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.