What is genre? To put it simply, it is merely a way of categorizing stories by defining what they are about. So why is genre so important to writers today and how do you go about determining what genre your story falls into?

First, let me say that sometimes people are called “genre writers” merely to say that they don’t write mainstream literary fiction. I do not agree with this classification as fiction is a genre in itself, albeit a broad one. There is also a tendency to look down on genre writers as being less literary. I think this is an unfair viewpoint as genre has little to do with whether something is literary.

Despite these downsides, I am convinced that there are many more pros to considering yourself a “genre writer.” First, and I think most importantly, when you understand what genre you are writing in you have a clear road map of what is expected in your story. You don’t necessarily have to follow the map, but you will be able to clearly see where any detours you make may impact your journey. Second, it gives your story a clear selling point. You will know your target audience and can focus your marketing at those who are more likely to buy your story. This will make your marketing more effective and let you save time and money. Related to this is the fact that should you choose to publish an ebook, you will be asked for the category that you want your book published under. Selecting the correct category will greatly increase your chance of being seen by those who may buy your book.

So now that you know why genre is important, how do you go about determining what genre you are writing in? Most people have some idea about what genre they want to write in when they start, but that shouldn’t stop you if your writing seems to go in a different direction. Stories sometimes get a mind of their own once you start writing them. The most important thing is to determine what the focus of your story is. Is the relationship between two people the central focus? You are probably writing a romance. Maybe the relationship is the most important , but they live in the future and have to deal with a shortage of robots. You are still writing a romance, but in the subgenre of Science Fiction Romance. The most important plot point of your story will become the genre, the little secondary plot points will help you determine your subgenre.