As a writer, where do you position yourself in terms of genre, and is it even important to know?
There are traditional genres which everyone knows such as romance, sci-fi, crime fiction, chick-lit, historical, etc. But there are also more nuanced and emerging sub-genres such as crime-fantasy, quiet horror, eco-thriller, zombie romance, slipstream, low fantasy, hard sci-fi and many more, all of which have their own particular appeal and established readership.
Where do your existing and future titles fit in with this list of, essentially, searchable keywords? Are there people out there searching for you book by genre, if not by title? Absolutely.
There is a reason that particular genres emerge and exist and that is simply that similar books are popular enough, for long enough to require a common identifier allowing them to be searched and bought. The genres defined by buying trends make money for retailers on and offline, allowing readers to get to the content they want as quickly as possible. Then, authors begin to write in response to those genres.
“They were intuitive, talented and a delight to work with”Charles Owen, author of Cry Cassandra and Fiamma
If you think of genre as something to consider after writing you book, you may be missing out on the benefit of working with established and emerging search trends and genre definitions in mind. Your titles will have a genre which is most closely linked to a particular type of reader, or potential super-fan, and it makes perfect sense to be aware of this and write directly to that super-fan. This does not mean changing your writing to fit a genre or stereotype, but might be seen as allowing your writing to work with buying trends rather than against them, pushing the boundaries of genre in new and exciting ways.
Even titles which seem so far-reaching and unique that genre fails them, can be positioned to sell to established genre fans via commercially-aware blurb writing, cover design and distribution. The more effectively you can identify your genre (niche or otherwise) and who you are writing for, the more sales you will make by appealing to the wants of those readers.
We all see the ‘people who bought this also bought…’ section when buying books on Amazon, and it makes absolute sense for your book to appear there, looking brilliant, when another author in your genre is about to make a sale.