Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reading Into the Numbers: Genres

Another new series on the blog is a feature we like to call "Reading Into the Numbers." With good reason, a lot of book retailers out there don't necessarily like to share their data with folks, for good reason; it's proprietary business information that gives them a leg up on their competitors.

However, here at Hunt to Read, we're all about the open and honest discussion of our book data, provided that we don't give away specific user information.

No, what we envision this feature being is a look at some of the trends in our data on our site that may give authors insights and ideas as to how better to use the site.

In the inaugural piece in the series, we're going to talk about genres. Genres can be both a boon and a bane to authors; like many of you, I dislike my work being "pidgeonholed" into seemingly random categories that may or may not perfectly correspond with my book's subject matter. (If only there were a way to not have this be the norm...Hmm...:))

At the same time, genres help readers as a shorthand for the types of books that they're looking for, and can help authors build their audience.

In the short month or so that Hunt to Read has been up, we've already compiled hundreds of books from our authors, and each book can be in up to three genres.

We thought that readers and listers alike might enjoy seeing how the genres currently break down on the site.

Interestingly, the top five genres make up a full 55% of the genre listings on the site!

Fantasy: 12%

Sci-Fi: 12%

Romance: 11%

Thriller: 11%

Action-Adventure: 10%

"Wait a minute--that adds up to 56%!" Yeah, that's the problem with rounding...

One genre that I think is almost criminally underrepresented is Horror; at the moment, it accounts for slightly less than 3% of all genre listings. If you authors or publishers have any Horror books you're sitting on, now would be the time to list them, as we slowly begin to bring readers to the site through our marketing efforts, and thus there's a little bit of a potential to become a "big fish in a small pond" as the site inequalities naturally balance out.

The same goes for a lot of the non-fiction categories; many of them are right around 1% of genre listings, if not below. It's a very ripe and enticing opportunity for those with non-fiction books in their collections to target interested readers.

Both Mystery and Young Adult are right around 5%, which we expect to see increase as the site gains more traction among authors.

One other thing for listers to keep in mind: we're nowhere near "capacity" as far as genre listings go. If you wrote a cross-genre, Sci-Fi/Action-Adventure/Humor thriller, why not put it in all three categories to increase the number of hunts you appear in? We obviously don't want people trying to "game the system" in that regard--I assure you, our readers will tell you if the cover isn't "genre appropriate" given the genre(s) your book(s) are in, but if multiple genres do apply, by all means, go nuts!

As you can see, with a young site such as Hunt to Read, there are plenty of opportunities to "get in on the ground floor," and leverage that opportunity to both improve your product and sell more books.
As readers, know that as you search for new books, these authors who are our early adopters care enough about their craft and books to put themselves out there. All we ask in return from you is for honest feedback in the form of ratings and comments, each of which help you rack up HTR Points and (eventually) unlock free books.

Any questions or notes? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading, and Happy Hunting!

D.J. Gelner is the co-founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. Email him directly at djgelner@hunttoread.com.

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