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 samples of genres either at Steve Thompson’s article or at PublishingQuestions. A deep dive into sub-genres can be found 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.
Finding the best genre on Amazon is another topic:
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.
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
Lets look for sample at NEVER SAY SORRY, a thriller that runs between corporate ethics, the law, medical treatments for cancer and hedge funds. http://bit.ly/Y6ABTa
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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