Monday, May 2, 2016

Figuring Out Your Genre


The simplest definition is that a genre is a category of books, either fiction or nonfiction.  In popular fiction, some genres are science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and mainstream.  

Some genres have subgenres within.  In romance, for example, some subcategories include romantic suspense, category/Harlequin-style, and science fiction romance.  Mystery is as varied.  


As a writer, the primary use of genre is that you must please your audience and meet their expectations when they pick up a book labeled as a particular genre.  You must know that a reader will be very angry if you label your book a romance, but it ends with the death of one of the lovers, instead of a happily-ever-after.  

As the marketer of your book, you must know how to label your book correctly to find the right publisher or audience.  

You must know where it would be shelved and the authors’s books it will be shelved with.  


Cross-genre is a book that mixes two genres.  One of the genres controls the plot line.  To figure out which one, try this article.  


If a writer can’t guess what genre they are writing, then they aren’t reading enough to write a book that a specific type of reader wants to read.

I always suggest that a writer who can’t guess their genre go to a site like RTBookReviews which covers most of the popular genre and subgenre and read reviews until they find writers telling the kind of stories they are and note the genre. They should then read those books, find others by means of reviews, and features like Amazon’s book suggestion to find more, then read them. Read as widely as possible.

If the book you want to write is cross-genre, then you should be well-read in BOTH genres because you have two sets of fans to please.
The same advice is true if you want to write for a specific publisher. Read what they have to offer so you get a sense of what they want.

For other articles on genre identification, please click on the “genre” tab on the right side of my blog page.  

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