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How Do I Know the Genre of My Book?

14 Mar 2024 2:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

You've written a book. You are proud. You are excited. And you should be! Now, you are ready to get it out into the world. But there is one thing holding you back. You're not sure how to sell the book because you don't know what genre your book is. 

But first, what is a book genre?

According to, “Every work of fiction falls into a sub-genre, each with its own style, tone, elements, and storytelling devices.”

Does it matter what genre my book is? The answer is yes!

Jane Friedman tackles the topic well in her post, How Important Is Genre When Pitching and Promoting Your Book? T.S. Ferguson of Azantian Literary Agency makes this important point in the article. Identifying a genre for your book helps meet a reader's expectations.  

“...when you tell someone a book is a “fantasy” they are going to expect some magic or otherworldliness, if a book is labeled a “romance” there's an expectation that there will be a Happily Ever After at the end.”

How do I know the genre of my book? These three tips can help. 

1.     Read articles and posts about book genres

In order to tell what genre your book is, you might first look at the genres out there. A great place to start is this article by 37 of the Most Popular Book Genres. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books. And it provides common characteristics within genres--as well as examples of books for each genre. Continuing with our previous mention of fantasy books, the article notes:

“The fantasy genre is made up of fictional worlds full of supernatural and magical powers that transport the reader into a whole new realm.” --

As you look at's wonderful list of book genres, examine your book. Does it have anything in common with the genres listed? If so, you're on the right track.

2.     Visit your local bookstore

Your local bookstore is a great resource for helping you identify your book genre. Here are some examples of genres I found on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble.

Survey the room, check out the various sections, and see if any books within those sections strike a chord.

-       Do the book covers in a particular section match what you imagined for your book cover?

-       Do you notice any themes that are similar to yours?

-       Is there a style or tone among the book descriptions that applies to your book, too?

3.     Look at book categories on Amazon

If you want to research genres without having to leave the house, look at the book categories listed on the Books on Amazon page. On the left-hand side, scroll down to Department > Books. There, you’ll see a list of book categories, alphabetized from Arts & Photography to Travel. Don’t forget to check out the subcategories listed under Literature & Fiction.

For indie authors interested in self-publishing, these categories and subcategories will prove beneficial down the road. You’ll be able to use them when it’s time to upload your book to Amazon and choose your categories.

But what if you haven't finished your book yet? 

Perhaps you've started writing, but you're not sure what book your genre is. This early stage is the perfect time to nail down your book's genre. Why? It'll be easier to deliver the kind of book your reader expects after you've determined your book's genre--you’ll be able to plan (or pants) accordingly.


Great links to click from this blog post: – What Are the Different Genres of Literature? A Guide to 14 Literary Genres

Jane Friedman – How Important Is Genre When Pitching and Promoting Your Book? – 37 of the Most Popular Book Genres – Books on Amazon


Photo credits:

Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Photo Nic on Unsplash

Nico Waters

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