Choosing the Perfect Genre

One of the first steps of planning a book is choosing the genre the book will be found in. While this may sound like an easy step of the writing process, it can be harder than you might think. For example, The Scavenger has parts that could be categorized into a few genres. I couldn’t qualify it as a full romance or crime thriller or drama, but it contains elements from all of those. The Scavenger is officially on Amazon as a Young Adult Coming of Age Fiction. But choosing the perfect genre for your book to be found it takes a lot of time and thought.

Before you begin writing, you should have a general idea of the age of the audience you’re writing for. This is important to determine the level of profanity/violence/sex you want to include in your book. If you write for young adult but your main character is dropping an f-bomb every other page, you might alienate some of your audience.

The actual genre of the book might be a little bit harder to decide upon. That shouldn’t officially be determined until the book is complete, as it’s not uncommon for books to change drastically throughout the writing process. Don’t fall in love with a certain genre — be open to change if your book takes you in that direction.

The other important thing to keep in mind while you’re choosing the genre for your book is the competition you will have in that category. It’s important to choose a genre that is popular, but not so popular that your book is lost among hundreds of thousands of titles. For example, Young Adult Fiction is too broad, but New Adult Sports Romance might be a little too specific. If you’re publishing through Amazon, while you’re setting up your title, you’ll be able to choose keywords and categories that will bring up your book when a viewer searches it. I recommend searching a few potential genre titles on Amazon and tracking how many results they bring back. Try to find the happy a happy medium to keep your book discoverable.

Are you still absolutely stuck on choosing a genre for your book? Ask your editor or Beta Readers! Sometimes it’s hard to see your book from afar after you’ve spent so much time with it. Getting an outside opinion can help view it in a new light and find the genre that works best for your story. Even if you do have a genre in mind, I would still recommend passing it by a few early readers to make sure it works.

What genre is your current WIP? Leave it in the comments below! Mine is currently a Suspense  . . . 🙂

Just keep writing, just keep writing . . .

— J. L. Willow

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