Writing for the Young Adult (YA) audience? Great! Then part of planning your novel (even for reluctant planners like me) will include figuring out what genre it will fall into.
Of course, not every book will fit neatly into the categories below. Hooray for uniquely creative hybrid genres and the awesome brains that wrote in them!
It’s also not a complete list, but simply the widely used ones.
- Covers most adult fiction genres but main characters (MC) are usually children or teens and the stories involve the ‘goings on’ in their lives – realistic or submerged in the world you created.
- Adventure – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (also falls under Dystopian)
- Chick Lit –Withering Tights (The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey #1) by Louise Rennison
- Classics – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- Contemporary Fiction –Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
- Dystopian – The Maze Runner by James Dashner or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
- Fantasy – The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Horror – Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- Historical Fiction – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Mystery – Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz and Heist Society by Ally Carter
- Paranormal – Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
- Romance – Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
- Science Fiction – The Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Divergent series by Veronika Roth (also Dystopian).
- Steampunk – Soulless and Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
If going this route, your agent (or potential agent) and publishers want to know what YA genre your novel fits into and whether or not your story is marketable in that genre.
Another thing to consider before penning your YA book baby is if agents and publishers are currently even interested in that genre (or hybrid genre) vs. what’s currently selling vs. what’s saturating the market.
Agents and publishers wear may hats, and a business hat is one of them. So if you’re a traditional guy or gal, consider marketing your first book(s) in the popular genres above to increase your chance of getting published. Going rogue with an unusual hybrid genre could be risky. It’s highly probable that they won’t gamble on something that might not get the numbers they need sales-wise.
Also, YA is the reader audience not a genre. Best not to accidentally refer to it as a genre when marketing your book. It could be enough for an agent or publisher to not even bother looking at all your hard work.
If you want to get found on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Good Reads, you must properly categorize your book in a genre. As an indie author, it’s not necessary to categorize your book as neatly since there’s no middleman agent or publisher.
I’ve recently become super inspired by the idea of only needing a thousand true fans to make it as a full-time writer. I’ve read this in a number of places but most recently heard it from author, Kevin Kaiser.
With a thousand awesome faithful fans who can hardly wait for more of your stories and will buy anything you write, you can live the desires of your writing career heart. Maybe not as a millionaire but as Kevin puts it:
“Like you, I want to live a meaningful life and do work that matters. I don’t want to waste away in a job I don’t like, earning money to buy things I don’t need to impress people that don’t really matter.” – Kevin Kaiser
With a thousand true fans, and opting for a simpler life, your dream of creating for a living can become a reality.
My opinion…I love different. That’s why I picked up Soulless by Gail Carriger when I happened upon it while browsing at Barnes & Noble. I loved what it said on the cover. It’s different and it intrigued me.
It was in the Science Fiction section, but it also falls under Steampunk – not sure if I would’ve been drawn to this genre without catching this book on the shelf. So glad I had this little book miracle. It’s great so far. I love the story, and the author’s writing is funny and clever. I’m so hooked.
For me, if I see the market saturated with certain genres and similar story lines, I’d want to do something new and different or at least put my own unique twist on it.
To getting those thousand faithful fans and writing dreams coming true.