Skip to main content


So here's a question - do we label ourselves or do others put labels on us in relation to our writing? I think probably both occur. We might find a style of writing or a writing genre that we enjoy or perhaps it's a genre we read a lot of and perhaps want to emulate. One of the guys who joined the writing group  is a poet by choice but wanted to extend his reach and so now usually writes a short story each month. However, his stories are filled with poetic sentences and his scenes or characters are usually beautifully described to a depth that I don't ever reach. He simply can't help but write this way - this is what he naturally leans towards. Even his flash ficiton is poetic in form or so it seems to a non-poet like myself.

In addition, it seems that other people can put a label on you too (not always just in relation to writing etiher but that's another story and probably one best left for my work based blog). I think this occurs particuarly at publishing stage (not that I know from experience - yet!) As your publisher starts to market you and your book they need a way of categorising you. It's about niches. It's about fitting you into an already existing slot so that readers can find you easily and buy a genre they enjoy.  It's all about the money of course! I know that if I  head over to the chic-lit section of the book store, there are likely to be lots of pastel coloured book covers, some featuring sophisticated looking young women and cupcakes (I know I'm being terribly stereo-typical here, but I'm sure you know what I mean). If I I go to the Horror section and buy a Stephen King book, I know exactly what I'm getting into.

In many ways this is helpful especially to the reader. The publisher has already done the categorising on my behalf. I can stroll into a bookstore with something in mind, browse the relevant section and hopefully get what I want. It's important if you're interested in getting published to think about your genre in advance as your publisher is going to want it to be as easy as possible to market you and your work. We may like to think that the book we are writing is genre-free, it simply can't be categorised, it doesn't fit into a slot. We're unique aren't we and so is our writing? Yet, you know if you do get published, someone, somewhere is going to have to place your book on the shelf. They're going to take a look at the cover and the title and decide where you should go. Do you want to end up amongst Vampire Romance when you clearly don't fit there.

You think it can't happen - well here's an example of how it can all very easily go wrong even in a title. In our local newsagent the fabulous Wallpaper magazine which is a design, fashion and lifestyle magazine can be found sitting among home interiors and decor simply based on it's title. So if you're about to jump on the publishing bandwagon, take a little time out to consider your genre or niche before you proceed - after all once you've got the opportunity to have an audience read your book, you certainly don't want to be misfiled!


  1. Good advice and Iike your take on labels and genre. Well said.

  2. This is such an important post. When you query your ms the agency or publisher may not even take the time to read it if you have not listed a specific genre.
    Wow a 21 year-old-kitty?

  3. Good thoughts here, Angela. I never thought about how some labels can throw people way off of what is inside of a book.

  4. Good stuff. I think we'd best know our genre and label ourselves as writers - if we can't define it, nobody will find it : )

  5. That last paragraph hit home!

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My non-book buying year

There is something powerful about starting fresh with a new challenge on the 1st of January. It's like pressing the reset button. And that's what I decided to do and here's what happened when I did.

An idea had popped randomly into my head towards the end of 2017 and it didn't seem to want to let go. I began to wonder - could I do this? It was a real biggie for me.
So what was the challenge?Well, the title of this post, is undoubtedly a spoiler alert, but I was wondering could I make it through the entire year without buying a book?
I know. Please stay calm. I can hear your screams: 'What? No book buying for a whole year.' Yep - that's the challenge I decided on.

Anyone I told, and who knows me well found this hilarious and probably doubted me from the off. When I mentioned it to my husband and some close friends, they just laughed thinking I was joking. And at first maybe I was, but then that little seed of an idea lodged deeper and deeper and I wondered was t…

She and I

"Can you believe it?" she tells me outraged in a transatlantic Skype call. "She asked me if I was a grandmother."

This is the culmination of a call with one of my best and oldest friends. We laugh and make scoffing noises, give a virtual shrug to indicate that this question was obviously not serious. We send each other hugs. We hang up.

And so what of it that someone asked her that question. We both turned 50 this year - within two days of each other in fact and yes, ok I'll admit I'm the oldest. Logically, she and I could both have grandchildren - apart from the fact that we both decided that children were not our bag. It's not unheard of - many 50 year old women do. Yet when I speak with her, I don't think of her as this age. I see and hear her as the 18 year old girl that I came to know when we both started secretarial college - see that in itself dates us. Do secretarial colleges even exist anymore? Can you still learn shorthand, typing and offi…

Something new and something blue

For those of you that know me, you'll already be well aware of my addiction to, sorry I mean love of all things stationery. It can be a notebook (oohhh, yes - I love a new notebook), a particularly beautiful stapler (I have my eye on the one in rose-gold by Kate Spade - we all need something to aspire to) or some fun paperclips that make me smile.  If it falls into the category of stationery, you can pretty much assume I'll like it.

And of course, I love a good stationery shop - large or small, niche or generalist. I can very easily lose an hour or two browsing amongst the loveliness; running my hands over the paper of a journal or testing out pens writing messages on those adorable little pads that are put around the shop especially for people like me. My enthusiasm for these shops and for the temptresses people who carefully curate them was recently captured in my article 'Stationery Encounters' featured in Issue 12 of Breathe magazine. You can read all about it, as…