Genre, genre, what’s so important about genre?


When I started writing I Zombie I, I knew, KNEW, it was going to sell like a the latest iProduct at a fanboy convention. How did I know this? Well, the story was unique, I knew I could bring a strong voice to the characters, and the genre was ZOMBIES for chrissake. How can you go wrong with zombies?

But at the end of the day, I realized that the genre I had chosen to write in — horror — was not the hottest genre on the market. That meant that my book would wind up having to slowly pick up steam and grow in popularity. That is now a reality for me. I go into my favorite genre (horror) with a full understanding that, no matter how much awesome I pour into a novel of horror, it’s just not going to fly off the shelves right away. Why? Because of the genre.

The most popular genres in literature are:

  • Literay/Classic
  • Sci-Fi
  • Christian Fiction
  • Romance
  • Mystery/Detective
  • General Fiction
  • Thriller
  • Juvenile Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Biography/Autobiograpy

The above list was taken from Publishers Weekly regarding E-book sales by genre. Of course the above list seems somewhat off. Why? First and foremost, one of the hottest genres for ebooks is Paranormal. Where would that genre be categorized? And to even have a category called “General Fiction” completely throws off the balance. What belongs in General Fiction? And why doesn’t Horror have its own category? ┬áBut no matter how accurate the above list is, it illustrates a point I want to make — the genre you choose to write in will help to dictate how quickly your sales will gain traction.

What exactly does that mean? Well, if you want to gain tons of sales quickly (and you are an adept writer), choose one of the following genres:

  • Romance
  • Paranormal Romance
  • YA Paranormal

That’s right…the above short list of genres will guarantee quick sales (so long as your book, cover, blurb, and marketing are all sound). Outside of that you’re looking at a very slow climb.

I love horror and I certainly love the zombie “genre”, so the idea of having to wait out the slow-burn of building sales is fine with me. Why? Because I chose the genre I want to write within out of passion. Had I not had passion for that genre, I would have certainly decided to write within a genre that promised a much more instant gratification. But then…if I’m really honest with myself…I would rather the slow burn result in more rabid fans (which the horror genre does breed) than build sales quickly and have lukewarm fans.

But because I chose the genres I chose — I know I have to sit back, continue writing, and wait patiently as the sales begin to add up. This is just another hurdle we, as indie authors, must overcome in order to rise above the crap and cruft piling up below us. Wait it out, those of you along with me on the horror ride to stardom. Our time will come. But until it comes, keep cranking out the frights and fears.