How important is labeling your genre?
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My writing could fit into many categories (or none depending ... ). I am always reluctant when someone asks "What kind of book are you writing?" 

Is it a memoir? Poetic prose? Lyric essay? Prosems (as my friend calls them)?

How important is it to label yourself?

How do you choose that label?

If your writing is somewhere in the middle, how have you made your choices?

  •  I'm in a similar boat, Trayle. My story involves travel and art history.

    I hesitate to list it as a travel book because that seems so limited. It is a story that happens while two people are traveling and there ARE traveling tidbits, but that's not the main thrust of the story.

    There isn't an art history genre as far as I know and that carries such serious connotations, I wouldn't want to label it that way either.  It's really a "coming of  middle-age" tale that uses the wisdom and foibles of the old masters to help the protagonist evolve.

    I would also like a comprehensive and current  list of genres. I think that would help. 

  • Thanks for the insight!

    That was kinda what I thought.

    You must define yourself to market yourself to the correct audience. You can be brilliant, but if someone hates what you do because you're in the wrong section, then well, that's your problem not theirs. 

    Is there a comprehensive list of genres that "real people in the business" use? I mean, they seem to keep evolving...on the internet people just make things up. If I'm going to define myself, I'd like to do it within a professional scaffold. If that makes any sense... :)  

  • It depends on if you want to go traditional or self-publish your work. Not having a clear genre is the kiss of death to agents, publishers, and bookstores. If that's the way you want to go, make a decision fast and rewrite your story to make it work. There is no place for books without genres on precious book shelf space, either digital or brick and mortar. I speak from a depth of knowledge of the industry. Don't be afraid to revise. Make your hard work count :-)