It is not essentially important to choose a genre for your novel. When it comes to writing, feel free to throw caution to the wind and ignore all writing “rules,” especially the ones that tend to limit your creativity. However, that might lead to some consequences you might not foresee. Choosing the genre of your story before you write it can be both limiting and beneficial, depending on your writing method and working creativity. But the main problem is if you don’t choose a genre, even after you’ve written the novel, you might find yourself facing the challenges we’ve gathered below.
1. Genre expectations
Every genre has its own expectations that need to be fulfilled. This does not depend on the genre itself, but on the readers of said genre. For example, you might write a touching love story where the hero and heroine don’t have a happily ever after. This will anger some readers – because in a romance novel, a happy ending is expected. Additionally, every other genre has its markers. For example, steampunk novels are in an alternate universe, science fiction usually focuses on the future, space travel, etc. If your book is marketed as steampunk, for example, but it does not have steampunk elements, it means you’ve chosen the wrong genre.
2. Marketing strategy
Today, if you’re publishing traditionally, your publishing house should take care of all the marketing. On the other hand, if you’re self-publishing, unless you hire a professional for help (which you should, if you can afford it), you will have to do most of the marketing for your book. And the best way to ensure a successful marketing campaign is to have a book in a determined genre, or a niche, and to market that book to readers that have already shown interest in other books from the same genre. And you cannot do that successfully, unless you determine the genre of your own book.
3. Avoiding wrong audience
It is extremely important to avoid marketing to the wrong audience. First of all, your book will not sell well, and it will not get into the hands of readers. Why? Well, because you’re offering the book to the wrong audience. And once you’ve exhausted your resources, you might not be able to market your book to the right audience. Remember that in the writing business, the readers are the most important part – if your marketing strategy doesn’t reach the right audience, chances are that your book will not get many readers.
4. Unnecessary negative reviews
If your book has been mislabeled in the wrong genre, your readers wouldn’t leave good reviews for your book. You would think that people who don’t like your book might give you a low rating without leaving a review – but you would be wrong. There are plenty of readers who get so angry when they’ve “wasted their time” on a book that “wasn’t romance,” or “science-fiction,” or another genre, that they leave angry negative reviews. It is not your fault for those negative reviews, nor it is theirs – they were simply reading a book that was not suited to their tastes.
5. Lower number of new readers
The negative reviews might have sprung from a genre mislabeling, or misunderstanding, but they will still be reviews of your book. This will lead, of course, to a low rating, and the negative reviews would be there for all to see, be it on Goodreads, or Amazon, or any other platform. You can see where this is going – potential new readers, who actually love the genre you’re writing in, will read those reviews, will see the lower rating, and simply skip your book and look for something else. So, even if you’ve written the most original fantasy book, or the most touching romance, if it is labeled in the wrong genre, chances are it would not reach your intended audience.
Image credit: Enokson on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic.
As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.