Imagine you are making a mad dash because you are running late. You see an old friend who has heard you wrote a novel and wants to know more. You don’t have long and blurt out. ‘It’s a young adult fantasy series with dragons, wizards, and sorcery.’ Then wave goodbye. This is exactly how I describe my book to people when I am unsure if they like the genre. Guess what? Your first goal as a writer is to find out who is not your audience. When you know your genre you can whittle it down to the key bits of information. It is a starting point, like a secret code that is easily understood by your real audience. Key words in a genre can mean so much. It can help find your audience in a short space of time by relying on familiarity.
What Does a Genre Achieve?
So you have spent ages writing and are unsure about the genre of your story. The real issue with this is that you, the writer are your story’s biggest advocate. If you are unsure this can magnify the confusion many times over. A genre helps find an audience by using themes and styles that already exist. Every story may be a little different. The key is finding the familiar threads so you can explain it in a clear manner. It acts as a guide to let your audience know what to expect. More importantly it lets them know what not to expect.
Each Genre has a Style
I was wandering through a shop and saw a book with a cover that said ‘fantasy’. I checked the blurb to make sure and it suggested fantasy. You can imagine what happened next… It was paranormal romance. My point is, you don’t have to get the exact details right just the basics. When you choose a genre your choice is there to help your audience find your story. Your tagline, blurb and book cover all become an important message to your reader. Knowing your genre can add an extra layer of information to help your audience.