Wednesday Wing….What’s your Book Genre? #wwwblogs #WriterTips

Welcome to my new feature called Wednesday Wing where I’ll be passing on

observations, tips and information to readers I’ve made a note of.

Rosie's Notebook

Today I’m passing on a tip and my view about BOOK GENRES.

When authors contact me for a book review, they’ll tell me about their book, its book description and where I can find it. I like to know the book genre and not everyone rushes to tell me WHY?

Confidently dropping your book into a book genre is DIFFICULT for some writers and more so for novice self-published authors. There are admittedly hundreds of book genres and the book market IS saturated, BUT as a reader I still need an answer.

What confuses me as a reader? 

My book is “contemporary women’s fiction /romance/mystery with some sci-fi”

My book is “historical fantasy with romance and a little paranormal”

My book is “a cross between paranormal and contemporary”

When an author uploads their book to places like Amazon, they have options to place their book in more than one genre category, where the above examples can be used, however when approaching a REAL reader authors need to be more precise.

What works for me?

I really need to know the books ONE MAIN genre for example; Romance, contemporary fiction, murder mystery etc. I can also visualise books in the following popular examples of Sub-genres Historical Romance, Paranormal mystery, Urban Fantasy, Suspense Thriller.

Use a MAIN GENRE and or a SUB-GENRE BUT don’t try to sell me every tiny genre covered in the book, this is just a detail for the reader to discover.

If you are unsure of your genre as the author, then the messages you give to the readers is a confused one too. Most books cover more than one of the hundreds of genres out there – romances can have self discovery in them, mysteries can have scientific technology, contemporary can have a suspicious death or some historical content. What IS important is that you leave that to the reader to discover.

DON’T fall into the trap of crossing too many of the Main genres ie Historical + Sci-fi, Romance + thriller, Fantasy+Contemporary, you may TURN -OFF readers who only like romance or thrillers rather than drawing them in.

Think of it like this; A book is a gift wrapped parcel – you know it’s a gift, the exciting bit is unwrapping and opening what’s inside. Recently I read a book called The Cunning Women’s Cup by Sew Hewitt. (see my review here I knew the book was a contemporary Women’s Fiction, the book cover had the Duddo standing stones on the front, so that hinted at some ancient history. What I discovered and “unwrapped” were lovely layers of writing which built up a storyline which I wanted to go on forever, the characters became my friends and I loved discovering this GEM of a book.

Here are other Wednesday Wing posts you may find useful.

May 6th 2015 – Checking your WordPress is linked to your Twitter helps share your posts

May 13th 2015 – Writer’s Craft books by Rayne Hall full of REALLY useful tips

May 20th 2015 – Hyperlinks, Short links and Linkys

May 27th 2015 – Making your post titles easy to share on Twitter to maximise views.

June 17th 2015 – Creating Twitter pics that fit

June 24th 2015 – Creating a slideshow on WordPress

July 1st 2015 – Getting the most out of Google+ posts

July 8th 2015 – Automated Tweets, LOVE ‘EM or HATE ‘EM? make use of them

25 thoughts on “Wednesday Wing….What’s your Book Genre? #wwwblogs #WriterTips

    • Thank you Joanne, glad you like this, it really is just my own observations. If a book does cross several genres, authors should use those in specific marketing ideas, separate to the main draw of the book, ie a mystery book tour or special calendar days.


  1. This is a gem of a post, especially for people like me, ie, the ditherers whose stuff doesn’t fall into one category and who don’t know how to describe them so they use too many words….. THANK YOU! It’s really made me see it from the reader’s POV. I shall stop going round the houses now, and call mine… contemporary family drama? Romantic Suspense? Mixed with a little… no, I’m joking!! 😀


    • Thanks Terry, when I write a book review I try to tell other readers what I believe the book genre to be up front, but I also go on to tell them about the storyline and what else it offers, many readers say “I don’t read that genre, but this books does appeal to me, I will take another look” it helps people find their own gems of a read.


  2. Well, it’s a great post that has made me think long and hard. Historical for me – or Saga? It’s difficult – especially when Amazon keep insisting I’m Medical!! All because the protagonist is a nurse! Thanks Rosie – going back to publishers to discuss.


    • Historical family saga? Then use the medical as a marketing tool ie. Do you like books about nursing? WW2 nursing, Nursing in the 1940’s, that sort of thing for short bursts, you have all sorts of layers in your book to use as marketing tools, Judith, I’ve only read the first one, but you have these things to play with too; series, life in England, coal miners strikes, anti -war heroes, life during the war, life after the war, romance. Just keep the main book genre dominant.


  3. Helpful post, as usual, Rosie. Sometimes, the subheadings seem go on and on, especially on Amazon, but of course the smaller sub-division used, the more chance of it being a ‘bestseller’!


    • Yes, that’s great for those obscure sub-division genre “best Sellers”, but in reality how many readers choose an obscure sub-genre for a book choice? It’s useful for an author when submitting their book, then it will be placed in lots of categories, it also needs to be looked at from the buyer POV.


    • Thank you Kimberly, my #FridayFiveChallenge, open to all, especially bloggers is a great way to really look at our buying choices. For anyone not familiar with the challenge here are the guidelines;

      Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes. (Use your own pic or copy mine or anything else like a clock/ stopwatch etc)
      In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?
      AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?
      My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….
      1) Go to any online book supplier,
      2) Randomly choose a category,
      3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,
      4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,
      5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,
      6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?
      (then write a little analysis about your decision)


  4. One of the really annoying things about Amazon categories is that ‘Scottish’ only comes up if you also add historical romance. Not much use if you write contemporary Scottish romance as I do. I’ve had quite a bit of trouble categorising Boot Camp Bride. It is both a romance and full of light suspense but it isn’t really police procedural which some people seem to expect if you put ‘suspense’. If I add Humour that just muddies the water!!


    • I suspect you need contemporary romance Lizzie, your book titles will work hard for you too, “Boot Camp Bride”, tells us it’s about weddings, throw in a boot camp and readers will know there is going to be a bit of a stir up. “Scotch on the Rocks” tells us it will be Scottish and don’t forget the power of your book covers both fit really well and tell a story themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: BUY or PASS? Time to put Steampunk through the #FridayFiveChallenge | Shelley Wilson

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