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The Art of Knowing Your Market

I write a lot about knowing the market for your book which sounds so much more technical than it is. Knowing your market simply means knowing the readership and genre that best fits your book. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Believe it or not, that can actually be an issue. Is your book SFF or romance? While it might have both in the book, it cannot be both genres. They are two different sections of the bookstore. So is it SFF with a romance in it or is it paranormal or SF romance?

If you’re unsure of the market for your book you need to be reading. Who would you compare your style and writing to and where is that person shelved in the bookstore? How is that author categorized?

If you are absolutely determined to believe that your book is a little bit of everything you might seriously want to reconsider your book. Readers tend to be genre specific. They read and look for romance or mystery or SFF or literary fiction or nonfiction. Few readers are out there searching for a book that’s a little bit of everything.

Category: Blog



  1. Hi Jessica, You must have posted this at the same moment I queried you:) It’s a very good ‘to the point’ take on genre and readership market. Authors are intimate with the details of their stories and it’s easy to loose sight of the broad picture. You’ve given me clarity and I thank you. For future queries I shall stick with supernatural thriller.

  2. I think it also gets confusing for some writers when they read an agent is looking for something new. They interpret that to mean a new genre, not a new telling, so they label their ms a fictional biography (or similar).

  3. As a reader, I personally disagree, and I know a lot of other readers in the same boat. We can’t find anything different. We can find anything that doesn’t adhere to strict, and overused, genre conventions. I just opened up a recently published thriller (by a large publishing house) to find the female MC is an alcoholic who spies on her neighbors and thinks she just witnessed a murder. I put it down. I read this three years ago.

    What I did buy was a self published book about two ghosts in love. I can’t imagine what “genre” it was, but it was different. Maybe not the most lyrical thing I’ve ever read, but I prefer that over one more drunk-woman-may-or-may-not-have-seen-a-murder book.

    Personally, I’d love for agents and editors to start judging books based on their entertainment value and not so much where they fit onto book shelves. Most of us get our books from Kindle now anyway.

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