Do you Understand Genre?

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One thing you’ll notice when new authors join a writing group is that many beginners are lost when it comes to genre. 

Is it science-fiction or fantasy? Women’s fiction or romance? The same questions come up again and again. What genre should I use? What genre am I writing? 

Let’s take a closer look…

Sometimes a newer author hasn’t actually taken the time to research what the best genre is for their story. They’ve not niched down far enough into a sub-genre or deeper category. They haven’t considered who they are writing for–their audience and target market. 

Let’s look at why it matters…

You must know who you’re writing for. If you want to hit your reader’s expectations, know your genre. Say you write a romance but leave out a happy ending or a happy-for-now ending. In this case, romance readers will be disappointed. It’s expected that romance ends with the couple happy and together. If they don’t, it may be women’s fiction (more about the personal journey of a woman) and not a romance (about a couple who comes together). 

Just like if you write science fiction and don’t include actual scientific or technical elements. Your readers will be sorely disappointed. They purchased the book for that very specific thing. 

Niching down is critical for visibility. The sub-genres are indicators of what your book is about, which helps a reader locate the type of book they enjoy.

Example, if you write mysteries, do you write hard-cold police procedurals, or light, playful cozy mysteries? Knowing where your book falls in your genre helps market your book.

Lastly, new writers tend to say, ‘my book is for everyone, and has like 4 genres in it, so anyone can read it.’ And that’s the moment you realize this writer might not be ready to build a career…

Take time to do your research. Know your genres, sub-genres, and your audience. Respect them. Writing for “everyone” means you haven’t gotten specific enough, and you’re in for a long, hard, uphill journey.

Where would you find your book in the library? How would the librarian shelve it? What section of Amazon would you find your book in? Narrowing this down helps you expand your audience, as counter intuitive as that sounds. But, it’s the truth.
If you want to look closer at researching books, markets, and even keywords, I wrote an article about a tool I use called Publisher Rocket. There are screen shots and details about what it can and can’t do for you. Click on the link to read the full article. 
Did you know…Peter Pan helps fund a children’s hospital. According to the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity:“J M Barrie’s gift of the rights to Peter Pan has provided a significant source of income to Great Ormond Street Hospital ever since they were given to the hospital in 1929.”

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