Writing is a passion. Some write because they have a story to tell. Some write with the goal of providing information. Regardless of the reason, there is one question every writer who seeks publication must answer: Who wants to read it?
No one has ever written a book that the whole world will read. Even at 3.9 billion copies sold, the Bible is still not a book everyone wants to read. You must think in terms of your target audience and the niche your book will fill.
This may take a little detective work!
Every book fits into a genre. You may want to be a trendsetter, but your book must fit into an established or emerging genre. It can be a blend of several, but one genre must stand out from the others. It can be horror with romantic overtones or a thriller with science fiction elements. However, a fantasy-romance-western with historical facts will be difficult to pitch to publishers and agents.
The Book Industry Study Group
has established fifty-three major genres. Check the listings to discover which category and sub-category best describes your story. With hundreds of possibilities, this will give you an idea how many categories exist. These genre descriptions also determine where your book is placed within bookstores and libraries.
Now for the fun part: Research today’s market. Go online and into bookstores. Read online articles concerning the industry. What are the current trends? Which genres are growing and which are declining in popularity? Who is your competition, both authors and publishers? Are there many books on the shelf similar to yours? This shouldn’t determine your genre but rather guide your writing.
You need to discover your particular niche. Some genres are well represented already. Will you stand out or be lost in the masses? Is your niche so small there’s no competition? That may not be a good thing! No books could mean no demand or an audience so small your book won’t sell. Unless your idea is revolutionary, the book might be difficult to pitch and market.
Other considerations are your knowledge and reputation. Do you have the credentials and expertise to compete with other authors in your genre? Are you established enough in your field of study? Are you “famous” enough? These are all aspects to consider.
You should still write what you enjoy. Don’t force yourself into a particular genre or trend. Your main objective is to write the best story possible. But you will need to know the exact genre regardless of your publishing path.