When you first start as a writer, you may have a lot of ideas moving around in your head, vying for attention but you may not have considered to which genre, or category, your novel most relates.
Once you narrow down your genre, it is a good idea to write for that genre to build a brand. Your brand is what will sell to publishers as well as your coming super fans.
I am working under the assumption that you, the reader, are just starting on this journey and don’t have a lot of books under your belt yet, so this post will attempt to help you narrow it down and make it easier.
To get your book off the ground, you need to decide the genre you will be writing.
The genre is the category listing you give it when you attempt to sell it to an agent or a publisher.
You probably already have a rough idea of what you want to write about but listing it can be a little tricky sometimes.
Write To Your Genre
If you are writing a book about a detective who is from the planet Zorgon from the 27th century, then where does it fit?
Is it action/adventure, crime, suspense, science fiction, or mystery?
For your first novel, this is a decision you need to make based on what the predominant story is about and later it will also help you stay on track.
If you decide that the novel is going to be science fiction, then you need to make sure that those elements dominate the other elements.
If you want it to be a mystery, then don’t spend as much time fleshing out the science fiction part of the story.
Instead, make sure your plot is set up in such a way, that the reader delves into solving the mystery rather than focusing on the cars that fly.
This is an example but feel free to write it if you like.
You can experiment with cross genres, but what you will find is, in the end, it is hard to sell because agents want books they can sell to publishers, and publishers want books that thousands of people buy.
That is not to say that people will not be interested in your book, but it is easier to sell the idea to people who market when they have a definitive area of interest.
Some genres go together very well. Historical romances, as an example, routinely make the best sellers list.
To be honest, I think romances can cross most of the boundaries and still be sellable. People love love.
Do Your Research
Whether you plan to publish a physical book or publish an e-book, you need to do your research.
Go to any online bookseller or even a physical bookstore, and you will find books broken up into their respective genres.
That is because when someone is shopping for a book, they tend to want to go to just one section and find their favorite topics or authors there.
It would be horrible to go into a bookstore and have to look through the thousands of books one at a time to find your area of interest, so these categories serve to make it easier for a reader to find what they are looking for quickly.
Look At Best Seller Lists
Look at the bestseller lists for your intended genre and see if it is popular or if there are any books for sale there.
This section will give you an idea about the types of books that are selling well and also which genres are the most popular.
If you see a book similar to your idea, you are good to go with that genre choice.
Get Ideas From Other Written Works
I am not advocating for plagiarism because every word should be your own. But you can copy the genre.
Fantasy is a good example. A lot of good fantasy books cover the topic of elves or have elves as one of their main characters.
Therefore, it is a standard for the genre.
You are treading thin ice, though, if you have a bow shooting elf character who joins a group to take a ring to an evil place to destroy it.
Make your elf do amazing things that you completely dream up yourself so that your elf is unique.
I could give you the same specifics about dragons, but I think you get the picture.
Master Your Genre
Many successful writers write in more than one genre, but they did not start that way.
When you think of writers, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you think of certain genres that you associate with them automatically.
They have built their brand in one genre so that their name is associated with that genre.
When a reader first chose to read your novel, they were looking for a genre that they find interesting.
If they enjoy your novel, they will look to see what else you have written that they might also like.
If you have one book in the fantasy genre that is a best seller, that doesn’t mean your book on growing a backyard vegetable garden will also sell well.
It takes time to build an audience, and the best way to do that is to write to the same genre so that your reader keeps coming back for more.
Write For Genres You Enjoy
Don’t pick a genre just because it is popular and you think you will sell millions of books that way.
If you write for a genre you have interest in, then you will find it easier to keep the elements in your story from going astray.
Fans will notice if you don’t know the basic elements for their favorite genre and it will lead to disappointment for you when you try to sell it to them.
Often it is easier to write about topics that you enjoy reading yourself because you are already familiar with the key elements that make that genre appealing to its’ fans.
Now that you have narrowed down the genre you are going to write, it is much easier for you to get your ideas together so that they fit into your world.