Know your genre

In a perfect world, every book would be equally marketable to every publisher, and we'd all sell everything we wrote and make millions doing so. But we haven't yet reached that perfect world, so in the meantime, you're going to need to know what you're writing so that you'll have an idea of who might buy it. It really, really helps to know this BEFORE you type "The End" and print out your final copy. Or, worse, get fifty rejection letters from publishers who tell you they "don't publish books of this type."

Genre is: romance, mystery, horror, western, men's adventure, science fiction, fantasy, gay/lesbian, religious, historical, mainstream, etc..


Mainstream can have elements from any or all of the other genres, but will have some facet that publishers believe will make it appeal to a wider audience. Walk through a bookstore, and try to imagine where your book would likely be shelved. That's your genre.

And be honest with yourself here. If Fabio's presence on the cover of your book would, A) be appropriate, and B) increase sales, you have not written a mainstream novel. Ditto rocket-ships, women in chain-mail bikinis, or guys in cowboy boots and chaps.

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