I am sure anyone who has tried to sell their book on Amazon has struggled with the choice of category. Amazon offers the choice of two categories to position a book on their virtual shelves initially. Two are seldom enough. For the seven books in my Zack Tolliver, FBI fiction series, an accurate categorization would require four or more. LAS CRUCES, coming next month, promises to be no different.
The Zack Tolliver novels are all crime mystery fiction. But unlike many of the crime mystery series in the Native American category with protagonists who toil in the same location from book to book, Zack and Eagle Feather are pulled to entirely different settings in each new novel.
While this is no doubt more interesting for my two characters, it makes it challenging for their creator for I must familiarize myself with new environments, cultures, history, political undercurrents and all that goes with solving a mystery in a whole new place. It is challenging, yet exciting––rather like a treasure hunt. Sometimes, however, the facts disclosed by research can require a different path. As a result, the novels in the Zack Tolliver series differ in category emphasis.
Certain features never change. The reader may expect every book to contain the same two protagonists. Their relatives, associates, and friends will not change, but might not necessarily make an appearance. There is always a crime (usually a murder), a mystery, police procedures to a larger or lesser degree, lots of action, suspense, accurate well-researched history, accurate topography, Native Americans (not always the same), and an element of mysticism and/or paranormal.
Each book in the series has these elements but to varying degrees. For instance, the paranormal elements in MESTACLOCAN, ZACA, and CAT are more apparent while the historical elements in UNDER DESERT SAND, CANAAN’S SECRET, and the upcoming LAS CRUCES are stronger. THE DARK ROAD and THE OTHER have more focus on Native American lore, perhaps, but are not lacking in paranormal, action, and suspense.
The resident category for the Zack Tolliver, FBI series is Native American Literature. The secondary categories for each book range from Werewolf & Shifter Thrillers to Police Procedurals to Supernatural Mysteries to Suspense to Conspiracy Thrillers to Westerns. We try to get it right each there will always be disappointed consumers who expect one thing from the category they search and read another.
It all comes down to inventing sufficiently descriptive categories. If each author was expected to describe her/his series in a single category, I would struggle. Given my series’ varied content of mystery, history, and paranormal, perhaps I should call it Histyrical Fiction.