Hello, and welcome to the RADblog! I sincerely hope you enjoyed the month of September, and my Character Creation 102 series. If you have anything else you’d like me to cover in the realm of character creation, please leave a comment and let me know! The RADblog is, as always, designed as a way to help writers grow in their craft, to keep them informed about the changing world of publishing, and to have a lot of fun along the way.
This month, I thought we’d talk a bit about the saturated world of publishing, and discuss a few genres and book types I think you’re better off not writing at all. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t write in these genres or that you can’t possibly do well with them, but to give you a little bit of an idea into what publishers might be looking for, and, by extension, what readers are looking for.
#3: Non-Genre Fiction
Now, while in the last few weeks we’ve focused on things from the point of view of saturated markets, today we’re taking a different angle. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing straight fiction, just a story that’s a story, with no outside genre. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write it at all, or that nobody wants to read it. What I am saying is that non-genre fiction is much harder to market than genre fiction.
There are a lot of readers who go to bookstores and browse through the fiction section. I’ve seen oodles of them, making their way through the doors and heading straight to fiction, avoiding every other genre along the way.
The difference between them and other readers is that they’re more likely to shop in store, rather than online. So in order to get your book in front of them, in order for them to notice your book, specifically, is to get your book on an actual bookshelf—and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.
Genre fiction, on the other hand, is incredibly easy to market online. It’s also marketable to more than one range of people, because every genre of genre fiction actually contains two or three genres, when you break it down. That means when we set up online ads to market our books, we can set them up with large chunks of reader groups in mind, rather than a single subset of readers.
And this is my entire point for today.
There are very many publishers out there who have entire departments focused on fiction without any other genres, but those publishers have what it takes to get their books on shelves across the world. They have a name and a prowess that bookstores know well. And if you don’t have one of those names behind you, many bookstores won’t give your book a second glance—no matter how amazing it may be.
So if you’re a fiction writer, a writer of fiction that’s just fiction, my advice to you is to get a publisher. An actual publisher. Do whatever it takes. Get an agent. Contact as many publishing houses as you can. Find a company that’s familiar with bookstores, and work with them to make sure your book gets put in the line of sight of the readers who will love it.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Isn’t that what people always say?
Associate Editor, etc.