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La Chaire, Beyond the Garden Gate
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Archived Author Help > How do you classify a book that does not fit into any single genre?

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message 1: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments My book seems to defy all attempts to categorise it! It touches many genres but could not be said to fit any single genre. So where do I place my efforts to market it? Do we need a genre entitled 'books without a genre'? I have written a blog post about this in my author profile if you are interested to read more about my dilemma.

message 2: by India (new)

India Daram (goodreadscomindia_daram) | 13 comments Hi Colin, Listing your novel under all appropriate genres will help readers find your novel. End of the day it would translate into sales. My personal 'glass test' would be - where is the novel's protagonist heading for? And label that as the first genre. Hope this helps.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Colin,

I had that dilemma, I put 3 short stories together, which covered, mystery, murder/mystery, thriller, paranormal and horror. I just went with Mystery as the main one and list the others as the extra's. So I would suggest that you put the strongest element as the main genre.


message 4: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Reading over your blurb, it sounds like historical fiction to me. Most books have elements of many genres. Pick one or two that best represent your book and market it as such.

message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Colin. Lots of us are hybrid genre authors, so I do feel your frustration. Your best bet is to pick the best genre fits and to use keywords to narrow further.

message 6: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Thanks for the heads up everyone. I did, eventually plump for Historical Fiction but the underlying issue goes much deeper. As writers/artists people always want to categorise what we do. We are not allowed just to create & if we try our work is automatically placed in one genre or another. Christina has used the word 'hybrids' and I have described my work as 'factional', as if I should apologise because my work is not entirely fictional. I would not want to assume that many of you write to a narrow a genre & if you did I would not criticise you for doing so but I look for a story, one with an interesting narrative/angle & if it does not fit a mould so much the better. The problem then comes with trying to market it, across social media in particular.

message 7: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor In addition to picking the best fit, use the keywords to get it to show up in the other genres you think it crosses.

message 8: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments You can't do that with many drop down lists (eg Kindle) because they only allow you one or two choices.

message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) In some genres, Keywords allow you additional genres:

message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Dec 07, 2015 09:45AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Colin wrote: " I would not want to assume that many of you write to a narrow a genre..."

Most of what I've read by members of this group would be what Christina called hybrid. I can't think of one thing I've read by someone here that fits only into one genre, in fact. I'm very much a hybrid. The book I'm getting ready to put out is humor / horror / science fiction / fantasy / holiday / romance / adventure... even a tiny bit of western. But, I will market it as humor or satire first and foremost. If I try to market it otherwise - as science fiction or romance, for instance - I stand to upset readers looking for hard core science fiction or a deep romantic story. So, I would recommend marketing your book only to those that will get the true experience of the genre(s) they are interested in.

I get where you are coming from, but I suspect that most readers will be disappointed if they begin reading a book that doesn't have enough of the genre they want in it.

message 11: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) Pick two categories in Kindle. Make sure they are the finest subcategories, and not top-level categories (if you can't get into the category you want because it is not offered on the KDP page, send them an e-mail to get the book categorized there.)

Pick a different BISAC in print (my experience is with Createspace)

Add as many keyword categories as appropriate in the description and keywords

After pressing 'publish', e-mail Createspace support and ask them to add two more browse categories

Amazon will attempt to match the print categories with the Kindle categories, so always pick different ones in order to get more categories.

With this strategy, you can get at least five categories. Matched across Kindle and print that gives you ten, and if you got into any keyword categories, you may be into thirteen to fifteen.

message 12: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Colin wrote: "My book seems to defy all attempts to categorise it! It touches many genres but could not be said to fit any single genre. So where do I place my efforts to market it? Do we need a genre entitled '..."

That's a great question, Colin. I'm facing the same problem myself (I'm planning a book that is part romance/part mystery.) Here's how I answered the question for my book... which audience would enjoy it the most? For me, the answer was easily the romance market. If a romance reader read it, and it had a little bit of mystery in it, they'd probably be okay with that, especially if it was marketed as being a "romantic mystery." But I think a mystery reader would be far less happy - and probably put off by the sex in it. So, romance it is.

In your case, look at your book, consider all the possible genres, and decide which target audience would be most pleased by your book - and then go with that genre. You can select multiple genres on Amazon, so use that as well.

One more thing... successful marketing of a book is a requirement to reaching commercial success. And marketing a multi-genre book will be more difficult than marketing a single-genre book. Keep that in mind for future books. By writing a multi-genre book, you probably made marketing your book more challenging. And successful marketing is the key to a successfully selling a good book.

message 13: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I think that one reason that authors tend to have problems identifying genre is because they think "if it is X, it cannot have Y in it."

They think "if it is a thriller, it cannot have romance." When if you look at any successful thriller, it probably has some romantic subplot it.

Ditto Western or Fantasy. Relationships are part of life and people expect to see them in a story at some point. But the author thinks "but I've got this sweet little romance in here, so it is partly romance too". But the romance genre has a lot of rules as to what readers expect, and if you just throw it into romance because it has a relationship in it, you're going to have disappointed readers.

What is the *primary* genre? It doesn't matter what it 'touches.' It doesn't matter if your historical fiction is mostly factual. As long as there is some fiction in there and it is not a history text or memoire. People will be expecting a lot of historical accuracy.

What is the conflict in your story?

message 14: by Roxanne (new)

Roxanne Bland (roxanne2) | 102 comments My book is a science fiction romance, because that's what it is. A romance that takes place on another planet. I'm not particularly worried about which the readers prefer since they're so indelibly intertwined.

message 15: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments This info is really helpful but to answer your query PD the key twist is that is a biography of a garden. It could have been written as piece of non-fiction which would have made the book easy to categorise but because I choose to write it as a novel (it had such a great story attached to it) the waters have been somewhat muddied!

message 16: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) P.D. wrote: "I think that one reason that authors tend to have problems identifying genre is because they think "if it is X, it cannot have Y in it."

They think "if it is a thriller, it cannot have romance." W..."

Great answer, PD!

message 17: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) What an interesting idea. Makes me think of Velveteen Rabbit for grown-ups. I would probably classify it more in non-fiction categories than fiction (but as I mentioned above, you can pick a number of categories, so don't limit yourself.) Since this is a setting-driven story, I would focus on categorizing by setting. Keyword categories will be important. If there were fairies (I am assuming there are not) then I would put it in fantasy.

This story sounds like it will be a niche book that will most appeal to gardeners and people who like historical gardens or travelogues. I would include it in biographies and memoirs, even though it is fictionalized. Some categories that I would look at (guessing the best that I can at setting, but of course you would pick the one best for your book):

Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > English Gardens
Books > History > Europe > Great Britain > England
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Horticulture > Garden Design
Books > Literature & Fiction > British & Irish > Historical
Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
Books > Literature & Fiction > Literary
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Historical

Include place/time keyword categories for memoirs and biographies:

Include history keyword categories:

Include literary keyword categories:
(century for sure, and some of the literature and women's fiction categories are quite profitable)

message 18: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments Well PD you can't get much more thorough than that!Thanks very much, I will certainly act your advice. It has got me to wondering about books that I've read that are difficult to categorise. Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' comes to mind.
thanks again.

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