I backed a kickstarter recently. The kickstarter offered several novels and some pop-up writing workshops.
The books are science fiction stories. If you had asked me, I would not have said that I was into science fiction reading. I have thoroughly enjoyed the books.
My husband has enjoyed some science fiction for years – particularly the Expanse series. He has read all the books and thoroughly enjoyed the TV series too. Because of reading the books, he has known when the stories have deviated from them, been condensed or just plain different. I watched the TV series with him and enjoyed it. I have not yet got into the books.
I have rarely read a science fiction book. However I enjoyed Michael Crichton’s work and have read a lot of his books, I got my husband into Dune and we both enjoy watching Star Trek and the various series that have followed.
Perhaps I am into science fiction after all.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the books that came with the kickstarter.
So what is a genre?
A genre is a way of categorising types of story. Traditionally, agents prefer that a story submitted to them is an identifiable genre because it helps them to sell the book. Genre gives marketing a chance to know where to aim the book.
Fiction genres include:
crime and detective
and genres can be mixed too such as children’s paranormal or mystery romance
Non-fiction genres include:
Don’t forget poetry which is still enjoyed today.
There are a lot of genres. How do you know which genre your writing fits into? How do you know which kind of genre you want to write?
Is it important to know what type of story you are writing?
I was once passed a manuscript to read. The story was enjoyable, but the thing that struck me was what my friend said when I gave it back. I commented that it was a good science fiction story. She told me that the writer had felt that it did not fit into any genre.
Traditional publishers like to fit novels into a genre, because it helps with marketing. However surely it is more important to write a novel that readers resonate with and want to read? It that author had wanted to find an agent for that story, the agent would have wanted it to fit into a genre for ease of selling it to publishers.
Perhaps you do not want to find an agent. Traditional publishing is not what it was. There are fewer traditional publishing houses, which enable fewer writers to be picked up by them. And writers are expected to do their own marketing.
Independent writers do not necessarily need to worry about genre so much. They are just looking for readers. They already know that they will need to produce or outsource everything themselves and they are willing to learn how to do that. Genre is not as important because the main thing is to appeal to the reader themselves. Everything should still be as professionally produced as possible – attention paid to editing, the cover, the blurb. However the need to place the book in a category is not as imperative.
What do you think about genre? Is it as important as it used to be? Let me know in the comments.
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Can you think of any genres I have missed? What is your favourite genre to read? You may find it easier to write in the type of genre that you enjoy reading.