Many writers are so overwhelmed by the number of fiction genres and subgenres they can’t decide where their story fits. If you want to land an agent or self publish, picking the right genre is crucial because it helps your book connect with buyers. Being between genres might sound exciting, like you’re breaking new literary ground. However, in a market bulging with choices, getting on the radar of readers who will enjoy your book and leave favorable reviews is a must, and the best way to do this is by putting your book in the correct genre.
3 Tips for finding your genre:
Look at the big picture. Analyze your story from first page to last, and list all the themes and important plot aspects of the story. Don’t pay too much attentions to minor aspects of your novel. If your book is funny in two chapters, you are not writing a humorous book. Pick one or two (no more than three) of the most likely genre matches. Ignore sub-genres at this stage.
Compare your book to the genre’s tropes, or to a few best-selling books from that genre. Be honest! Will your book compare favorably? Or are you too far outside the traditional readers’ expectations? If your book is too different, start over and compare your book to another genre. Repeat until you find the right fit for your story. If you honestly can’t find a single genre that fits your story, you may not have isolated the main themes. Go back to step one and try again.
Answer the W questions. Who is your ideal reader? Age must a consideration. Which books or authors are on that reader’s to-be-read list right non? In which part of a store would your ideal reader look for their next book? Would they find your book in that same area? If not, why?
I’ve found some good infographics that make ruling in or out a genre quite easy.
Do you think you have a YA Romance? Find out for sure here at SwoonReads.
Or have you narrowed your list to dystopia? This chart from Erin Bowman will help you.
1 Link for more help:
We have a few posts on genre (you can find them with our search bar), but I’m picking this one from Writer’s Rumpus. I think it has a number of helpful tips and chronicles one writer’s journey to find the perfect fit.
The most important consideration when picking a genre is connecting with the readers who will love your book! It takes time, but it’s worth it.
And in case you’re just dropping in for the first time, here’s our April A to Z BLASTOFF to Stellar Writing list thus far:
And coming up next:
H is for Hero
I is for Internal Conflict