So I was Googling myself the other day, (No, that's not a euphemism. Yes, it was in front of a mirror.) and I stumbled upon this little unpronounceable string of six letters used to describe my books.
Being a high-functioning drunk, I was able to suss out the meaning without too much trouble, but in four years of writing books custom tailored to this very specific genre, I'd never even heard or seen the term used before.
So what is LitRPG?
No, Stock Photo Redneck. You're thinking of something else.
"LitRPG" is a combination of "Literature" and "RPG", an acronym for "Role-Playing Game". It's a quickly growing genre which involves characters who spend most or all of their time inside a game. It could be a virtual reality setting, as in the case of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, or it could be more literal, such as with the hilarious Caverns & Creatures series of novels and short stories by a very talented author whose name escapes me at present.
I've known since the beginning that the premise of my books is hardly an original idea. They're pretty much the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from the 80s, but with more violence, bodily fluids, and gratuitous swearing.
But now it's a recognized genre! That's such great news. Now, when people ask me what kind of books I write, instead of mumbling some gibberish about comedy/fantasy about gamers who get stuck in the world of their game, I can simply say, "LitRPG!"
And then they'll say, "What the fuck is LitRPG?"
And then I'll have to explain what LitRPG is, and follow it up with some gibberish about comedy/fantasy about gamers who get stuck in the world of their game, but they'll walk away long before I finish. It'll be awesome.
Continuing along with my self-Googling adventure, I refined my search to include "LitRPG" to see if others recognized my books as belonging to this genre of which I'd previously not known was a thing. As it turned out, LOTS of people did!
Knowledge is power, so they say. The question now is, how will I wield this awesome power I've just acquired? Will I use it for good or evil?
One area I've not yet made a lot of headway in is employing effective keywords to my books when I publish them. Amazon allows you seven keywords or phrases to attach to your book, so that readers can more easily find them in searches. I generally put down the first seven pieces of bullshit I can think of and hurry along to publication.
But even with as little knowledge of the effective use of keywords as I have, "LitRPG" struck me as a strong one. It's certain to be less frequently used than others. And since I seem to be the last motherfucker in the world to have ever heard of LitRPG, interested readers are probably typing it in their searches.
So I went through all my books, one by one, choosing what I judged to be the most useless keyword I'd previously included, and replacing it with "LitRPG", thus giving Amazon customers a +5 bonus to their Spot checks to discover me.
And then, of course, I started writing this blog, so that Google searchers, as well as Amazon searchers, might find their way to me.