Archive Post – Writing a Novel – Marketing a Novel

Yet another Chicken or Egg Paradox.

Spoiler: no answers found here – just more damn questions.

It must really be nice to wake up in the morning and somewhere between the coffee machine and the refridgerator you are struck by a story idea that not only interests and inspires you, but is at the same time marketable.

Many novelists just aren´t that lucky.  Your story idea is great, your characters are cool, you have a theme and plot, ending, etc. but you just can´t seem to figure out where your novel fits in the grand scheme of things.  Writers who focus on a particular genre don´t have this problem as their market is well defined.  Then there are the occasional breakaway bestsellers such as ¨Life of Pi¨ by Yann Martel that don´t really fit snuggly into any particular genre.

Take a look at the following list or get it straight from the horse´s mouth at the following wiki link.

List of Genres

  • Science fiction
  • Faction
  • Crime
  • Detective
  • Erotica
  • Satire
  • Slice of Life
  • Suspense / Thriller
  • Drama
  • Action / Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • Mystery
  • Horror
  • Paranormal / Supernatural
  • Political
  • Children’s
  • Fantasy
  • Western
  • Historical Fiction
  • Inspirational

Knowing the genre you are writing in is the same as knowing your reader.  If you can identify your genre you will also know what the conventions are and know (or MUST know) how much to conform and how much to innovate on these genre driven traditions.  Within each genre there are sub-genres, each with their own particular style and content.

As for the idea that just doesn´t fit into a particular GENRE.  No matter how you look at it you just don´t see it in any particular genre.  AWESOME – CONGRATULATIONS!  You may just be a GENIUS – Write it NOW – Worry about marketing later.  Maybe it will turn out to be style X – Maybe Not.  At least it is finished.

My first two books (not including a few tutorials that are soon to be available on AMAZON) are all about dogs.  One is autobiographical non-fiction and the next is pure fiction.  So what is my genre?  Puppy Action?  Slice of Life?  Who knows?

Another way to approach this is the thirty second blurb – similar to the promotional info you would find on the back cover of a paperback novel.  Take the time to write your own blurb – before, during or after the book is written.  Maybe you could write and rewrite your blurb as the book progresses to see if you are staying true to your vision.  But somewhere within those thirty seconds, it will be clear if you have a vision and whether you know who your reader is.  The Genre may even reveal itself.


David Gordon Burke
Find my Books here.  


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