Monday, July 20, 2015

Secrets of Genre Strategy

Today, I'd like to share some secrets for getting noticed in your genre. First, it's a step in the right direction to write a great book. However, these days that's not enough. Amidst the vast competition, somehow your gem must stand out and get noticed. Genre strategy is one way to do that. Here are some secrets to achieve that:
  1. Be specific. Narrow down your genre. For example, don't just say you've written a romance. The romance genre contains tons of categories. To help potential readers discover your romance buried amongst others, include another category, such as contemporary, historical, paranormal, Young Adult, etc. To further guide readers to your book, you can narrow the field by including an extra category to the first two, such as a  sweet contemporary romance, a Christian historical romance, an erotic paranormal romance. You get the drift. Amazon, for example, provides tons of romance categories from which to choose. I chose the reality show romance category to describe Girl of My Dreams, since it did feature reality show segments. If readers click on that category, my book comes up much faster than in the more populated contemporary romance section.
  2. Pick the more exciting sounding category. 
    This tip is similar to the one above, but not exactly the same.
     For my thriller, Two Wrongs, for a long time I described it as a mystery. Yes, it belongs to the mystery category, but what takes place is more of a mystery to the hero, and not the reader. The reader knows early on what the villain is planning and even knows who the villain is. However, the hero is unaware of the nefarious plots against him. Calling this book a thriller is not only more exciting, but more accurate. If you wish to judge for yourself, Two Wrongs is now free at Amazon and also free at Smashwords sites.
  3. Be Truthful. Whatever you do, don't describe your book as an erotic romance, if it's not, and vice versa.
  4. Make sure your cover fits your genre. As above, take care to make your book's cover not only eye-catching, but also match what's in store. For example, don't put a cozy cover on a police procedural, unless somehow you've written a combination of the two. Don't place a steamy, clinching couple on a sweet romance book. Readers remember betrayals. 
  5. Follow a trend. In a way, I hate to list this one, but since many find this scheme to be useful, I must. If a popular book or movie comes out, you may want to see if your own book mirrors it in even a small way. Many latched onto the Fifty Shades craze to hype erotica, and science fiction got a boost from the movie, Gravity. However, fame through comparison can be fleeting, since another new fad is bound to come up. Still, if you're after immediate gratification, it may work.   
I hope you find the above genre strategies useful. If you have another to share, please do so. Or, if you wish, please comment on one of the above.

Experience the diversity and versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman, its sequel, A Perfect Angelstandalone reality show romance; Girl of My Dreams.  Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse,its sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer CareerMystery:Two Wrongs. Short  and Sweet   Romance: Christmas   Carol.  Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com    Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com.

10 comments :

  1. I agree completely. In Story Building Blocks, I outline 14 genres and their subgenres. Misrepresenting your book is the quickest way to lose a reader, forever. That doesn't mean you can't mix it up, twist it, etc. It means that the central focus of the story is clear. The layer that the book revolves around should be recognizable as mystery, romance, thriller, etc.

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    1. Very true. I've been led down the garden path by some authors, and believe me, I remember it!

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  2. These are great points, Morgan. I've never given much thought to the cover matching the genre, but this is, of course, essential. So is truth in advertising. I learned a hard lesson about this with my first book. Neither the cover nor the title resonated with readers. Based on both, many thought it was a story about music. It wasn't. It was a family drama in which music played a small role. Lesson learned.

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes we learn from our own experience, but it's easier if we can learn from someone else's.

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  3. And then there's the problem of readers not paying attention. My 'action adventure romance' books often get slammed for having romance in them by readers who are snagged by 'action adventure' and don't realize they're in the romance category when they're browsing.

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    1. Yes, readers can get carried away by the wrong expectations, like those on Amazon who complain about a short book, when one is clearly marked so in the description.

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  4. True, readers remember "betrayals." I've never forgiven my disappointment with MUST LOVE DOGS. Chick-lit novel in which the heroine's friend or sister pushes her into publishing a personal ad in a dating venue, putting in "must love dogs" because that would attract nice men, even though she knows basically nothing about dogs. Dog on the cover. Prominent mention of dogs in blurb. I expected that she'd get involved with a guy who loves dogs, and her learning to know and love them would play a big part in the plot. Almost no dogs in the story!

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    1. That would disappoint me as well, since I love dogs!

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  5. Good tips, Morgan. However, people don't read what they need to read before they buy the book. Point: my blurbs all say "Adult language and situations." Yet so many readers criticize that there's adult language and situations. Also, Amazon gives the reader a few chapters that people could easily read to see if they like the style of writing and get drawn into the story. They don't do it. A good cover tells part of the story. I know your covers show lighter stories than my covers do, for example. Good for you. I wish people would know what they're buying before they slap a writer with a one-star review for not getting what they should know they're getting.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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