August 28, 2009 at 1:36 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Genre. More specifically, how do you figure out what genre your oh-so-awesome book which is just so-fabulous-that-it-transcends-all-categories and has the best aspects of absolutely every genre known to mankind in it and is just too complex-and-original-and-wonderful to be categorised.

Well, even if you’re not quite big-headed enough to think that your novel is the above, the truth is that pretty much no novel is entirely one genre. It may be mainly one genre with elements of another, perhaps an equal split between two genres or even just a complete mix (like my most recent. *sigh*).

Well, in general, the reason people ask genre questions is because they want to know what to call their aforementioned oh-so-awesome novel in their query letter. So this got me thinking. (Warning: what is about to follow is just my thoughts and maybe complete brain-drivel) Is it going to be the end of the world if in your first sentence you call your novel a paranormal thriller and don’t have room to fit in the fact that it has strong romantic elements? No. Because if your novel has strong romantic elements, your query will reflect that. You don’t need to tell an agent absolutely everything twice – they’re not stupid.

Now all I’m saying is that you don’t have to stress and get hooked up over what genre you say your novel is – I’m not telling you to create an inventively cryptic genre because the agent will find out what your book is like from the query anyway. Because that would just be really annoying for the poor agent.





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  1. I think you’re right. From the agent blogs I’ve read, it seems to me, that while your categorization is helpful — it lets you know if you’re submitting to the right people, for example — it is not key. You might disregard somethings, say the strong romantic elements, when categorizing the novel; however, your non-idiot agent might say ‘hmmm…. that part they overlooked would mean we’d shelve the item Here is a bookstore instead of There.’ They’ll categorize it that way when they try to sell it to publishers. So, all in all, what you say about the genre is useful, but not the final word, nor the end of the world.

  2. Lovely post, Meta! I think you’re entirely right. At least, I really hope you are, because I have NO idea what my WIP is. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not even a faint semblance of a clue. I’ll just have to leave it up to my brilliant agent (which I plan to have by then, of course) to come up with the genre. =D

  3. Ooh this was helpful. Cause my WIP might just be like 5 different genres rolled up into one. I don’t even know what it is. :/

  4. Great site…keep up the good work.

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