Behind the Genre: An Introduction

Behind the Genre: An Introduction | Sarah Biren

New Series!

While creating a story it’s critical to know your audience, and thereby, your genre. Although we writer folk value creative expression over a business outlook, we must know our market to get published. This series will analyze the various book genres and how they pertain to storytelling.

Why Genre Matters

Imagine a book with a romantic plot is promoted as an action thriller. Readers who love thrillers will buy the book, expecting a fast-paced, suspense-filled adventure, but instead find a sappy love story. Even if the book is well-written, it will receive negative reviews from the duped audience. However, if it’s marketed as a romance, readers will buy and enjoy it for what it is. For publishers, books categorized badly can ruin their ratings and sales.

Similarly, the age group matters as well, whether it’s Children, Young Adult, Adult literature, and all of the smaller categories in between. There are vague lines on what content is appropriate for each section. A YA book marketed as Adult may seem juvenile or too simplistic for adult readers, while books with adult content marketed as YA can cause a backlash to the author and publisher for selling explicit content to young readers.

Besides for proper categorization for marketing, the genre is crucial for storytelling as well. There are defining trends expected in different stories, for example, a young protagonist in a middle-grade book or a mystery to solve in a detective novel. Yes, we artists love to defy the status quo, but your book should fit a genre and heed to a certain amount of reader expectations.

Picking a Genre for Your Book

Behind the Genre: An Introduction

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