Decide on a Genre to Write a Novel

Deciding on a Genre

How to Write a Novel - Deciding on a Genre
How to Write a Novel – Deciding on a Genre

If you are planning to write a novel at somepoint you will have to decide what genre you are going to write in; for example, science fiction, fantasy, romance, military, historical, humour, etc. Use this opportunity to look at how many of them can be mixed. For instance, Red Dwarfis a comical sci-fi. The selection of books on the shelves or on the Internet is amazing, from the comic to the serious, from the historic to the contemporary and from the realistic to the fantastical. Some are heart-warming, others disturbing, some enchanting, others gritty with a twist. Genres include:

adventure                               crime

children/young adult         erotica

family sagas                           fantasy

historical                                 horror

humour                                    military

romance                                  science fiction

spy stories                              thrillers

war stories                             westerns

chick lit (modern romantic comedy)

It is likely that your writing will be stronger if you choose to write a novel in the genre you read most widely, or if you have a personal experience or interest in a subject. If you enjoy thrillers with a twist or a historical romance, you will be more familiar with your topic and so will have agood idea what works. If you enjoy spiritual, chilling horrors or ghost stories then you will be able to draw from material you have read and instinctively know what is guaranteed to scare readers out of their wits. Furthermore, selecting from a known genre will attract publishers, as they are more likely to be able to visualise how the book will be marketed.

Whilst it is advisable to obey the conventions within these genres, you should aim to provide something new, unusual and exciting, that makes your reader want to turn the pages. There are many different types of novel, each with a variety of genres, settings and styles, all aimed at different audiences. For example, a romance novel that is written for the Mills and Boon audience is very different to that of a modern chick lit, but essentially they both tend to be romance novels.

Novels can be broken down into two types:

  1. Action, plot-based stories. An example of this would be The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. A mystery-detective novel, it follows two people as they investigate a murder in Paris’ Louvre Museum and discover a conflict over the prospect of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene. The murder victim is found, naked, with a cryptic message written beside his body and a pentacle drawn on his chest in his own blood.

Despite being a worldwide bestseller that sold millions of copies, having been translated into forty-four languages, the book has been extensively denounced as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. It has also been criticised for its historical and scientific inaccuracies. Nevertheless, it was still a bestseller and a great read.

The emphasis here is on pace and twists and turns, which thrillers can offer. Often, scenes will change quickly as the reader is taken from one drama to another, without the confines of social chit-chat.

  1. Reflective, character-based stories. An example would be The Pickwick Papers – the first novel by Charles Dickens. Set in the late 1820s, this novel follows Samuel Pickwick and his fellow travellers as they tour southern England by coach. Mr Pickwick is an observer of people and this was originally a serial. Another example would be Jennifer Donnelly’s trilogy, with its endearing characters in The Tea Roseseries. The author Barbara Taylor Bradford wrote: ‘There’s a hint of mystery, lots of interesting characters and locales such as India, Africa and California, with turn-of-the-century London at the centre of an engaging book. Recommended’.

In this second category, personalities are interacting with one another, focusing on relationships and how they are formed, nurtured and developed. Here, the pace is slower, so there is time to absorb one’s surroundings and thoughts through the use of both narrative and lengthy dialogue, with plenty of descriptive passages.

Whatever genre you choose to write a novel in, write with passion and conviction. Enjoy your writing and if you would like to read more on how to craft your novel, read My Guide: How to Write a Novel.☺

Already written a book? Need some assistance with proofreading or editing? Contact us at The Editing House.

Book Sales – Why It’s So Important

Why Authors Don’t Market Their Books

Book Sales & Marketing
Book Sales & Marketing

Book Sales the Right Way: Thousands of authors write a book, get it published and then allow it to fade away into obscurity. Why, after all the effort they have put into writing it, would they allow their book to go unread, other than by a handful of people? Why does book marketing take a back seat?

You could be forgiven for thinking that they don’t desire fame fortune and success – but you would be wrong. The reason they don’t market their book effectively is simple. It is because many people find book marketing and achieving book sales a scary prospect and many excuses are given for not actually getting started – arguments for this being:

  • I haven’t got the time.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • It will probably be too expensive.
  • I don’t like technology and it will be too difficult.
  • I believe there are too many books and nobody will find mine, so there’s no point.

This is a negative attitude and will definitely hinder you in getting your work out there. With book sales, as Henry Ford famously said: ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right’.

It is common to begin with great gusto and enthusiasm, throwing ourselves in, getting caught up in the excitement, but most of us will run into problems at some point, some even abandoning marketing our book altogether to increase book sales. The important thing to remember is stumbling blocks are commonplace. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Try to outsource things. Remove blockages to your success. Analyse what is holding you back and what you are finding you haven’t got time to do.

Think of it as an equation:

Time spent direct selling plus time spent indirect selling equals copies sold.

Before you begin marketing your book and generating book sales, you need to develop a publicist’s mindset. It isnot enough to say you want to make money or sell your book. Everyone wants those things, but not everyone can achieve those goals – it takes a certain mindset.

Thankfully, it does not mean you need to be a workaholic, engage in questionable marketing tactics or become a pushy, overbearing salesperson who people run away from to avoid.

Book Sales & Marketing Secrets

The secret behind adopting a successful marketing mindset is to follow the PIP formula: Perseverance, Integrity and Planning:


Positive perseverance is crucial in book marketing. Accept nowthat you are going to have down times. Something will go wrong at some point and you need to be able to move on from it or find a way round the problem.

Successful people in all walks of life display two characteristics: willpower and unshakeable persistence. More than 2,000 years ago Confucius said, ‘Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fall.’ How much you are prepared to persevere will depend greatly on how much you want the end result. One of the crucial factors in getting to the result you want is to focus on your end goal rather than the steps you would have to do to get there.


We cannot overstress the importance of believing in your book. The dictionary definition of ‘integrity’ is ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles’. If you do not believe it will provide adequate information or help people overcome the problems it claims to, how can you possibly sell your book with confidence? If you genuinely believe that your book is a great product – and that it does what it says on the tin, so to speak – why would you have any worries about selling it?

Many authors hate the idea of selling and the very thought of it makes them cringe. But let me ask you a simple question: if you had a friend who was suffering from a terrible headache or hay fever and you knew of something you truly believed would help them, would you feel bad recommending it? If you believe in your book, then surely telling people who need the information it supplies is being kind and helpful …


Develop your marketing plan and test which methods best suit your personality and lifestyle. You can then monitor results so you can make an informed choice as to which marketing strategies work best for you.

It is pointless planning to be on ten different social media platforms four hours a day, if you are working full time, managing a family or have other commitments. Making sensible plans focused on your end goal, measuring success along the way, will help ensure you are on the right track; this will be covered in more detail in later blogs.

Want to learn more about how to market you book/novel? Get Market and Sell Books – part of the My Guide series of self-help books, available on

If you need help with proofreading and editing your book, please contact us at The Editing House for more information.

Effective Book Marketing

Book Marketing

Why Your Novel Is Not Selling

If your book is not selling, the chances are you have made a common mistake and are not marketing it correctly. Book marketing is one of the first things you can consider even before you have written your book, in order to start building an author platform.

A book marketer’s mindset is very different to that of a writer’s and it requires different skills. Fortunately, technology these days means you can utilise your writing skills to market your book. Whilst it would be great if you could let others take care of the book marketing for you and let the sales come pouring in, in reality it doesn’t happen that way. Continue reading “Effective Book Marketing”

Establishing Your Credibility as a Self-Help Specialist

Establishing Your Credibility as a Self-Help Specialist

Write a Self-Help Book
How to Write a Self-Help Book Fast!

Readers and publishers want to know that the author of a self-help book is an authority on the subject. For this reason it is best to write about topics you have qualifications for or unique experience in. Continue reading “Establishing Your Credibility as a Self-Help Specialist”

Avoiding Split Infinitives in Your Writing

Split Infinitives

Part of the Award-Winning My Guide Series of Self-Help Books

When writing a book you should avoid inserting split infinitives as this is one of the keys to great writing.

And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before – and thus was the Empire forged.

Douglas Adams

Splitting an infinitive means inserting a word or phrase between the word to and the verb. A split infinitive is when the word to is separated from the infinitive by an adverb. The most famous example we can use, which sounds clumsy, is from Star Trek: Continue reading “Avoiding Split Infinitives in Your Writing”

Read Widely When Writing a Novel

The Importance of Reading Widely When Writing a Novel

Reading widely can improve your writing. If you are wondering how to write a novel and are struggling even to contemplate where to begin, start by reading other books. That may sound strange, but what we are suggesting is reading not just to enjoy the story, but also to study the writing style. Continue reading “Read Widely When Writing a Novel”

Self-Help Topics That Sell Books

Self-Help Topics That Sell Books

If you are unsure what to write about, it is worth considering that most bestselling books cover a few major self-help topics:

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  • business
  • personal finance
  • health (including weight loss)
  • practical psychology
  • personal improvement
  • relationships

The reasons for this are quite simple – the three biggest desires most people have are: Continue reading “Self-Help Topics That Sell Books”

Adverbs Unravelled

Adverbs Unravelled

Following on from a previous post on verbs, an adverb is a word or phrase that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb or other adverb, expressing manner (swiftly, easily, gently), place (everywhere, here, there), time (daily, never, now, early, late) or degree (farthest, least, always, very, most, really). An adverb tells us when, where, how, in what manner or to what extent a certain action is performed, often identified by the suffix –ly, although not always: Continue reading “Adverbs Unravelled”

Market Your Book to Increase Sales

Market Your Book Or Watch It Die

Why did you write a book if you don’t intend to promote it and sell copies? Perhaps you want to actively market your book but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you are trying hard to promote your book but lack direction and focus. Books that are not marketed proactively simply fade away and die, so during the coming months we hope to inspire and motivate you to market your book via this blog. Continue reading “Market Your Book to Increase Sales”

Verb Usage Unravelled

Verb Usage Unravelled

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A Verb is a ‘doing’ word. These can appear in different forms: active and passive – showing or telling:

  • It was hot (telling).
  • Carol sweltered in the heat (showing).

The latter will make your writing more positive and vivid, creating mental pictures for the reader, forcing them to become involved in and participate in the story, rather than taking in information passively. For example, being told someone’s age or describing something as a list (he did this, then he did that, then he did the other) appears more as an instruction: Continue reading “Verb Usage Unravelled”