Genre = Species

Lightbox for 2016 - Feb 20 - Genre - species

The Importance — or Not — of Sticking to a Specific Genre

Sticking to one genre is particularly important if we are approaching traditional publishers. That’s the way they like it for marketing purposes and they are the boss. Because otherwise, they won’t take on our book.

There are several schools of thought when indie-publishing through places like Smashwords and CreateSpace, though:

  • Stick to a single genre (both in writing the book and in labelling it).
  • If the book is a romance/history or perhaps a romance/thriller, a thriller/comedy, a sci-fi with a strong horror element like Alien, then change the BISAC category back and forth between the two every few months or so.* (BISAC Category: “Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) categories are used by the book-selling industry to help identify and group books by their subject matter.”)
  • It is sometimes to our advantage to be in a category with the fewest books so this means we can get creative — within the categorizations available, that is. But don’t ever mislead.

This is an excellent guide to … well, making a killing on Kindle: by Michael Alvear.


*The one genre whose label we can’t switch back and forth with any other is pornography. It must always have its Explicit Content warning.

Confession Time

What a week! The last three weeks, in fact. Absolutely jammed with at least 40 million things to do and places to be. So … I was a bad girl and almost got behind in my posts. Tsk, tsk. Rather than miss a post, I decided to include several links. (Guess what next week’s post is going to be. Yep: “Blame it on Writer’s Block.”)

In my defence, I could have extracted information from the following links and then regurgitated it all into my post, but I chose to let my readers decide what they want to glean from the original sources.

The Writer’s Digest link is very detailed. I suggest, for those of you in a hurry, that you choose that one to start with.

Definition of “genre”:

Writer’s Digest link:

Another extensive list:

Wikipedia’s take with its usual series of links to links to links that drive historical novel writers like me to distraction. Decide you need to check out 17th century pigeons and end up reading about dinosaur egg fossils for the rest of the day.

A paragraph or so’s description of several genres:

A cute “map” to “roll over with your cursor”:


Next Post — Blame it on Writer’s Block

Sherrill Wark is the author of Really Stupid Writing Mistakes: How to Avoid Them:

… and Death in l’Acadie: a Kesk8a story (fiction):


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