The word ‘genre’ is bandied about a lot when you’re a writer. Accordingly to, well, basically everyone you need to be able to identify the genre your book falls into before you can ever think of publishing it. Some authors even decide on genre before writing down a single word.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the necessity of determining a book’s genre. For a start it helps readers to find the kind of books they like – be it in a physical book store or on-line – but, more than that, it defines how that particular book would be best marketed by a publisher (or indie author). So genre is important to both readers and publishers in this context which makes it significant for a writer too.
I’ve had a lot of trouble with the idea of genre when trying to apply it to my own writing. Perhaps it’s because I (have finally worked out) write ‘mainstream’/’commercial’ fiction and there is so much of this that’s it overwhelmingly diverse. More likely it is because novels can often fall into more than one genre. This has got me wondering how vital it is that you pick the right genre for your novel, or indeed, if there is a right genre.
[Sidenote: I’ve found these articles helpful: How to Pick the Right Genre for your Novel (and why your sales depend on it) on WriteToDone & Identify Your Novel’s Genre by Rachelle Gardner]
So, I’m going to try and play a little game.
Caveat: I’ve never done this before so I have no idea how successful it may or may not be.
Everyday this week I will be posting a picture of the front cover and blurb of a novel on my Twitter feed and asking, #AndTheGenreIs…? Based on this information, can you guess the genre?
I’d like to hope that my fellow Tweeters will pick this up and comment with what they feel is the appropriate genre/s for each novel.
Hopefully this will also lead to a discussion about why we classify certain books into particular genres and if we, as readers, do distinguish between fiction genres as clearly as the publishers and book stores seem to.
On top of all this, if it works, it will be interesting to see how many genres pop up – there are a whole host of primary genres: Thriller, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi…and so on. But what about the more specific classification that sites such as ‘Amazon’ uses: Psychological Thriller, Romantic Suspense, Historical Fantasy, Coming of Age, Vampire novels…Each novel can have a number of different secondary or tertiary genres that could be applied. Can we identify the top line genre AND the associated additional categorisations?
So, join in if you can, comment below if you like and let me know how you feel about genre in fiction. And look out for the #AndTheGenreIs… hashtag on Twitter.