How to Find Your Best Book Category / Genre

15 Jan


There is no world or national organization that determines a clear-cut genre or category for each book written. In the United States, the Library of Congress assigns a combination of letters and numbers to each traditionally published book registered. This identifier determines where that book should be shelved in any library.

For a debut author, it is a recommended to write within a clearly articulated literary genre. You will need to categorize your novel for the purpose of querying agents and publishers, and most novels fair better on the market when they are specifically geared toward one literary genre or another.
See examples of genres and make a deep dive into sub-genres at Paul Carlson’s blog post 


Another great list can be found at Wickipedia.

Before sending out queries to publishers or agents, study carefully which genres they prefer!

If your book is available both, in print and as an e-book, you can choose four categories (two for print and two for digital) and see in which your book best fares. 

Finding the best genre on Amazon is another topic:  Readers have to FIND your book to buy it.  There is a large list of possible categories to put your book in – the categories that best match your books based on their content.  Study carefully each book that is competitive to yours and see in which categories the bestsellers among them are listed. Narrow down your list as much as possible.  You can email Amazon’s KDP and ask them to get your book into the proper categories, telling them the exact line, such as this:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Reference > Writing > Writing Skills

Now, let’s look for example at NEVER SAY SORRY, a thriller that runs between corporate ethics, the law, medical treatments for cancer and hedge funds. 

In the e-Book category:

Thrillers (book’s competition is 112,518, this is where it was initially posted)

Fiction > Mystery & Thrillers >Thrillers > Medical (competition is only 394)

Fiction > Mystery & Thrillers >Thrillers> Legal (competition is only 1.303)

The author can choose both categories for her e-book – medical and legal thriller. To leave the book under thriller only, compromises its ranking tremendously, almost killing the book.

Let us know about your experience with book genres.




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1 Comment

Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Marketing


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One response to “How to Find Your Best Book Category / Genre

  1. P. C. Zick

    January 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I write novels about family conflicts and complicated love with nature and the environment as important backdrops correlating with the human situations. I call myself an environmental novelist, but there is nothing that comes close to that in the categories for genres I’ve encountered. I usually end up going with general fiction or literary fiction or women’s literature. Any suggestions for me?


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