Tag Archive - Genre

The Key to a Successful Novel Lies in Genre

If you asked me what is the most important thing an author needs to know to ensure they will have the best chance of success with their novel, I could sum it up in one word: genre.

You have to know what genre you are writing in. And, on top of that, you have to do your homework to be completely “fluent” in that genre. That means learning to identify the markers for that genre.

Readers have specific expectations that they bring to a genre. So that means you, the author, must identify your niche genre, write to those expectations, and be sure that all marketing materials, including cover design, perfectly reflect that genre.

That might seem like a no-brainer, but, sadly, I see a lot of writers clueless about the genre they are writing in and haven’t done their homework.

Let me give you an example.

Here are the elements of Southern Gothic stories:

  • Voodoo and spirituality
  • An air of mystery, and/or the supernatural
  • Grotesque history, especially focusing on the South’s history of slavery
  • Social anxieties represented in racial tension
  • Deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters
  • isolation and marginalization
  • violence and crime
  • sense of place
  • freakishness and the grotesque
  • destitution and decay
  • oppression and discriminat

Some Southern Gothic authors include Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers. You have to know not just the markers of a genre but the great authors who’ve mastered the genre. Then you need to study those authors. Continue Reading…

Targeting Genre with the KDSPY Kindle App

Recently I wrote some posts on targeting genre for big sales, as this is a topic that I’ve been very interested in, personally, for years. I always wondered just how much genre had to do with a novel’s success, and when I did my “experiment” a couple of years ago by writing in a genre that purportedly “sold itself,” I proved to myself (and perhaps to many others) that genre really matters. (If you didn’t read my blog post on The Book Designer that went viral in the writing world, take a look at it here. )

My aim was to write a novel that carefully fit a big-selling genre and see if it would sell with little effort on my part. I used a pen name, and although I did a little bit of marketing—similar to what a new author would do—I was astounded by the sales I saw. Way more than all the sales I got from my other half dozen self-published novels.

Whether You’re in It for the Money or Not

You might not care about making money off your books. But some of us have families to support and bills to pay. I felt guilty for years writing novel after novel that didn’t sell, “wasting precious time” (my assessment) when I could have been working at Wal-Mart for minimum wage and at least bringing some money in. Continue Reading…

Important Considerations When Developing Your Writing Style

Our year-long look at the twelve key pillars of novel construction is winding down. We’ve already taken an in-depth look at the first ten pillars, with the bulk of examination on the four corner pillars: Concept with a Kicker, Conflict with High Stakes, Protagonist with a Goal, and Theme with a Heart.

I stressed that novelists should spend a good amount of time first working on these crucial support pillars of their novel, preferably all at once in a holistic fashion. I find that brainstorming ideas for all four, focusing on how they connect, is the best way. For, each of these four components of a novel heavily depend upon the others.

The eight support pillars will vary in terms of importance based on your genre and premise and plot. So, while one novel may have little in the way of motifs, for example, another will feature them heavily. Some of this is also determined by writing style and personal taste. Continue Reading…

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