This strange word, genre, was one I never thought I’d use when I first heard it at fourteen. First off, you don’t know how to pronounce it when you see it for the first time. The second strange part is that it means a type of category. Why not just say category? There are genres of music like country, pop, classical, rock, etc. Movies are put into genres as well as books; fantasy, science fiction, steam punk, etc.
Turns out, that the whole part of genre is for marketing. When you go looking for a book to read, you know the type of book you’re looking for. You may be wanting a comedy, suspense, adventure, or romance. Based on that, you know what section to look in when you go in a bookstore or library.
Why know about Genre?
So, I figured I’d just read and write what ever I felt like and not worry about the weird “genre” word, or even category names. But it turns out that you need to know a bit about your genre. Plus, the age categories, which includes each of the genres. Why? because the writer is the first and primary marketer for any book. Genre is a marketing tool, so that readers know where to find the type of book they want to read.
A writer needs to abide by the rules of the genre so the reader gets the satisfaction they were looking for. A romance needs the kiss at the end, otherwise the reader will feel cheated. An adventure story better take you to a new, exciting place, or the genre is wrong.
What to know
First off, you need to know the rules or expectations that are associated with the genres. Sci fi readers want to read about new technology and explore possibilities we haven’t discovered yet. A writer needs to know what will satisfy the reader. Twisting the rules of genres can make for an interesting story, however, they can’t be violated or a reader will be knocked out of the story rather than pulled in. Closely tied to this is the age group the book is for, an adult horror is quite a bit different than a child’s spooky story.
With the increase of self-publishing, it is important to really study the genre, because self-publishing makes you the sole marketer. Books are judged by the covers. So your cover needs to match the story AND the genre. An adventure book with a picture of a couple gazing in each other’s eyes, won’t do well. If you choose your own cover, the picture, the font, and even the colors have to match the genre. Books in a genre all match and look like they belong, yours should too.
The next thing to know, is where you find your genre. You have to find your tribe, so to speak. Each genre has their own ‘type’ of people. Most people like more than one genre, but they still have similar habits as others who like the same genres. For example, there will be movies and shows that match the genre, as well as hobbies.
Different social media platforms will have more of an appeal to readers of different genres as well. The daydreamers reading romances and fantasy will likely be found on pintrest looking at ideas for creating a romantic dinner, or building a fairy garden in the back yard. Adventure readers may be watching youtube videos of adrenaline junkies using their go-pro camera. While the science fiction readers are probably keeping track of the next meteor shower. So . . . this is where you will be, making friends and sharing about your book.