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Writing genre fiction

4 May 2015

If you're writing genre fiction, or planning to, it's important to understand what's working in the market and what's already out there. This is the sort of information you can only get by a close study of publishers' genre lists and by reading as many books in your chosen genre as you can.

This may seem obvious but it's surprising how many manuscripts for fantasy, crime fiction and romance novels we have in for reports which ignore the conventions of the particular genre. This doesn't mean that they're genuinely genre-busting, just that the authors haven't understood what the editors who work on genre lists (who have to be seen as experts in the field) are looking for. These editors know what sells, but so can you by reading successful books in your chosen genre.

Of course if you're self-publishing you don't have to worry about what editors think, but to be successful you have to be tough with yourself about your writing and when it's ready to be published, or to understand the genre very well, or to be producing highly original genre material. You have to think harder about readers and book-buyers.

Our Genre Writing series covers SF and Fantasy, Crime, Romance and Historical Fiction, as well as non-fiction areas such as Non-fiction and Memoir, and Writing for Children (which is a four-part series on the subject).