Thursday, 3 October 2013

How to Assign your Book to the Right Genre

Getting the genre right further narrows down your target market and ensures that your book messaging addresses the right audience of readers 

Figuring out which genre and in particular which subgroup of that genre your book fits into is another way to further narrow down your target market. Assigning your book to the right genre type means you can finetune your choice of channel for reader interaction and engagement.

With the book market rapidly expanding traditional genre terms like romance, suspense, adventure etc. have turned into umbrellas spanning a host of sub-categories. Sci-fi is not just sci-fi anymore, but contains adventure, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and alternate reality works with off-planet settings. The list could go on, but I think you catch my drift. 

So how do you figure out which genre your book really belongs to?

1. Get a good overview of what genre types are out there

If you already have a distributor in mind you might just want to have a look at their book section. Take a look at how they segment and label their genres. Otherwise, start out with a simple list of genres from Wikipedia and work from there by matching descriptions for different genres. 
Genre lists:

2. Ask your beta-readers and friends to categorise your book

Sometimes gauging where your book fits best can be hard. You might have started out wanting to address readers of a certain genre, but as your story developped you might have landed somewhere else. More than once I have found myself in denial of which genre my book fits best into, just because I stubbornly wanted to cling to my first idea. 

Luckily beta readers and family can help give you a reality check there. While at times hard to take, your change in perspective will be rewarded when it results in you actually approaching the right group of potential readers. On top of that, the right group of readers will be happy that you make their book available to them, while the readers in the initially mis-assigned genre will thank you for reducing thrash in their preferred channels. In the end, it is a win-win for all sides. 

3. Search for similar books to match your own work to

If you have a hunch where your book might fit best, surf the books already assigned to the genre. The goal is to find similar books to your own. Goodreads, Amazon or Smashwords are greats place to get an overview of which type of novels are assigned to certain genres.  Don't forget to take notes of the ones that do match up closely to your own book in plot or storytelling style. That information will come in handy later, when you sit down to write your blurb.

Tip: Check out the list of ebook vendors featured for titles on Goodreads. A full list of possible vendors right there.

I have my genre. What now?

Genre Channel-Tuning and Positioning Lodestones

Now that you have decided on a genre, you can look into what you can learn from other authors and readers already active in the associated channels. 

1. Learn from genre success stories

Make sure to take a look at bestseller lists for the genre you've chosen and see if you can get some ideas for pricing, book cover, blurb style, author bio, etc. Try to find elements that work for the bestselling titles in the genre. Also keep track of information that you would like to have as a reader, but can't find in the book information you are browsing. You will surely find some good lodestones for your own book presentation and positioning within that genre. 

2. Identify genre-specific communities

Goodreads and Wattpad are good starting points to get an idea of readers favourite haunts. Look at reader comments for books in the genre you are interested in, try reaching out to other readers for advise. If you are active on Twitter or Facebook see what a simple search of the genre name will bring up. 

3. Get active in genre-specific communities

I believe this one is pretty self-explanatory. Once you have completed your research into genre channels get active. Try and get involved in discussions, comment threads and activities within the communities that you would like to address later in your marketing. You will learn a lot about what your future readers are looking for. 

This, in turn, can:
  • help refine your reader profile, 
  • give you an idea on how to best present your book (title, cover, format),
  • build early credibility with potential readers by showing interest in a certain genre,
  • inform you which channels are the most frequented by your target segment.
It might even help you decide when the best time for your book launch is. Maybe it is not the best idea to launch your suspense novel on the weekend the next Dan Brown hits the shelves?

For more on genre and book marketing...

Figured it out?

Which genre does your book fit into? Have you discovered any great communities and their favourite channels? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Good Luck!


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    keep up the good work meh and also, please visit my blog and drop a comment even if it's a simple "nice post" reply.


  2. Thanks for the comment, Daniel. Will definitely drop by your blog and see what it is all about.