Writing for a specific audience

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Classification is hard!

How do you classify your writing?

In the past, I would have just gone with ‘Fiction’ or ‘Detective Fiction’ for my Portia Adams series, but it seems like we as writers have to take it even further, which makes me think about my audience: who would read this series?

Who would enjoy it the most?

Who would be totally disinterested?

Is it ok to be more than one genre?

Are there some genres that are more popular to be a part of than others? Should that even be a consideration?

When picking potential agents and publishers to send query letters to, this kind of forethought is appreciated, so I want to know, how did you decide?

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Categories: Detective, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Writing for a specific audience

  1. I use Writer’s Digest’s “Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market”. They come out with a new edition each year that has some of the best agents/magazines/publishers for aspiring writers. When I look for agents, I try and find those that handle all or most of these genres: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and thriller/mystery, but particularly the first one.

  2. Holly Michael

    This is tough. I just have to go with literary fiction or general fiction and say that’s what it is.

  3. Hi, I’ve learned over time it matters greatly! It does, because a book buyer wants all their decisions to be easy! If you tell them the wrong genre for your book, they might not buy it of they’ll read some and tell other people not to buy it! Little details are magnified if you decide to write, I learned that the hard way! Thank you for the follow! Keep a stiff breeze of wind in the sails of your pen, and everything will be fine! Have a great day of writing!

  4. I can’t categorize my treasure hunting novels. There are too many sun genres within science fiction. I choose not to pidgeonhole my work. If readers like the blurb abd samples, they’ll buy.

    • I’m that kind of reader I think, I read all kinds of books in all kinds of genres.

      • I just refer to my modern day thrillers as treasure hunting novels. At least readers know the type of fiction. The science fiction books are simply sci-fi.

  5. This is always challenging, because there are so many genres out there. There are the main genres, and then the sub-genres. I just say mine is commercial/contemporary fiction and if I need to be specific, I say, women’s fiction. But not all the stories I want to write are women’s fiction, so I try to keep it simple and less confusing by saying I write commercial fiction/contemporary fiction.

    I did a post about genres in February and a post about knowing your target audience in March that I hope will help you. :)

    http://coreymp.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/why-its-important-to-know-your-genre/

    http://coreymp.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/writing-tip-7-know-your-target-audience/

  6. Another reason I decided to self-publish. A big part of what I want to do with my work is break down walls between genres–I deliberately blur the line between science fiction and fantasy. If I had to define my target audience in one sentence I supposed I’d say, “People who like speculative fiction and are bored with zombies and werewolves.”

  7. I love questions like this. I’m working on a novel that’s technically high fantasy, but it’s written more as a hybrid of a wartime drama, a government conspiracy thriller, and an Indiana Jones-type adventure, if that makes any sense. I’m not sure it does. Let me try to clarify: I love fantasy, but I don’t want to just write The Lord of the Rings again, and I know a lot of fantasy readers don’t want to read that again, either. Same deal with a lot of publishers. So, I write with them in mind. I’m always asking myself, how can I play with “x” cliched fantasy trope to make it interesting again? That sort of thing. I love genre-bending, and fantasy has become one of those genres where the same story has been done so many times that you can of HAVE to genre-bend at this point for anyone to take notice.

    I think I’m rambling. I’ll stop now.

    • I couldn’t agree more with that, I loved reading LOTR, but it doesn’t need to be written again. Your novel sounds very cool, totally up my alley. Thanks for commenting!

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