranormal romance” or identify it as a “romantic thriller”. I wish someone would come out and say, “Forget genre — this is a great romance!”

    • Good morning Norah,
      I’ve read your paranormal novel, Ashlyn’s Radio, and it was an amazing YA story. I loved every word. I agree with you that people should give it a try. I admit I was a little hesitant at first as I had never read paranormal books until I read yours. I had no idea what to expect. But I’m so glad I picked it up. I’ve heard it said it is important for both writers AND readers, to familiarize themselves with something in every genre, to read at least one. There are amazing authors out there who write wonderful stories. Yes novels that we may not think we’ll like, but your book certainly changed my mind about that. So regarding Ashlyn’s Radio, your paranormal, I can honestly say, “Forget genre, that’s a great story.”

  2. I agree with Norah. This is an interesting post. My take-away? When I write reviews I need to mention those genres touched by a work and why I love the story. I think of “Star Wars.” My husband left the theater when the first one came out and said, “What a great adventure!” I focused on good vs. evil and my sister-in-law talked on and on about loving science fiction. My daughter saw only saw a story of saving a princess. You would have thought we all went to see a different movie. We all loved it. Why? Because it is a great story.

    • Thanks Rebecca, I must agree with you as well. My husband is a huge Sci-Fi fan, while I’m not at all. All I imagine is a bunch of space cadets fighting with laser swords. But wow, it’s so much more than that, and there’s no way I can say that Star Wars wasn’t a great movie. When you think about it, it was filled with several genres. Even romance was intertwined into it. It was indeed a great adventure, a fight between good and evil, and so much more.

  3. Nice post. Genres almost feel old-fashioned in the virtual world. Why stick a book on one shelf when you can tag it and e-attach it to lots of shelves, in front of lots of readers all at once?

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