Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

7 May 2021


Why We Talk About Book Genres

Book genres are simple classifications, allowing the reader to know what kind of book they are reading. They also allow publishers to know what kind of book they are being asked to publish. And – you may have found this yourself – book genres help writers understand what kind of book they’re writing too.

Of course, it is possible for a book to have more than one genre. For example, Twilight is YA fiction, but also paranormal romance. (And honestly, you could make some arguments for it to fit into several other genres as well!)

Common fiction book genres

Classics are among the most common books covered in school. Usually, the authors of these books are dead (think F. Scott Fitzgerald or Charles Dickens) or extremely prolific (Margaret Atwood or Joyce Carol Oates).

  • Literary Fiction often includes classics as well. It often addresses issues of humanity, using beautifully and carefully crafted language.
  • Historical Fiction is about a time period at least 30 years in the past from when the author is alive.
  • Romance is fairly simple to identify because the story is about two characters falling in love. Romance often falls into other categories as well, like the above example of Twilight, or in Outlander which is also a historical fiction and probably a form of light fantasy as well.
  • Horror stories are generally scary ones, for both the reader and the characters.
  • Mystery or Suspense fall into a similar category as they are usually a little frightening at times, but the emphasis falls on solving the mystery or unearthing more clues.
  • Action and Adventure are usually stories that follow a story arc led by the action. These stories are not usually “moral” tales that teach anything but are often mostly about having a crazy time. At the end, sometimes the main character hasn’t changed much as a person.
  • Science Fiction is usually set in a future world, alternate world, or a different planet, but this genre has more subgenres than any other so there are many ways you can take this genre.
  • Fantasy stories are those that include magic and supernatural creatures rather than scientific advancement.

As you’re writing your own novel, it’s important to identify your genre and be aware of other books in that category if you intend to publish. Knowing your genre and other books that fall under that header is essential to pitching, selling, and marketing your book.

Let’s try a little exercise in the comments: What genre are you writing in? And what 2 books are most similar to the one you’re writing? Knowing this information is invaluable!

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