How to Figure Out What Genre You're Writing

Sometimes it's hard to pin your book into a single genre. Buuut, if you're writing a query letter, knowing what genre to pitch your book as helps a lot. And by a lot I mean: a smashing green ton.

I used to be of the opinion that it wasn't rocket science (I've talked to Iron Man about rocket science, so I know). After I wrote a few books and researched a lot, I realised that it can be kind of hard.

In order to help me to help you to help your query letter, I've made lists. (You knew I'd write a list, didn't you? I can't help it. Lists are scientifically proved to help organisation.)

I've noted down some typical genres, a rough idea of what they entail, and some published books that fit in them. Yes, I've done the research. I am Bruce Banner after all.

(Note: This isn't an exhaustive list of genres. And I'm only talking about Young Adult books, because this is after all YAvengers.)

epic or high fantasy

Think: swords, castles, knights, quests and smelly peasants.

15779125Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

urban fantasy

Think: contemporary setting with supernatural happenings (also set in a city). 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)31341124511973377


Think: modern day setting, usually includes school life and romance.



Think: speculative future, with perfect government that's secretly corrupt.



Think: futuristic speculation that explores the beginning of world corruption (floods, fires, wars, earthquakes).



Think: werewolves, vampires, fairies, romance between humans and supernatural creatures.


historical fiction

Think: true to history but with made-up characters.



Think: steam and inventions (clocks and gadgets) probably set in the 1800s or early 1900s. Alternate history.


hard science fiction

Think: out of space, with planets and exploration, cool technology.



Think: any setting, but probably modern, with horrific and creepy events.



Think: any setting, but the characters must survive against nature.


What genre is your current work-in-progress? Share in the comments!


  1. I basically love all of those genres, except paranormal and sometimes high fantasy. My WIP that I'm "editing" is dystopian sci-fi, and the one I'm planning is contemporary Christian fiction. Because, you know, they're basically the same thing.

  2. My WIP is what I would consider sci-fi, but I'm not sure. Time-travel is the main thing in my story. There's no space travel or anything like that. They just time-travel. There are a few gadgets, too. Would it still be considered sci-fi?