Choosing a Genre for Your Book

With so many genres to choose from, how does an author settle on one? Should you be general in your choice or should you be very specific?

From a marketing perspective, books should be marketed to a more narrow niche group, but this advice doesn’t apply to genre selection. For example, if you select a genre of Religious – Agnostic, you can possibly eliminate yourself from consideration by online retailers/bookstores that accept religious books because they are “turned off” by the “Agnostic”. So, to answer the above question – you should be as general as possible with picking your genre. This the case whether you are self publishing a book or especially if you’re going after representation by a literary agent.

It’s important to also make sure that your genre is reflective of your book. For instance, if you’ve written a murder mystery, your shouldn’t select a genre related to romance, and vice versa.

Have you ever experienced any issues with choosing genres or sub-genres?

Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

3 thoughts on “Choosing a Genre for Your Book

  1. What a timely post! I was just pondering the issue of genre myself. I’ve always focused on historical fiction, and I still love writing it, but lately I’ve wanted to expand to other kinds of stories. But some people say you need to identify “your brand” and stick with it, but is that still the case in the age of independent publishing? I wrote a blog post about it last week, “So Many Muses, So Little Time,” on

    1. Christine:

      Thanks for the comment!

      I typically recommend authors use a different pen name when writing across genres. Why? Because you want to develop a following — especially if you’re going to be a serial author. You definitely need to stick to a niche in that respect.

  2. I have a genre dilemma on which I’d greatly appreciate your advice: I am in the final stages of editing the manuscript for a memoir, about half of which details a “second-life” experience that reads like a science fiction thriller/fantasy. How can I go about marketing it to both memoir and novel audiences?

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