Writing and Publishing

What’s A Book Genre? Part 2

What is a book genre?

What Genre does your book belong to?

When you go to a book store, you will notice that books are usually arranged by genre such that readers can easily find what they are looking for. So, every writer and aspiring author should understand that one of the most important issues to consider before writing is what type of book you will like to write; in other words, what kind of genre will their work in progress fits into.

This is the second part of a three-part series aimed at helping new writers and aspiring writers to know where they fit into in the vast world of literature, particularly those of us who do not have a background in literature and art.

The first part differentiated between fiction and nonfiction, and described a novel as a work of fiction. This second part will make a list of the different genres of books which are available today, and we will discuss a few of the more popular genres. Note that there can be a combination of genres, for example, historical romance, political thriller, romantic comedy, contemporary Christian, etcetera.

Types and Genres of Books …in alphabetical order…

Action and Adventure  |  Anthology  |  Art  |  Autobiographies  |  Biographies  | Children’s Book | Comics |  Cookbooks |  Diaries  |  Dictionaries  | Drama  |  Encyclopedias |  Guide|  Health  |  Historical Fiction  |  Horror  |  Inspirational fiction |  Journals  |  Memoir  |  Mystery  |  Paranormal  |  Picture book  |  Poetry  |  Prayer books Religion & Spirituality  |  Review  |  Romance  |  Satire  |  Science | Science fiction | Self-help  |  Series  |  Textbook  |  Thriller  |  Travel  |  Trilogy  |  Young Adult

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

The point of this list is to encourage writers and authors to be sure of what section (“genre”) of literature they are writing, or are comfortable writing, and to encourage them to explore other genres.

Here is the thing… you don’t have to stick to one genre…

So, What Genre Best Describes Your Work?

I promised to discuss a few genres. So, here they are, in a jumbled order:

Romance/Erotica: This genre focuses on the romantic relationship between two or more people. The two basic elements comprise every romance novel are: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending. This genre is quite ubiquitous and may fit perfectly into many other genres.

Mystery genre: This genre may also be called detective or crime novels. It is a type of fiction in which a detective, or other professional, uncovers a culprit or criminal, and solves a crime or series of crimes. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional.

Inspirational fiction: This is fiction that focuses on religious values; and that provides readers with content that is non offensive and lacks explicit story lines. Inspirational goes by different names/definitions depending on the part of the world, including “religious fiction,” “faith-based fiction,” or more narrowly (and perhaps most often), “Christian fiction”.

Science fiction (SF or scifi): This is a genre of speculative fiction. It is typically based on imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology (current or future), spaceflight, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Sci-fi is a modern genre. Its scientific and technological plausibility distinguishes it from speculative genres such as fantasy and horror.

Horror: This genre of speculative fiction is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.

Historical Fiction: This is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past, often during a significant time period. The time period is an important part of the setting and of the story. Historical fiction may include fictional characters, well-known historical figures or a mixture of the two.

Fantasy: This is a genre of speculative fiction. It contains unrealistic settings, witchcraft or  magic, often set in a medieval universe, or possibly involving mythical beings or supernatural forms as a primary element of the plot, theme, or setting. “Make-believe” is what this genre is all about.

Thrillers: These genres are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety.

Paranormal fiction: This is a genre of fiction whose storylines revolve around the paranormal. Paranormal is a term used to describe phenomena that science cannot currently explain or measure

Children’s literature:  This genre includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are meant for children and enjoyed by children. It is also a tool for moral instruction.

Young-adult fiction (YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 18. Young-adult fiction may span the entire spectrum of fiction genres. The subject matter and story lines are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character. YA often focus on the challenges of youth

Autobiographies: A literary work or self-written account of the writer’s own life.

Biographies (abbreviated as bio): This is a detailed description of a person’s life – including vital facts like the person’s education, work, relationships, and death.

Memoir: A literary genre of a reminiscence, which focuses on people and events in the subject’s life. Emphasis is placed on personal observations about external events.

Textbook: This is is an educational material, a manual of instruction in any branch of study.

A self-help book: This is written with the intention to instruct its readers on solving personal problems.

Picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format typically for children, and plays a critical part in their development.

I hope that the ideas, definitions and suggestions from this second part of the series helps new and aspiring writers to become more confident and more certain about the course they wish to chart for their writing career; and to encourage them to explore other genres.


  1. What do you write – fiction or nonfiction?
  2. What genre does your book / work in progress / proposed book fit into?
  3. What genres are you willing or likely to explore in your future work?

For the first part of the series, click here


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s