Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dear O'Abby: I Don't Know What Genre My Book Is

Dear O'Abby,

I'm getting conflicting advice about what genre I should say my book is, and as I get close to querying, it's beginning to stress me out because I need to start thinking about which agents to target.  I thought I'd written a supernatural horror, but several of my readers tell me they think it's a thriller, an urban fantasy or even magic realism.

How do I know which it is?

Yours,

Jittery

Dear Jittery,

At the end of the day, you're the one who knows your book best and if you believe it's supernatural horror, then it probably is.  Maybe it has thriller and fantasy elements, but is still primarily a horror story.

That's okay.  Most books aren't 100% one genre or another.  The key is to identify its primary genre and call it that.  A good way to do this is to go to a bookstore and look at where books similar to yours sit on the shelf.  If they are mainly in the fantasy or thriller section, then maybe your readers are correct.  If they're in the horror section, then you are on the right track and you should query the book as a horror.

That said, if the thriller elements are a big part of the plot, you could also query agents who specialize in thrillers too, by just tweaking your query a little.  What is really important is that you pick one genre.  Nothing screams unprofessional noob more than someone querying a novel that's a YA historical suspense thriller mystery.

Good luck with the querying.  Do let us know how you get on.

X O'Abby


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