In the writing world, what genre is your book is the equivalent of the singles scene what’s your sign. At every writing meeting I’ve been to one of the first questions that gets asked is – What do you write? That translates to what genre is your book. The answer to that question is easy when you only write in one genre. A recognizable, defined genre.
I write in more than one genre and some of my books combine two or more genres. Why do we even care about genres? I think we shouldn’t worry about them when writing the book. Some say you shouldn’t care about them at all even when submitting. It’s the agent’s job to figure out what genre your book falls into and which editors take what genres. But I do think it’s important for the writer to know what genre the book is. On the agent’s submission page they list the genres they accept. If you don’t know what genre your book is how will you know if it’s one of the genres the agent accepts?
Say you don’t want to submit to an agent or an editor. Say you’ve been there, done that and it got you nowhere so you’re going to self publish. Great! But you still need to know where your book fits on the virtual bookshelf. Readers search by genre. At least this reader does. If your book has more than one genre, which genre is more prevalent? With the exception of my erotica (under a different name) all of my stories contain some sort of crime or suspense aspect. I would then have to figure out if I should put my book in the suspense/thriller category or the paranormal or urban fantasy.
So think about your book and see which of these genres it might fit into. These are probably not all the genres out there.
What’s even more confusing are the sub-genres. I won’t get into all of them here but in the romance genre alone there are no less than ten sub-genres. So keep the genre at the back of your mind as you write. One day you will need to know the genre one day.
I might actually get some writing done now before bed.
April 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm
I agree that we shouldn’t worry so much about genres. I think very few writers write exclusively in one genre. Most of us combine genres and sub-genres. I know I had trouble classifying one of my novels. I thought it was urban fantasy, but one agent suggested I classify it as contemporary women’s fiction.
April 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm
Hi Joanne. Thanks for stopping by. That’s quite a variation – urban fantasy and women’s fiction.