A Guide on Determining Your Genre as a Writer

Some of the best writers out there specialize in a certain field. Pinpointing the genre that’s just right for you will usually be the first step towards building a successful writing career. You’ll have to do some research and you’ll also have to do a lot of reading in order to identify the field that speaks to you and that you could potentially excel in.

Understand the Differences between Genres

Many newbies fail realizing the large plethora of writing genres out there. Before doing anything else, you may want to understand the differences and the characteristics that make each one unique:

  • Fiction: this is one of the broadest and most popular writing genres out there. Literary fiction is essentially a novel that the writer has imagined. The term literary is there to indicate the complexity and the richness of the language. There’s another sub-genre here and it’s called genre fiction. It can be science fiction, romance, crime, horror, erotica, etc. This one is typically considered a lighter read. A literary fiction work comes with an engaging story but the language doesn’t have to be as elevated.
  • Nonfiction: nonfiction writing is the exact opposite of writing a novel. Such a book can come in the form of a how-to guide (tremendously popular today), it can be published by a university or another academic institution or it can be a tremendously niche piece of writing. Usually, the writer has in-depth knowledge of the subject, which turns them into the authority in the respective field.
  • Memoirs: this is another form of nonfiction writing that has become a genre of its own. It seems that memoirs are gaining more and more prominence in today’s world with just about everyone from A-list celebrities to people nobody has ever heard about producing at least one in their lifetime.
  • Young adult books: a fiction genre, young adult books target people in their teens and early 20s. Divergent and Twilight are two popular books that fall within the category. The market is growing all the time and such books have to adhere to a couple of essential rules. For a start, there are no profanities, no explicit sexual scenes and vulgarity in young adult books. Things are rather hinted than directly described when pertaining to something a bit more questionable.
  • Children’s books: the final field caters to the needs of the youngest readers. Being a successful children’s book author is far from an easy task – you need a lot of creativity and you also have to adapt the language to the respective audience. If you manage to accomplish these goals, however, you can build a pretty successful career.

What’s Your Idea?

To get started with writing, you will have to carry out a brainstorming session. The ideas that you have most often will make it rather easy for you to pinpoint the genre that’s just right.

Sit down and try to develop the book concept that you have in your mind. Do you feel comfortable sharing your own experience with a large group of readers? Do you have a great idea for a book that’s set in an imaginary world?

Don’t try to fit your concept inside any of the genres. Such an approach will be too limiting. Rather, attempt to flesh out the idea itself. Once the book concept becomes crystal clear in your mind, you’ll understand which genre you have a predisposition to.

Understand the Specifics of Each Genre

Now that you have a book concept and a basic understanding of the different genres, it’s time to take a look at the literary tools used in each. There are “secrets” and specific approaches that writers have to employ when producing a text within the respective category. In order to be successful, you’ll have to acquire an intimate understanding of the genre and its specifics.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish the goal is reading the books created by some of the best genre’s representatives.

Remember that the audience you’re addressing knows and understands the respective genre. If your book is off, chances are that people will not bother going through until the end. In order to write for the specific audience, you have to become one of these people.

The more you read, the more you’ll understand the secrets of the trade. Take notes while going through high-rated books. Pinpoint the tone, the style, the complexity of the vocab and even the sentence structure. Every single element contributes to the overall readability of the book and to its appeal.

Stick to a Genre that You’re Comfortable in

Can you switch between genres when writing a book? Sure, you can experiment and have fun with different writing approaches. One thing to remember, however, is that sticking to the same niche will make it easier for you to build a career.

Thus, if you’ll be turning writing into a profession, it may be best to stick to one genre.

There are several reasons why such an approach makes sense. For a start, you’ll be building your reputation in the respective field. In addition, you can do cross-promotion, making people purchase one book in a series after the other.

Being creative is very important but you’ll also have to focus on the business side of things. There’s sufficient evidence that series sell well and they make it easier for writers to build a career in a highly competitive world. Thus, pick a genre that you like and that you’ll be capable of writing multiple books in.

There’s no need to make a quick decision about your genre. Take some time to plan, research and develop your ideas. The period you dedicate to preliminary work will speed up writing and the publication of the book itself. The more effort you dedicate to this first phase, the easier it will be for you to get started on the right foot.

This post is contributed as Guest post by Alice.

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