What genre is my novel? This isn’t really a question I’d given much thought to until I was filling out some information for my chosen cover designer. Obviously, he needs to know the book pretty well to be able to design an appropriate cover.
And you might be thinking that I should probably know my own genre seeing as I wrote the book. But I was so intent on the writing and editing of the book that it never occurred to me to think about its genre. And I don’t think it slots neatly into one particular genre.
If I hadn’t thought about it before, I would’ve come to a grinding halt when it came to uploading the book to Amazon, and figuring out just where it belongs on the virtual shelves.
Self-publishing gives authors so much more freedom. Genres seem to be much less rigid than they used to be, and new genres seem to be opening up all the time. Book lengths are no longer standard either — anything goes so long as the reader enjoys what he or she buys.
Some authors have gone down the route of self-publishing simply because agents and publishers told them that although they liked their book a lot, they just didn’t know where to put it, or how they might market it.
So my problem was that I wrote the book that was in my head, and didn’t really give too much thought as to how it might fit into the range of genres that are out there. For an idea, go to Amazon and take a look at the way the ‘Fiction’ category is broken down. There are almost 1.7 million books currently on Amazon and almost the same number of genres, or so it seems.
The advice for figuring out your genre (and I’m pleased that it seems to be a fairly common thing, and not just a sign of someone who is completely clueless!) is either to work out some books that include similar themes to your own, or to think about other authors and whether their readers might also enjoy your books.
When you know that, you’re halfway there, as you can just go on to Amazon or a similar site and find out what genre that book fits into. Then — ta-da! — you know your own book’s genre. This article by Rachelle Gardner explains a little more about identifying your novel’s genre.
For me, it didn’t seem to be that simple. I couldn’t really think of any books similar to mine. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting my book is 100% unique. I’m just saying I’ve not come across the books that are similar. Actually, maybe The Guardian Angel’s Journal is kind of similar in some of its themes.
Then I thought about the setting. It’s set in the ‘real world’, in modern times, but includes some fantasy elements. It’s a fairly lighthearted book too (so not very much like The Guardian Angel’s Journal in that respect). In the end, and after much browsing through the fiction genres Amazon has to offer, I’ve decided on Contemporary Fantasy.
Do you write to fit a particular genre? Have you ever had a similar problem with a book, or has your novel come ready formed, genre and all?