Knowing your genre is essential not only to the writing process but for publishing and marketing as well. So basically, you have to get it right.

There are tons of genres out there, and then tons of smaller genres and so on and so forth. It can become a little overwhelming, and that’s completely fine.

Most people go into the writing process having figured out their main genre, some don’t. That’s cool, and that’s why I wrote this article for you.

So check it out!




According to the dictionary, a genre is a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like. That’s a little technical, isn’t it? Let’s break it down into three categories.

1. Main Genre:

Your main genre is the major category in which your novel falls under. Many of you will know what these are from reading, and many of you probably know what the main genre your novel falls under. If you don’t, here are the main genres:

Mainstream, literary, historical, young adult, fantasy, horror, science fiction, mystery, thriller, romance, western, dystopian, non-fiction and fiction.

What if your novel doesn’t fit into one of these categories? It’s bound to! Every book belongs to a genre, and if you don’t see one that fits your novel, do some research and see if there are any other main genres that might work for you.


2. The Narrow Genre

The narrow genres are like sub-genres where you narrow down your main genre and focus on a particular niche. For example, if you are writing a fantasy novel, your narrow genre could be high fantasy. If you are writing a romance novel, then your narrow genre could be contemporary. So what are some narrow genres?

YA romance, urban fantasy, steampunk, noir, erotic, paranormal, etc.

There are so many different types of sub-genres for each main category that you might find your novel falls under several. This is absolutely okay. Just make sure that you don’t have too many narrow genres, as it will be harder to focus on a target audience.


3. Demographic and Geographic considerations:

Demographic considerations refer to the age of your audience; children’s (12 and under), young adult (13-17), new adult (18-25), and adult (25 and above). Geographic considerations refer to where they live. Are you targeting a specific country, city, town?




Reading is one of the best ways to determine what genre your novel falls under. Look at it as though you are learning and growing as a writer. So what can you read to determine which category your novel belongs to?


1. Novels

This one is pretty obvious. If you know that your story has dragons flying around in a mythical land with magic, then its more than likely that your novel will be in the genre of fantasy, so read Lord of the Rings. If you are writing a story about two young people who fall in love but tragedy strikes, then read The Fault In Our Stars.

Take notes on aspects of that genre, the dialogue, the author, plot points, interesting characters, boring parts of the novel, mistakes by the author or elements that don’t make sense.


2. Blurbs

Don’t feel like reading a novel? That’s cool. Instead, read blurbs from novels in your genre. You can do this on Amazon or Goodreads. Why would this help you? Because the blurb is the second thing a reader looks at after a cover, and it’s the blurb that sells the book. Read 30-50 and get an idea for specific plot elements, characters, story arcs, and conflicts.


RELATED: How to Name your Character



Researching your novel finalises the deal. All those genres I told you about back at the beginning of the article, research the one you think your novel falls into. Whilst reading is a great, practical way to discover your genre, added research can be substantially beneficial. It will break down the genre further and allow you to study more in-depth descriptions and components of that genre.

Again, take lots of notes!

All finished. Let’s chat!

Congrats, fellow writers. Finding a genre can be tricky, but once you have it will help you write or market your novel a lot better! Let me know if my How to Know your Genre treated you well, and if you think there is anything missing that you would like to learn about.

Hit me up in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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