Why does genre matter?
First off, there are many readers who know exactly what they like and don't like. If they're in love with young adult books, for example, they'll want around 50-100k words, language they don't have to look up, no curse words or sexual situations, and a certain amount of teen angst. If they prefer epic fantasy, they'll be looking for 200-300k words (probably a trilogy of such beasts), massive world building, and a more complex makeup of plot and language.
It matters that you understand the genre you write in. Fans like to know what kind of story they'll get beforehand.
So, if you're swimming in uncharted waters, do some research to find out what readers will expect from the genre label.
I'm not going over every genre out there, just the most popular ones.
- Children's - Books for kids age 7-12. Should be easier to read and not as long.
- Young Adult - This has everything to do with the main character's age. They should be 13-17. Typically deals with coming-of-age type stuff.
- New Adult - Again, it's about age. Usually 17-23ish. Deals with those college years or the first time a character sets out on their own. Can contain more sexually explicit material than young adult.
- Chick-Lit - Books for women. Most commonly contemporary, but has elements of love and sex like a romance. Women empowering.
- Mystery - Deals with solving something.
- Horror - Scares you so badly you have nightmares or soil yourself as the antagonist terrorizes those around them.
- Thriller - Keeps you turning pages because you don't know what will happen next. Deals with possible world issues (biological, political, etc...).
- Fantasy - All about other worlds. Fantastical creatures and magical powers abound.
- Historical - History that can fall into the realm of fiction or non-fiction. Never set in the present unless involving time travel.
- Romance - Usually from the woman's point of view. Centers on two people that eventually fall in love and end up together.
- Erotica - X rated fiction. Very explicit scenes.
- Western - This one is all about setting. Usually the old West (American).
- Legal Thriller - Suspenseful story centering around a trial of some sort.
- Dystopian - These novels deal with the creation of a different society.
- Hen-Lit - Novels for older women. Contemporary, but very little sex (although there may be romance).
- Contemporary - Set in this day and age.
- Science Fiction - Usually futuristic, always deals with some kind of technology. Can include other planets and all that encompasses.
- Literary - Centers on theme rather than plot. People walk away with a changed mindset.
- Urban - Setting is a city, but focus is more about the underground (hidden) section. Usually has a lot of profanity, violence, and sexual situations.
- Time Travel - As the name implies, commonly deals with messing with the natural order of things via time travel.
- Paranormal - Werewolves, vampires, and other creatures that go bump in the night. Or with special abilities of the characters (think X-Men).
Now, these genres almost always cross in some way. You can have a young adult science fiction mystery, dystopian romance, or children's western. Fractured Glass, the anthology I'm working on with four other amazing writers, is young adult sci-fi paranormal horror fantasy magic romance. Yeah, try that on for size. *grin* Basically, you can throw your hat into more than one pile because of the story elements. Just do your research and get on it.
What are you working on? What genres does it fall into?
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!