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Lesson 2 of 3

What is Genre?

Let’s make a distinction between how the industry defines genre and how a writer can use it.

Book Industry Communication (BIC) is an organization that monitors the book industry’s supply chain, and they standardise the categories that publishers and retailers use. The complete BIC listing of categories and genres is 106 pages long.

Their main fiction categories are here:

  • Fiction
  • Modern and contemporary
  • Classic Fiction
  • Crime and mystery
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Adventure
  • Horror and ghost stories
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Erotic fiction
  • Myth and legend told as fiction
  • Romance
  • Sagas
  • Historical fiction
  • Religious and spiritual fiction
  • Graphic novels

Within these are all kinds of subgenres. On Amazon, in Romance alone you could have:

  • Contemporary
  • Historical romance
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Romantic mystery
  • Regency
  • Clean & Wholesome
  • African American
  • Fantasy romance
  • Gothic romance
  • Military romance
  • Sports romance
  • Time Travel romance
  • Romantic westerns

… and much more. You really can drill down to cater for very niche tastes.

Here’s the Kindle page on Amazon US. Explore the charts and see how far you can drill down.


The Two Marks discuss the many subgenres on Amazon:

What is Genre? – The Bestseller Academy

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These myriad genres and subgenres are used by the retailers to identify and target readers. But how can understanding genre help a writer?