Choosing a genre can be tough work. If you’re like me, you have several genres that you enjoy reading and would like to write in.
For the purpose of writing a novel, however, you want to focus on one genre only. Even if your ideas for novels are scattered across genres, you’ll want to capture the one you feel most comfortable writing in, especially if this is your first novel.
If you want this experience to be as easy and stress-free as possible, write what you know. Simply put: Write in the genre you read the most.
There is a direct correlation between good writers and voracious readers. You can’t help but pick up on the nuances and mechanics of a good story when you read them over and over. What sounds right, reads right, and is written right becomes more ingrained in your memory with each successive book you read. It’s like muscle memory for your writer’s brain.
You may have one genre that you really identify with or you may have several that you love. An easy way to make a decision among them is to look at your Kindle library, your Goodreads shelves, or actual bookshelves in your home and do a head-count of each genre.
This exercise can surprise you. I thought I leaned more towards the supernatural until I sat down and separated all my books into categories. My number one read was historical fiction, according to my library. Imagine my surprise!
Are you stuck between two genres? If you love two genres equally, pick one by determining which is selling better on Amazon. You can just eyeball the lists if you want, or you can get technical and, for a minimal cost, buy an app like KDP Rocket that gives you actual sales numbers and profits for any book or niche that Amazon handles. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
A word of caution: Don’t let “salability” be the ONLY reason you write in a genre. No matter what the pundits say, writing in a genre that doesn’t interest you is counterproductive. And writing should be a joy, not a chore. That’s why it’s the best job on earth!
If you’re still stuck between genres, think about combining them. Remember I said I was shocked to find out historical fiction featured more prominently than supernatural stories in my reading list? I combined the two into the story I’m currently writing: One that mixes Vikings and vampires in new and unique ways. It’s really fired up my creative muse, which has resulted in some days where I’m writing 6K words in the space of a few hours!
However you decide to do it, make sure you narrow your story idea and genre to one before next week, when we’re on to the next phase of novel writing: Set Up.
See you on the next page!