So you’re writing this book, right? It’s going pretty well. There’s a good cast of characters, a few good plot twists, some suspense and a lot of action—it’s definitely something you would read, and hopefully that means someone else might want to read it someday, too.
It’s a great spot to be in, as a writer. But there’s just one problem: in searching for literary agents here and there, you’re not sure who might be good candidates to send queries to. Each agent typically accepts queries about books from certain genres, and well … you don’t exactly know where yours belongs.
You have problems. We have solutions. Writing is hard. Let’s make it a little easier to navigate, shall we?
Solution 1: Determine whom you’re trying to reach
Within each genre are a plethora of sub-genres, but in order to figure out where your story or book belongs, take a few steps back and focus on one thing: who do you picture sitting down to read your work?
Some themes are universal for all age groups, but the age bracket of your characters, the situations you put them in and the range of their development from start to finish can at least help you figure out whether it’s more suited for younger audiences, young adults or strictly adults, as a starting point. This can at least help you determine where your story doesn’t belong, and can help you narrow down where it might fit best.
Solution 2: Assess what you’re reading
Often the genres we read most frequently are the ones we end up writing in. Mostly because, well, if we’re spending all that time reading this genre or that, it’s probably because we like it. Over time it can become the genre we know best, and therefore, has the potential to become our go-to genre when we turn around and write our own stories.
Perhaps the easiest way to do a genre hunt is to figure out which authors you enjoy, and do a search on them. “So-and-so is a [genre] author who has written …” will usually pop up without too much digging. John Green is a young adult author. It’s not guaranteed or required, but is much more likely, that if you read a lot of John Green novels, your stories will take on more young adult themes. Sort of like a you are what you eat philosophy, except, you write what you read. Maybe.
Solution 3: Keep checking back all month
We’re keeping things fairly general in this post, but as the month goes on, we’re going to take you on a virtual literary genre expedition. GET EXCITED!
We’ll dive deeper into the different types of genres you might be writing in, or might have written in previously and never even knew it. Genres like young adult fiction, for example, have so many sub-genres it can seem impossible to narrow down where your YA book fits. We’re going to make the search a little easier for you.
We hope these solutions can help you at least start to narrow down some possibilities, and if you’re still stuck, we hope you’ll come back and visit soon, for a more in-depth look at what genres are out there, and where you and your stories best belong.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.