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Choosing a genre

edited May 2018 in Writing
First question - Do I have to?

Second Q. - What genre can I put my book into?

Details: 100,000+ words.
The timescale is 1925 to 1939 so it covers a lot of ground.
The setting is south-east England in parts 1 & 2, Northern France in part 3.
Its MC, Albie, is a poverty-stricken waif of 12 at the beginning, a soldier at the end.
He has some gypsy blood and there's thread of gypsy magic running through the story.
There is some romance but it's not Chick-lit.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received though not necessarily acted upon!


  • I was reading up on this recently.

    It is important as it enables Amazon to put your book into that pot when someone searches by genre.


    Categories can be 'mined down'. From what you have there you've got

    Fiction; 20th century; magic.

    But what genre do you think it is?

  • Not magic - that smacks of Harry Potter.

    Maybe historical fiction?

    What do you mean by 'mined down'?
  • edited May 2018
    You start with the genre it is, and then go through the sub categories.

    For example a romance book; you start with romance (lots of books) then add the category eg historical romance- regency- historical regency fiction- historical fiction- women's historical fiction- women's fiction. (just an example)

    So if you make a push on your sales, your book will be ranked within each category, so the smaller the amount of books within each category the nearer you might get to being no.1 in that category and triggering more push by Amazon.

    I think the limit is 10 categories, but Baggy will probably know for certain.

    You mention gypsy magic so use the magic category.
  • Wow! It's more of a minefield (pun intended) than I realised.
    It's actually ESP rather than magic but I can't think of the word.
  • So, is this children's fiction, Lizy?

    I think you can choose 2 categories on CS. Maybe Historical should be one. If another doesn't fit, you can opt for General. I usually can't find an accurate fit from the options given!

    Another category is Keywords. I think you can choose 8, separated by commas. You can choose your own specific words and phrases in this section.

    They also ask which school grade it's suitable for. You'll have to look up U.S. grade ages. It does mean it narrows down the audience a bit.
  • 100,000 is an awful lot of words for a children's book - 9-12 is 35,000 words.
  • 100,000 is an awful lot of words for a children's book - 9-12 is 35,000 words.
    Ah, yes. On reflection, I think it must be for adults (you mentioned romance).

  • edited May 2018
    It is an adult book. It contains some sex.

    Which I think is tasteful and appropriate - you'll all have to read it and tell me!
  • S.E.X. ? :O
  • Like any of us would know what 'tasteful and appropriate' was. 8-|
  • Heehee!
  • Magic realism? Incidentally, I'd avoid using the word "gypsy" if I were you. I'm told it's as offensive to Romanies as the n-word is to black people,
  • Yes, it is.
  • That would be impossible to extract from the book. Which is set nearly 100 years ago when that word was used.
  • LizLiz
    edited May 2018
    Just from the explanation of what it's about? If the 'n' word was used in context within a book it would definitely not be used in the explanation of who it was about - the correct terminology would be used, ie about a black American slave or whatever.
  • I won't have it in the explanation, or on the cover, but Albie's mother tells him his father was "a gypsy I met in the hop-fields that year" and he spends a lot of his young life looking for him.
  • I wonder why 'gypsy' is so offensive... I think it sounds mystical and magical.
  • I think it's because it's a general term and has been used a term of abuse and a way of labelling people. Romanies actually are a race and have different DNA and a completely different culture.
  • The gypsies in my book call themselves Roma, and Albie learns to do the same.

    Right now I am changing so much that a few words on the back cover are a mere bagatelle!
  • I wonder why 'gypsy' is so offensive... I think it sounds mystical and magical.
    I suspect that's part of the problem. It's possible to dehumanise a group of people by romanticising them, reducing them to mere symbols and archetypes. I remember a Romani on Twitter going off on those hippy-dippy types who describe themselves as having a "gypsy soul".
  • I wonder why 'gypsy' is so offensive... I think it sounds mystical and magical.
    Quite agree and I think it's sad if the word gypsy is now construed as offensive. My dictionary gives two definitions:

    1. a member of a travelling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.

    2. a nomadic or free-spirited person.

    I have a done a lot of travelling (as many of you know) and I have often referred to myself as being a vagabond or being a bit of a gypsy and I have never ever meant it in an offensive way! I've even used Gypsy as a user name. Now I suppose I can't. Bloody political correctness.


  • edited May 2018
    Make up a new genre - but it needs a label - maybe magistique - mix of magic and mystique or magistical - a mix of magic, mystery and icicles, or a mistophianical genre set in some future world where amphibians are the dominant species and humans are slaves forced to feed the lizard king cupcakes all day...I'll get my coat...
  • :-))
  • Tell the story in the synopsis and the agent/publisher will decide what genre it is. It's ultimately a marketing decision. If they feel it falls between genres, it's unlikely to be published. My experience is that agents and publishers don't much care what the writer thinks their book is about. Once a deal is made, they choose the cover, the title and the marketing.
  • As i have said on another thread, GG12, I'm a DIY author. 
  • Lizy – Ah. In that case, you can write whatever you like, genre be damned. You just need to tell your readership it's about a celebrity TV cook who's also a werewolf  (other options available) and any reader with an interest will choose it. The conventional world of publishing should be so open, but it isn't. One agent told me that comedy crime doesn't exist as a genre. I mentioned the name of multi-million selling Carl Hiaasen and got a mouthful of abuse in response.
  • Abuse? From an agent? Surely not :O  :D
  • Really? Seems a bit OTT. What about Raymond Chandler? Joe R Landsdale? Agatha Christie, in many books? There's loads.
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