I’ve just self-published another “book”. Last time it was a book of poems I wrote on a self-imposed dare. Two of those poems were inspired by Supernatural characters by the way. But this time I’ve published a novelette (too long for short story, too short for novella according to Wikipedia).
My new story, Save the King, is about an amnesiac lawyer that saves Elvis from Nazis. You can click the link and find the full description with an addition of A03 language and tags.
I have a very hard time finding books on Amazon or at the bookstore that I want to read. Reading full length novels can be time consuming and unless I already know the author I could be wasting my time on something I won’t end up liking. On the other hand, if I’m reading something off Ao3, Archive of Our Own, I have a better gauge of whether or not I might like a story.
As a librarian, I know that all books get tagged in some manner. We call this metadata. And you can search for genres in a library catalog, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and such because of the metadata behind the book. That’s how you can go to the store and find books in Humor, Science Fiction, Romance, Horror, Sports, LGBT, History, Alternative History, etc etc.
These categories are not enough. Sorry, fellow librarians. Fandom readers and writers have created their own lingo, and if you speak the language you can find stories you want to read. It is a system of sub-categories, basically more in-depth metadata, for better navigation. This has the added benefit of allowing people to search for what they want to read. But more than that, it helps people steer clear of tropes and plotlines that they aren’t interested in.
Here is the descriptions you’re probably used to seeing. This example is Amazon’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
According to Amazon, Harry Potter’s first novel is a book for 9-12 year olds and teens. It’s funny, has family, and there’s orphans. Thank god the summary says it’s about wizards because somehow that’s not part of Amazon Best Seller ranks.
Now for the librarians, here is Worldcat.org Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
And lastly, here is an AO3 example of fanfiction written in the world of Harry Potter:
Ao3 is an online “fan-created, fan-run, non-profit, non-commercial archive for transformative fanworks, like fanfiction, fanart, fan videos, and podfic”. They also have original work that is not based on any existing fandom. A03 tags let a person search for tropes and plotlines as well as genre. From the description above I know this story is about PG-13 (the yellow T in the top left corner), but there is graphic violence. I can click on any of those links to read more stories in other fandoms (or original works) that are about “werewolf turning” or “emotional hurt/comfort”.
There’s also limiters on the right hand side so I can go to any fandom and narrow down my results to what I want to read. The example below is part of my limiters for the Harry Potter fandom. As you can see, there are warnings. Tags can help me avoid a story containing things like rape, child abuse, or even parodies if I’m not in the mood for it.
Anyway, my whole point is I’d be more inclined to read unknown authors if I could find stories I’m more inclined to read. Give me a ton of modern day angst with a happy ending. Also, I’m a sucker for mutual pining. And did you know Murder Husbands is not just for the Hannibal Fandom? You know, now I’m kind of inspired to write about a pair of mutually pining eventual Murder Husbands. Angst with a Happy Ending…. er, for the murder husbands, not for the victims.
And I don’t want Major Character Deaths or suicides or child abuse ever. Some people don’t mind reading that, but I’m not one of them. I’m not going to lie. These tags are especially useful when you are reading kinky erotic fiction.
Buy my ebook it’s 99 cents on Amazon.