Some writers know exactly what the genre of their book is, and that is wonderful. However, sometimes it can be tricky to work out the genre. It might be that you started writing something that changed in development, or perhaps that you never had a handle on what the genre was in the first place.
What is genre?
Genre is a category. You can have genres of music, art, and literature. It might be that you prefer reading fantasy and listening to folk music. Those are both genres.
Why does it matter?
It matters because it helps you find your ideal reader. It can also help you find the agent or publisher that works best for you. Genre is essentially a way of setting expectations.
How do I discover my genre?
If you are unsure what genre your novel is, it’s time to do some research. Here are ways to find out:
1) Consider which books your book is similar to.
What have you written, and what have you read that is just like it? Then, it’s time to think about the readers of those books. What other books do they enjoy? You can spend some time online searching for books similar to what you have decided is like your novel. Once you have chosen around seven that are comparable, you should find that they are all a similar genre.
2) Identify genre components in your novel.
What does your story include? Is it magical with dragons? Or is it set in the modern world? Is there a heist or a crime? Is the main focus a love story?
Once you know what your components are, you can think about your specific reader again. Who would LOVE what you have written? Consider your ideal reader and what else they read. The person you have created in your mind is partial to a genre, and elements that you have included in your novel fit them perfectly.
It’s not always easy to pin down your genre, and that might be because your book fits into a few genres. Crossovers exist, and it’s fine to do this. After all – I’m writing a Wild West Fantasy myself.
So how do you decide which one to go for?
Pick the overriding element in your story. For example, you might be writing a crime story with a romance subplot. Which plot takes prescient? Is it crime or romance? Whichever the alpha tale is, that’s the genre to go for.