Visionary Fiction on the Genre Shelf

Visionary FictionVisionary fiction is not metaphysical fiction.

Visionary fiction is not magical realism.

Visionary fiction is not religious fiction or sci-fi or fantasy.

What will it take for traditional publishers to make room on the shelf for fiction that “speaks the language of the soul and offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be?”

In other words, what will it take for visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre?

Mystic Tea Finds a Genre

Though I don’t have a cup of mystic tea to help me see through time, I can come up with a simple – if not easy to accomplish – answer to the above question.

For visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre, it will take:

  • Visionary writers, such as Rea Nolan Martin, with the talent, perseverance, and willingness to write stories from the heart rather than cave to the dictates of what is currently selling.
  • Contests, such as the Independent Publisher Book Awards, that recognize visionary fiction as a category and award talented VF authors like Rea Nolan Martin awards for their superior work.
  • Reviewers, such as the impressive number that gave Rea Nolan Martin’s visionary novel Mystic Tea a five-star review.

Mystic Tea on Goodreads

I was first drawn to Rea Nolan Martin’s novel by the following blurb at Goodreads:

A community of quirky, mismatched, and endearing women struggle to find meaning and purpose on a ramshackle monastery in upstate New York. Having spent their lives in service to a church that seems to no longer serve them, they are confused about their own futures and … Continue reading

VF as a Genre: Part 4 – Populating BISAC’s VF Category

IN THE EARLIER SEGMENTS OF THIS SERIES we imparted good news (the up-and-coming BISAC system provides a high-level unique code for Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction) and bad news (authors and vendors don’t use the code often enough to make VF books easily accessible to readers). In this section I’ll follow up on the complexities of proper categorization and make some suggestions that will not handicap the individual VF author in the short run but build a robust VF collection in the near future. Continue reading

VF as a Genre: Part 3 BISAC Buy-in

(The second of a four-part series that explores a hidden root of  the problem in popularizing Visionary Fiction as a genre and proposes a nifty ready-made solution to it.)

Click link to read Part 1: The Fiction Prejudice
Click link to read Part 2: The BISAC Solution

BEFORE GETTING TOO COZY in the permanent home (Main Subject Category) and distinctive address (FIC039000 FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical) that BISAC has provided VF, we have to assess BISAC’s current status and staying power as the standard for an industry struggling to adjust to the revolution wrought by the advent of electronic media. So, a look at a few key questions with brief answers (with links for those who want to delve more deeply).

Is BISAC Followed in Brick-and-mortar Bookstores?

A December 19, 2013 comment from Len Vlahos, who has skin in the game, provides a succinct response:

 I’m the Executive Director of BISG, and can shed some light here. BISAC Subject Codes are a voluntary industry standard. Many, if not all, large retailers use the BISAC Codes as a basis for identifying content, but then augment those codes based on their own customer intelligence. The retailers consider this augmentation to be a kind of special sauce. This is, of course, one of the challenges of voluntary standards, but we’re still pleased at how widely adopted and used BISAC codes are.

The stumbling blocks in Mr. Vlahos’s statement lie in the words voluntary and special sauce. Publishers are not always required to submit a BISAC Code for a book, and bookstores can cook BISAC codes to their taste. We will dissect these potential snafus as we proceed.

Continue reading