Deciding Your Fiction Category Before You Write

Deciding your fiction category before you write — that can make all the difference in finding your readers! But isn’t that a cart-far-before-the-horse decision? How can you know where it fits in the marketplace before you develop a story? It can be motivating to try, to think about your story idea’s shelf in a bookstore or on Amazon. It can be very inspiring to think BIG STORY PICTURE — and to imagine your book already done, complete with a cover and fiction category, even before you dive into fleshing it out.

If you’ve already published a novel, remember things your readers have said. Are you writing for them. You can glean powerful directions about connectng with readers from comments and reviews. Even your warm agent and editor rejections might have valuable clues about what you do well, what lane you’re writing in, and how to steer firmly into it. Some of those comments can make a career blossom!

Reader Comments – an Example

One reader said about The Renaissance Club: It touches that intrigue I feel so often about what someone from the past would feel about today and how life would appear if we could go back in time to encounter the great artists of the past.”

That comment impressed me with why I write time travel, and why I love it enough to expand this first book into a series. The What-If of studying history thrills me. What if I were in Renaissance Rome, medieval Provence, or 23rd century California? What if I could go back and forth — and possibly change some aspects of history of the future — for the better?

Using Visuals

Your own book covers can help you understand where your writing fits. One of the best things I did when I became an indie author was to find a fantastic book cover designer. When I look at my new covers, one for fiction, and one for a poetry collection, I see a theme emerging: uplifting writing with a magical touch. And the new novel I’m working on definitely falls in the urban fantasy category of fiction. I can already see the new cover, and it’s a cover in the fantasy category that fits best the story I’m developing.

Do you have a Pinterest board for planning your book? I did one for my book, and when I cast the characters with real actors, I started to see more about my fiction category.

What’s your fiction lane, and how did you find it?

Write to me with your thoughts on finding your fiction category, how and when you consider fitting into the marketplace.