• 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
  • 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
  • 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
  • 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
  • 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
  • 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
  • 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
  • 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
  • Further Reading
  • Works Cited
  • 2.1 Seeds of Self
  • 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
  • 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
  • 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
  • 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
  • 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
  • 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
  • 3.1 Identity and Expression
  • 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Works Consulted
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
  • 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
  • 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
  • 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
  • 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
  • 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
  • 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
  • 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
  • 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
  • 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
  • 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
  • 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
  • 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
  • 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
  • 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
  • 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
  • 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
  • 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
  • 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
  • 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
  • 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
  • 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
  • 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
  • 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
  • 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
  • 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
  • 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
  • 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
  • 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
  • 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
  • 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
  • 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
  • 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
  • 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
  • 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
  • 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
  • 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
  • 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
  • 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
  • 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
  • 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
  • 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
  • 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
  • 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
  • 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
  • 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
  • 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
  • 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
  • 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
  • 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
  • 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
  • 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
  • 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
  • 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
  • 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
  • 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
  • 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
  • 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
  • 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
  • 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
  • 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
  • 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
  • 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
  • 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
  • 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
  • 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
  • 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
  • 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  • 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
  • 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
  • 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
  • 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
  • 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
  • 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
  • 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
  • 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
  • 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
  • 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
  • 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
  • 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
  • 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
  • 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
  • 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
  • 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
  • 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
  • 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
  • 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
  • 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
  • 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
  • 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
  • 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
  • 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
  • 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
  • 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
  • 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
  • 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
  • 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
  • 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
  • 17.1 “Reading” Images
  • 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
  • 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
  • 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
  • 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
  • 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
  • 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
  • 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
  • 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
  • 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
  • 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
  • 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
  • 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
  • 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
  • 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
  • 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
  • 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
  • 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
  • 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
  • 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
  • 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
  • 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
  • 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
  • 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
  • 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
  • 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
  • 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
  • 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
  • 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
  • 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
  • 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
  • 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify key terms and characteristics of evidence-based research writing.
  • Participate effectively in a continuing scholarly conversation by synthesizing research and discussing it with others.
  • Identify and analyze genre conventions as shaped by purpose, culture, and expectation.

Good writing satisfies audience expectations in genre, style, and content. Similarly, careful research, conducted according to the scope and method of each discipline, is a precondition of good research writing. In the humanities, research usually focuses on texts, individual ideas, speculations, insights, and imaginative connections. On the other hand, research in the social and physical sciences tends to focus on data and ideas that can be verified through observation, measurement, and testing. However, regardless of differences in disciplines and preferences of varying audiences, certain principles of research, writing, and supporting a position hold true across the curriculum.

The Genre of Research: Joining Scholarly Conversations

Conducting research on topics about which you have limited knowledge can be intimidating. To feel more comfortable with research, you can think of it as participating in a scholarly conversation, with the understanding that all knowledge on a particular subject is connected. Even if you discover only a small amount of information on your topic, the conversations around it may have begun long before you were born and may continue beyond your lifetime. Your involvement with the topic is your way of entering a conversation with other students and scholars at this time, as you discuss and synthesize information. After you leave the conversation, or finish your research, others are likely to pick it up again.

What you find through research helps you provide solid evidence that empowers you to add productively to the conversation. Thinking of research in this way means understanding the connections among your topic, your course materials, and larger historical, social, political, and economic contexts and themes. Understanding such connectedness begins with choosing your topic and continues through all phases of your research.

Key Terms in Research Writing

These are key terms and characteristics of evidence-based research writing:

  • Citation . When reporting research, writers use citations to acknowledge and give credit for all borrowed materials. Citation also strengthens the credibility, or ethos, of the researcher. Citations always have two parts. Internal citations are short references that lead readers to more detailed information about how to find the sources. External citations are the entries listed, with publishing information, on the Works Cited or References page of the paper. Formatting of both internal and external citations is disciplinary specific. See the Handbook for specific information about MLA Documentation and Format and APA Documentation and Format .
  • claim . Claims are the points you make in your report. They are based on and supported by research and evidence.
  • Counterclaims . When it comes to research, the counterclaim is the writer’s thoughtful consideration and addressing of the other side’s objections to claims made or even to the topic itself. Counterclaims may need to be supported by further research and evidence.
  • Evidence . Within the genre of research, evidence is either findings from original research or, more often, borrowed information that helps you develop your thesis and support your organizational structure and line of reasoning.
  • Field research . Field research is basically primary research you conduct through observation or experimentation. Depending on your research question, you may need to seek answers by visiting museums or businesses, attending concerts, conducting interviews, observing classrooms or professionals at work, performing experiments, or following leads. Field research is covered extensively in Research Process: How to Create Sources .
  • Research question . Your research question dictates your general line or lines of inquiry that ultimately guide your research. In developing your research question(s), you are narrowing the scope of your topic. Your research question(s) will come from the purpose of your research, the audience of your research product, and the genre for reporting your research.
  • Thesis . The thesis is the claim, position, or hypothesis by which you attempt to answer your formulated research question(s).
  • Reasoning . Similar to an argumentative essay, the line of reasoning in a research essay, report, or presentation is the organizational arrangement of the supports and evidence that back up your thesis.
  • Topic . The topic is the general subject or content area of your research. Strong topics are usually those that involve some controversy or debate. Topics that are not debatable or have no nuanced perspectives do not make for strong research questions or lines of inquiry.

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Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Authors: Michelle Bachelor Robinson, Maria Jerskey, featuring Toby Fulwiler
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Writing Guide with Handbook
  • Publication date: Dec 21, 2021
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL: https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
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What is a Genre?

Like the word research , the word genre also has many definitions. At its most basic level,  genre  is the French word for “type.” In the world of English for Academic Purposes, it refers to a communicative event that is widely recognized. In terms of research, some common genres include research articles, grant proposals, conference papers, posters, abstracts, and even job-related documents such as cover letters, research statements, etc. In this book, we are focused on the research article genre.

As genres have particular characteristics, one way of learning how to write better within a given genre is to explore the characteristics of it, which is one of our primary goals in this book. Before we explore the research article, however, it’s important to know about genre systems, which are interrelated text types that often work together to achieve a communicative goal.

Genre chains

The concept of genre chains was first discussed in Swales (2004) [1] , where he defined a “chain” as a genre that is an antecedent of another genre. When studying English for Academic Purposes, it is common to approach the learning academic writing, for example, by exploring genre chains because it helps us understand certain types of genre, like research writing, as it is systematized and chronologically organized in an order of sequences.

Genre ecologies

Genres are also sometimes conceptualized in terms of their ecologies, or interrelated and interacting genres Erickson (2000) [2] . In terms of the research article genre, it is helpful to envision the research write-up as only one piece of the communication that occurs between scholars. For example, lab reports, conference presentations and published conference proceedings, white papers, systematic reviews, and more are all part of ecologies that comprise a research communication genre.

  • Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ↵
  • Erickson, T. (2000). Making sense of computer-mediated communication (CMC): Conversations as genres, CMC systems as genre ecologies. In  33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences , ed. R. H. Sprague, Jr. Maui: IEEE Computer Society Press. ↵

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The Self-Publishing Advice Center

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Book Genre for Indie Authors

  • October 4, 2021

Understanding the genre you want to write in is one of the most important elements of being an author. It helps you craft books closer to what your readers want, it helps you be more marketable and hopefully sell more books. But what do you need to know and where do you go looking for that market information? Today, the Alliance of Independent Authors AskALLi team welcomes partner member Nat Connors from Kindletrends to explain how to understand your book genre. 

Understanding Your Book Genre

research book genre

Nat Connors, founder of Kindletrends

Nat Connors has been publishing genre fiction since 2016. He's a fiction writer, medical scientist and dance teacher. Kindletrends started when he got fed up with trying to make sense of the Kindle Store, and wanted a compiled summary of the information important to his own writing. He shared it with author friends, and now he wants to share it with the author community as a whole.  Kindletrends is a weekly research newsletter for self-published authors.  Each week and month, subscribers get in-depth information summarising every aspect of their genre – blurbs, covers, titles and trends.

In this article, I’ll describe a method for how to research your genre of interest using the most common ebook platforms:  Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books, and Apple Books.  These ebook platforms aren’t the entire landscape of the independent author’s market, but they are an immediately accessible and cost-effective way to research a genre, so they’re a good place to start.

There are a lot of different theories about about what a genre is, and how they relate to each other, and you'll come up with your own definitions as you do your own research.  In addition, there are a lot of well-researched and thoughtful books about specific aspects of genre research; we’ll discuss some some of them here, and provide references. The approach described here is one of many, although they are complementary, not contradictory; you’ll find that the things suggested here will fit in well with other ‘how to research’ material you read elsewhere.

Note: I’ve included a cheat sheet summary for download at the end of this article, for you to print out and put on your wall, or include in a folder.

Four Aspects of Research

I’ve chosen to divide research up into four sections, representing four different areas I think you need to master to be on top of your book genre.  They start with the ‘innermost’ and most fundamental one – the content of your book – and work outwards through blurbs, covers and genre mechanics.  I suggest tackling them in this order so you can see how each influences the other.

  • Content: what’s in your book
  • Blurbs: what’s on the buying page of your book
  • Covers: what’s on the front of your book
  • Mechanics: everything else about your genre that isn’t your book

In each section I’ll explain ways you can look at aspects of ebook publishing platforms to identify the key features of books in your genre.  I’ll also provide links to other resources that have helped me, and to authors and writers who I think are really accomplished in this area.

Our method begins with content, because I think understanding genre content is the most important part of writing successfully in a genre.  This understanding doesn’t imply that you have to copy what others have done, or even be bound by it.  But the more you understand what’s in a genre, the better you’ll see how your own work fits into that genre.

Ultimately, the content of your story is what you are delivering to the reader for their time and money; promising it through the cover, developing that promise in the blurb, and then finally delivering when they decide to buy your book.  This means that understanding the relationship between story elements in a genre, and the reader expectations they fulfil, is one of the best ways you can spend your research time.

To get started understanding the content of a genre, start by looking at the relevant category in each online store.  Here’s a table of links to categories, by platform:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Google Books
  • Apple Books

You don’t have to look at every single store in detail; since Amazon has the largest market share, a pragmatic approach is to focus your genre research on the Amazon Kindle Store. Then once you’ve done a little research on the Kindle Store, look briefly at the other stores with the goal of understanding the differences between the way your genre is represented there, and the way it’s represented in the other stores.

Each store is slightly different in structure, and some stores are easier to navigate than others. The books in each store are separated into ‘categories’; b y ‘category’, I mean ‘the divisions in a store which you can usually see as a list of names on the store website when you’re browsing books’.

Categories generally have a hierarchical relationship – for instance, ‘Space Opera’ might be a category under ‘Science Fiction’.  In a few cases they converge – that is, a single category belongs to two different hierarchies.  All the stores share large overarching category divisions, like Science Fiction, Politics, Romance, History, or Fantasy, but beneath those general categories they may differ quite a bit.  In addition, the type of books that are on the stores in each category may differ subtly, most often in the cover and blurb.

One of the most challenging parts of genre research is that a store’s division of categories may not match up with our understanding of genre, as authors and readers.  As authors we sometimes have problems categorising our books because some genres are clearly and comprehensively represented by categories (for instance, Western Fiction), and others aren’t.

Furthermore, genres are subjective, non-exclusive, fuzzy-edged and rapidly changing; for instance, the ‘litRPG’ genre is popular now in self-published fiction, but was not at all popular 3-4 years ago. BISAC codes ( https://bisg.org/page/BISACSubjectCodes ) represent another view of genre, one that is oriented around the traditional publishing industry, around book distribution and around libraries.

Each of these frameworks is important, but it can be confusing to keep them all in your head. For the moment, though, just focus on understanding what’s in relevant categories on the online stores, and thinking about how they relate to what you write, or want to write.

First, look a number of the top books in the category.  The books presented first to a customer on the website are typically the top-selling or top-earning books for that category. Although they don’t always represent the entire category in terms of themes or presentation, it’s still important to understand them.  Make notes on how old those top books are:  if there are a lot of new books less than 30 days old, that shows that the category is pretty active, and new books are coming out every month.  This might mean that it's easier to get into the top-selling books, but it might also mean that you need to publish more frequently, and advertise more, to stay there.

On the other hand, a low number of new books might mean that you don't have to publish as frequently in this category, but it might be harder to break into.  You can also watch this figure from week to week and month to month, to see if the category is getting more, or less, busy.

Reading Your Book Genre

To get started understanding a genre, you do need to read a lot of books.  If you’re in a country which offers Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription program, and if your genre of interest is represented in Kindle Unlimited (check using the links above), then this can be an inexpensive way to read a number of books for research.  Otherwise, many authors will offer temporary discounts on ebooks, or price individual ebooks (for instance, Book 1 in a series) very cheap or free; keep an eye out for these in the categories you’re studying to keep costs down.

Choose a few books to buy and read that look appealing to you, and that you would like to have written.  Make notes on why those books look appealing, and what you like about them. As you read these books, your experience and your opinions will change, so it’s important to record your initial observations.

Work through the books paying attention to the major story and style elements; make notes on what you read, where it happens in the book, and how each element is linked to the others around it. Reading for research like this is a little different to reading for enjoyment, or for style and storycraft reasons; try to stay high above the story, and focus only on the main elements, and what emotions they communicate to the reader.  Plotting and craft books can help this process, and I list a few popular ones at the end of this session.

Next, go back to the store page for the book and read the reviews, both positive and negative.  If you see a common element that readers liked or didn’t like about the book, note it down.  The details of what readers say are often not as important as the elements about which they say it.  A story element which is memorable will be commented upon in a review; so for each relevant comment, think about what would cause a reader to feel that way.

When you’ve worked through a few different books, compare your notes on them. Which elements are the same, and which differ between books?  How do the similar or different elements affect the plot?  Which elements are commented on – positively or negatively – by readers?

The more books in a genre you read, the more you'll get an idea of the relationship between story elements and reader expectations; how those expectations are established and then fulfilled by the story in a satisfying way.

In the following sections, we’ll return to the notes you’ve made here, and add to them as you look at how the blurb and cover both work to set reader expectations, and which story elements specifically relate to them.

Further Reading

There are many good plotting and craft books and resources, and I will only recommend a few, from least cost and time to most.  I encourage you to read a lot of different perspectives about plotting and craft, and to take the parts which work for you.

  • Jami Gold has many useful resources for writers, and her beat sheets are an excellent (free) synopsis.
  • Romancing the Beat .  A fun and accessible book valuable for all writers; even if you have no interest in romance, these stories are ingrained into all kinds of media, and so studying them is a way to get into plotting.
  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel . This is a more traditional story-structure method and may take a little longer to work through, but is one of the most common you’ll see mentioned.

Blurbs are (typically) the last thing readers see on an ebook store before they decide to buy your book. Writing effective blurbs is challenging, and takes constant practice – but of all the elements we’re discussing in this series, it’s also the one which is cheapest to improve, and the most in your control.

To understand a genre through blurbs, it can help to work on a blurb for your own book. Even if you haven’t finished a book, you can still think about writing a blurb; many successful authors start writing a blurb at the same time as they start their book, and continue to polish and perfect it as they write.

Let’s imagine you have a book, or a book concept in mind, and you want to understand more about your genre by working on a blurb for it.  Start by going to the store of your choice, and looking for books that are similar to yours. Taking just the blurbs, rank the books in order of their appeal to you. Try not to think too much about this, just do it quickly; the goal is to try and adopt the mindset of a reader who is browsing looking for something to read.

If you can, see if you can enlist someone else who isn’t a writer to do this as well; comparing their ranking with yours may tell you about things you’ve missed.

Take the top three blurbs in order, and write the blurb for your book in the style of each of those top three. If they’re similar styles, then go further down your list until you have three different styles. Don’t worry if they don’t quite fit; you will rewrite them soon, and the purpose of this exercise is to get a feeling for different ways you can write your blurb.

Next, go back to the notes you made in Part 1: Content, and compare the blurbs for those books with the story elements you identified. In a good blurb, every single sentence is there for a reason, and every single sentence indicates something about the book.  For the books you have read, what story element or elements does each sentence in the blurb indicate to the reader?   Pay particular attention to elements mentioned by readers in their reviews; these are good targets for emphasising in your own blurb.

Based on this knowledge, go back to your three different versions of your blurb and edit them. Your goal is to make each sentence in each of your blurb versions tell the reader something about your book – specifically, something that is a popular story element, and/or is mentioned by reviewers of other relevant books. This is quite a challenging exercise, and you will probably find one of these blurbs more appealing to you than the others.  This is understandable, but don’t give up on the others just yet.

When this is done, try to find an audience on which to test your three blurbs. This can be colleagues, friends and family, or a genre-specific readers’ or writers’ group online. Present all three blurbs and ask people to rank them in order of their appeal; I find this gives me more useful feedback than just asking people whether they like a single blurb.  If you get a clear winner in terms of style, go with that; if you don’t, ask people what they like about their favourites, and try to combine them into a single blurb.

  • The successful romance author and former copywriter Rosalind James has an excellent post about her blurb writing formula; this is the formula I start with for writing blurbs in all genres.
  • Nicholas Erik (more recommendations later) has a ‘ blurb cheat sheet ’ which is invaluable, and a good general approach for all genres.  In particular, his method of hand-copying blurbs, writing your own and then reading it aloud is very powerful.
  • My current favourite book about blurbs is ‘ Book Blurbs Unleashed ’ by Robert J Ryan.  This has a lot of useful insights about different types of taglines, and good examples of applying them to different genres.

Your book’s cover is usually the first thing that potential readers see — in a newsletter, blog post or online advertisement. Just like the blurb, covers make a specific set of promises to the reader about what they will be getting in the book — in particular, covers usually tell the reader about the genre and subgenre of the book.  They also play an important role in author branding, making sure readers can identify two books by the same author, even at thumbnail size.

To learn about covers in a genre, start by scanning the covers relevant to that genre, every week for a month. You’ll typically see two or three different major types of cover in a genre, with a sprinkling of other covers that don’t fit any group. Make notes about the groups which persist from week to week, and about what you think is in each book, based on the cover elements.

When you’ve got an idea of the major types of cover in your genre, start making some notes, looking at the following elements:

  • People : their presence or absence, framing (face only, in close-up, whole body), angle, dress style
  • Objects : how are they relevant to the story?
  • Colour : what are the dominant colors and shades?  The colorboard in the weekly newsletter can help with this as well
  • Typography : font size, type placement.  Relationship between the author name and the title – are they in different fonts?
  • Other cover elements : taglines or devices (for instance, badges or medals)
  • Series and author similarities :  for books in a series or by the same author, what are the consistent elements which make it clear that these books are related?

Next, go to the blurbs for the books you’re looking at. Look for specific elements in the cover which are linked to key words or phrases in the blurb.  Just like with blurb research, your goal is to understand what each element in the cover tells the reader — something about the genre, about this specific story, or about the author or series.

When you’ve worked through this exercise a few times, you’ll be in a good position to choose a few specific covers as a basis for your own.  When you’re working with a cover designer, this exercise will allow you to send them relevant examples of covers in your genre, and also to be specific about the cover elements you want in your own cover, and why.

  • I don’t have specific recommendations for cover designers, because they will vary a lot from time to time, and genre to genre. When you see covers you like, try checking in the acknowledgements in the book (which may be visible from the Look Inside) to see if the designer is credited.  If not, consider emailing the author and asking them; most authors are happy to support their cover designers with more work.

AskALLi Notes: Don't forget that as an ALLi member you have access to our trusted partner directory. Log in to the member site allianceindependentauthors.org and navigate to APPROVED SERVICES> SEARCH FOR A SERVICE to find approved cover designers. 

By genre mechanics I mean ‘everything else to do with your genre which isn’t specifically about your book’. That can be a lot of different elements, but I have chosen to separate it from the three previous parts (content, blurb, cover) because I think it’s valuable to learn how elements in each of those are linked to the preceding one.

The mechanics of a genre are closely related to the content of your story, but they aren’t the same; in principle you could write a great story, with a great blurb and a killer cover, but if it weren’t attuned to the mechanics of your genre, it wouldn’t perform as well as it might otherwise.

In addition, your understanding of genre mechanics might affect the type of story you choose to write because of the amount of time you have available, or because of your preferred work style.

To learn about genre mechanics, look in the stores of your choice for the following:

Release Frequency  

How frequent are new books in your genre? When you do ongoing research, keep track of how long books persist, and how quickly they drop out of the list of the top books.

Traditionally-Published Books

Traditionally-published books may have a different lifespan to non-trad (that is self-published or small-press) books in your genre, so it’s worth looking at both groups to get a sense of the differences. If you’re not sure whether a book is traditionally published or not, look up the publisher name on Google; if it’s an imprint of one of the big commercial publishing houses, it will almost always come up as the first result when you do so.

Standalone vs Series

Some genres heavily favor writing books in a long series, to maximize read through. ‘Read through’ is the process of writing your books to make it easy for readers to binge them — so that when they finish one, there’s another one right there tempting them.

If you’re planning to do this, you may want to do specific ‘series research’ in your genre: make a special trip identify the books which are in a series. This is particularly relevant for planning covers: cover design for a series can be challenging, because you need flexibility to substitute in different elements for each book, while retaining other ones to maintain obvious series branding.

Page Length

Most stores will show the page length for each book on the store page for that book; note down 10-20 of these, and take the median to get a sense of the length of a ‘typical’ book in that category.    As with other elements, you don’t have to write to the same length as other writers in your genre – but be aware of reader expectations in this area, particularly at a specific price point. Estimates of the number of words per page reported by ebook platforms vary quite a bit, but I have used 200wpp as a lower estimate, and 250wpp as an upper estimate.

Some categories will have a wide variety of prices in them, so it’s a good idea to look at the books at high and low price points to understand why they’re different. Trad-published and wide books may often have higher price points than non-trad and/or KU books.  For some more insightful discussion on pricing, consult Nicholas Erik’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing’, linked below.

Further Reading  

Two recommendations here, both of which cost money but are well worth the investment:

  • Chris Fox’s ‘ Write to Marke t’ series. These are short and full of solid advice on all aspects of genre mechanics and research. Chris Fox’s approach to branding also emphasises integrity and being present where readers are to find out honestly what they want.
  • Nicholas Erik’s ‘Ultimate Guide’ series. Nicholas Erik’s material is all very high-quality, actionable and valuable. I also recommend you bookmark the resources page on his site and keep coming back to it.  Everything on there is worth money, but it’s not charged for.

Conclusions

Understanding your genre allows you to decide how you want your work to sit next to other books.  Is it longer or shorter than average?  Higher or lower priced?  Faster or slower paced?  If in a series, how long is the series?

As with the content of your books, there are no binding rules, but understanding what other successful authors do, and the norms of your genre, will allow you to make informed decisions and ‘change your course’ as you go along in your writing career.

Thanks for reading; you can find a cheat sheet summary of this approach here . 

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research book genre

100 Best Research Books of All Time

We've researched and ranked the best research books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more

research book genre

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Kahneman | 5.00

research book genre

Barack Obama A few months ago, Mr. Obama read “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman, about how people make decisions — quick, instinctive thinking versus slower, contemplative deliberation. For Mr. Obama, a deliberator in an instinctive business, this may be as instructive as any political science text. (Source)

Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

research book genre

Marc Andreessen Captivating dive into human decision making, marred by inclusion of several/many? psychology studies that fail to replicate. Will stand as a cautionary tale? (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

research book genre

Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl, William J. Winslade, et al. | 4.85

research book genre

Tony Robbins Another book that I’ve read dozens of times. It taught me that if you change the meaning, you change everything. Meaning equals emotion, and emotion equals life. (Source)

Jimmy Fallon I read it while spending ten days in the ICU of Bellevue hospital trying to reattach my finger from a ring avulsion accident in my kitchen. It talks about the meaning of life, and I believe you come out a better person from reading it. (Source)

research book genre

Dustin Moskovitz [Dustin Moskovitz recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

research book genre

The Craft of Research (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)

Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams | 4.81

research book genre

The Art of War

Sun Tzu | 4.78

research book genre

Reid Hoffman Reid read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking. (Source)

Neil deGrasse Tyson Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Art of War (Sun Tsu) [to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Evan Spiegel After meeting Mark Zuckerberg, [Evan Spiegel] immediately bought every [Snapchat] employee a copy of 'The Art Of War'. (Source)

research book genre

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot | 4.76

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo — to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family — past and present — is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

research book genre

Carl Zimmer Yes. This is a fascinating book on so many different levels. It is really compelling as the story of the author trying to uncover the history of the woman from whom all these cells came. (Source)

A.J. Jacobs Great writer. (Source)

research book genre

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Susan Cain | 4.71

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Simon Sinek eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_5',164,'0','1'])); Leaders needn’t be the loudest. Leadership is not about theater. It’s not about dominance. It is about putting the lives of others before any other priority. In Quiet, Cain affirms to a good many of us who are introverts by nature that we needn’t try to be extroverts if we want to lead.... (Source)

Jason Fried A good book I’d recommend is “Quiet” by Susan Cain. (Source)

research book genre

James Altucher Probably half the world is introverts. Maybe more. It’s not an easy life to live. I sometimes have that feeling in a room full of people, “uh-oh. I just shut down. I can’t talk anymore and there’s a lock on my mouth and this crowd threw away the key.” Do you ever get that feeling? Please? I hope you do. Let’s try to lock eyes at the party. “Quiet” shows the reader how to unlock the secret powers... (Source)

research book genre

A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King | 4.70

research book genre

Mark Manson I read a bunch of books on writing before I wrote my first book and the two that stuck with me were Stephen King’s book and “On Writing Well” by Zinsser (which is a bit on the technical side). (Source)

Jennifer Rock If you are interested in writing and communication, start with reading and understanding the technical aspects of the craft: The Elements of Style. On Writing Well. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. (Source)

Benjamin Spall [Question: What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?] On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King, [...] (Source)

research book genre

The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Joseph Campbell | 4.70

The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages of mythology but also its relevance to our lives today--and to the life of any person seeking a fully realized existence. Myth, according to Campbell, is the projection of a culture's dreams onto a large screen; Campbell's book, like Star Wars , the...

The first popular work to combine the spiritual and psychological insights of modern psychoanalysis with the archetypes of world mythology, the book creates a roadmap for navigating the frustrating path of contemporary life. Examining heroic myths in the light of modern psychology, it considers not only the patterns and stages of mythology but also its relevance to our lives today--and to the life of any person seeking a fully realized existence. Myth, according to Campbell, is the projection of a culture's dreams onto a large screen; Campbell's book, like Star Wars , the film it helped inspire, is an exploration of the big-picture moments from the stage that is our world. It is a must-have resource for both experienced students of mythology and the explorer just beginning to approach myth as a source of knowledge.

research book genre

Ray Dalio The book I’d give [every graduating senior in college or high school] would be [...] Joseph Campbell’s 'Hero of a Thousand Faces'. It's little bit dense but it’s so rich, so it’s a good one. (Source)

Darren Aronofsky [I'm] totally part of his cult. Because I believe in that hero’s journey. (Source)

Kyle Russell Book 28 Lesson: Embedded in human psychology (and the resulting symbolism we find compelling) is a wish for our struggles to be meaningful, for our suffering to have value, for our effort to pay off for ourselves and those we love - and to then be recognized for it. https://t.co/lWgr4k7d8Y (Source)

research book genre

A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari | 4.68

research book genre

Richard Branson One example of a book that has helped me to #ReadToLead this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year, and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated in what makes humans human, and how people are constantly evolving, changing and growing. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting,... (Source)

Reid Hoffman A grand theory of humanity. (Source)

Barack Obama eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-leader-2','ezslot_7',164,'0','1'])); Fact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads. (Source)

research book genre

The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert B. Cialdini | 4.68

research book genre

Charles T. Munger Robert Cialdini has had a greater impact on my thinking on this topic than any other scientist. (Source)

Dan Ariely It covers a range of ways in which we end up doing things, and how we don’t understand why we’re doing them. (Source)

Max Levchin [Max Levchin recommended this book as an answer to "What business books would you advise young entrepreneurs read?"] (Source)

Don't have time to read the top Research books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.

research book genre

The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell | 4.68

research book genre

Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

James Altucher Gladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something. But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts. How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March? And so on. (Source)

Cat Williams-Treloar The books that I've talked the most about with friends and colleagues over the years are the Malcolm Gladwell series of novels. Glorious stories that mix science, behaviours and insight. You can't go wrong with the "The Tipping Point", "Outliers", "Blink" or "David & Goliath". (Source)

research book genre

The Body Keeps the Score

Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Bessel van der Kolk M.D. | 4.63

research book genre

Matthew Green Reading The Body Keeps the Score was a eureka moment for me. (Source)

research book genre

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie | 4.61

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Dustin Moskovitz Seek to be understood. (Source)

Scott Adams [Scott Adams recommends this book on his "Persuasion Reading List."] (Source)

Daymond John I love all the Dale Carnegie books. (Source)

research book genre

The New Psychology of Success

Carol S. Dweck | 4.61

Tony Robbins [Tony Robbins recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Bill Gates One of the reasons I loved Mindset is because it’s solutions-oriented. In the book’s final chapter, Dweck describes the workshop she and her colleagues have developed to shift students from a fixed to a growth mindset. These workshops demonstrate that ‘just learning about the growth mindset can cause a big shift in the way people think about themselves and their lives. (Source)

research book genre

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander, Cornel West | 4.61

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Mark Zuckerberg I read The New Jim Crow, a study of how the U.S. justice system disproportionately criminalizes and jails blacks and Latinos. Making our criminal justice system fairer and more effective is a huge challenge for our country. I’m going to keep learning about this topic, but some things are already clear: We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working (adapted with... (Source)

Peter Temin The new Jim Crow that Michelle Alexander is talking about is mass incarceration. (Source)

research book genre

The Demon-haunted World

Science As a Candle in the Dark

Carl Sagan | 4.60

research book genre

James Randi First of all, Carl was my very good friend, and we had a lot of confidences over the years. He was the epitome of the scientific mind and the scientific thinker. In The Demon-Haunted World, one of his later books, he investigates pseudoscience, frauds and fakes, and the mistakes that scientists made over the years. It’s very comprehensive. He had a whole chapter devoted to “Carlos” – or Jose... (Source)

Philip Plait He holds your hand and shows you the wonders of science and the universe. The Demon-Haunted World is probably his best book. (Source)

Dallas Campbell @TheChilterns Even if you profoundly disagree with Clarke, it’s very detailed. The classic is of course ‘The Demon Haunted World’ by Carl Sagan. When I’m Prime Minister it will be compulsory reading at school! Best book on what science is/isn’t and why we think the way we do. 👍 (Source)

research book genre

The Power of Habit

Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg | 4.57

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Naval Ravikant I also recently finished The Power of Habit, or close to finish as I get. That one was interesting, not because of its content necessarily, but because it’s good for me to always keep on top of mind how powerful my habits are. [...] I think learning how to break habits is a very important meta-skill that can serve you better in life than almost anything else. Although you can read tons of books... (Source)

Blake Irving You know, there's a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Simple read book about just how to build positive habits that can be I think I what I'd call you know whether in your personal life or whether in your business life to help you build you know, have a loop that can build your success and that's one I mean there are so many great books out there. (Source)

Santiago Basulto Another book with great impact was “The power of habit”. But to be honest, I read only a couple of pages. It’s a good book, with many interesting stories. But to be honest, the idea it tries to communicate is simple and after a couple of pages you’ve pretty much understood all of it. Happens the same thing with those types of books (Getting things done, crossing the chasm, etc.) (Source)

research book genre

The Tipping Point

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Malcolm Gladwell | 4.56

research book genre

Kevin Rose Bunch of really good information in here on how to make ideas go viral. This could be good to apply to any kind of products or ideas you may have. Definitely, check out The Tipping Point, which is one of my favorites. (Source)

research book genre

Seth Godin Malcolm Gladwell's breakthrough insight was to focus on the micro-relationships between individuals, which helped organizations realize that it's not about the big ads and the huge charity balls... it's about setting the stage for the buzz to start. (Source)

research book genre

Andy Stern I think that when we talk about making change, it is much more about macro change, like in policy. This book reminds you that at times when you're building big movements, or trying to elect significant decision-makers in politics, sometimes it's the little things that make a difference. Ever since the book was written, we've become very used to the idea of things going viral unexpectedly and then... (Source)

research book genre

The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Malcolm Gladwell | 4.54

research book genre

Mike Shinoda I know most of the guys in the band read [this book]. (Source)

Marillyn Hewson CEO Marilyn Hewson recommends this book because it helped her to trust her instincts in business. (Source)

research book genre

Research Design

Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches

John W. Creswell | 4.53

research book genre

A Brief History of Time

Stephen Hawking | 4.51

research book genre

Richard Branson Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Dan Hooper Everybody knows Hawking’s greatest contributions: understanding that black holes radiate light and other particles, that they contain entropy and all these things that no one imagined before him. Hawking and Roger Penrose also worked out the Big Bang singularity, the very moment of creation. To hear him describe some of these things with his own word choices, his own phrasing—not to mention his... (Source)

Adam Hart-Davis When Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time..his publisher told him that every equation he left in would halve the number of readers (Source)

research book genre

The Elements of Style

William Jr. Strunk | 4.49

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Tobi Lütke [My] most frequently gifted book is [this book] because I like good writing. (Source)

research book genre

Bill Nye This is my guide. I accept that I’ll never write anything as good as the introductory essay by [the author]. It’s brilliant. (Source)

research book genre

The Hot Zone

Richard Preston | 4.48

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Jon Najarian I believe both the corona virus and ebola have a bat connection. Scary, but great book on ebola: Hot Zone by Richard Preston https://t.co/jGEjbrB7pZ (Source)

Pierre Haski @ChuBailiang The hot zone, it made my days during SARS in Beijing, a great book! https://t.co/8E8AYgIhp7 (Source)

research book genre

Freakonomics

A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Stephen J. Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner | 4.46

Malcolm Gladwell I don’t need to say much here. This book invented an entire genre. Economics was never supposed to be this entertaining. (Source)

Daymond John I love newer books like [this book]. (Source)

James Altucher [James Altucher recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

research book genre

The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Mary Roach | 4.43

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Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Richard H. Thaler | 4.42

research book genre

Dan Ariely Nudge is a very important book. One of the reasons Nudge is so important is because it’s taking these ideas and applying them to the policy domain. Here are the mistakes we make. Here are the ways marketers are trying to influence us. Here’s the way we might be able to fight back. If policymakers understood these principles, what could they do? The other important thing about the book is that it... (Source)

research book genre

Eric Ries A pioneer in behavioral economics and just recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, his classic book on how to make better decisions. (Source)

research book genre

Ryan Holiday This might feel like a weird book to include, but I think it presents another side of strategy that is too often forgotten. It’s not always about bold actors and strategic thrusts. Sometimes strategy is about subtle influence. Sometimes it is framing and small tweaks that change behavior. We can have big aims, but get there with little moves. This book has excellent examples of that kind of... (Source)

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Guns, Germs and Steel

The Fates of Human Societies

Jared Diamond Ph.D. | 4.41

Bill Gates Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history. (Source)

research book genre

Daniel Ek A brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning book about how the modern world was formed, analyzing how societies developed differently on different continents. (Source)

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Yuval Noah Harari A book of big questions, and big answers. The book turned me from a historian of medieval warfare into a student of humankind. (Source)

research book genre

Bird By Bird

Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Lamott | 4.36

research book genre

Susan Cain I love [this book]. Such a good book. (Source)

Timothy Ferriss Bird by Bird is one of my absolute favorite books, and I gift it to everybody, which I should probably also give to startup founders, quite frankly. A lot of the lessons are the same. But you can get to your destination, even though you can only see 20 feet in front of you. (Source)

Ryan Holiday It was wonderful to read these two provocative books of essays by two incredibly wise and compassionate women. [...] Anne Lamott’s book is ostensibly about the art of writing, but really it too is about life and how to tackle the problems, temptations and opportunities life throws at us. Both will make you think and both made me a better person this year. (Source)

research book genre

George Orwell | 4.34

research book genre

Steve Jobs called this book "one of his favorite" and recommended it to the hires. The book also inspired one the greatest TV ad (made by Jobs) (Source)

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D J Taylor In terms of how technology is working in our modern surveillance powers, it’s a terrifyingly prophetic book in some of its implications for 21st-century human life. Orwell would deny that it was prophecy; he said it was a warning. But in fact, distinguished Orwell scholar Professor Peter Davis once made a list of all the things that Orwell got right, and it was a couple of fairly long paragraphs,... (Source)

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Emotional Intelligence

Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Daniel Goleman | 4.32

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Drew Houston It’s nonfiction, but it spelled out something that I just didn’t know you could kind of break down in a logical way. And, suddenly, I had this understanding about the world that I didn’t have before. (Source)

Sharon Salzberg [Sharon Salzberg recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Roxana Bitoleanu [One of the books recommends to young people interested in her career path.] (Source)

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Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill | 4.31

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Daymond John The main takeaway from [this book] was goal-setting. It was the fact that if you don't set a specific goal, then how can you expect to hit it? (Source)

Mark Moses [ listing the books that had the biggest impact on him] (Source)

Sa El Another book all about how to obtain financial success by changing how you think and how to change your actions based on that thinking pattern, mindset is the first thing that must change if you want to build a business. (Source)

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Angela Duckworth | 4.31

Benjamin Spall [Question: What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?] [...] Grit by Angela Duckworth (Source)

Bogdan Lucaciu Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - it was frustrating to read: “Where was this book 20 years ago!?” (Source)

Stephen Lew When asked what books he would recommend to youngsters interested in his professional path, Stephen mentioned Grit. (Source)

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An Unquiet Mind

A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Kay Redfield Jamison | 4.30

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Jonathan Glover Kay Redfield Jamison is a psychologist who has co-authored the major psychiatric textbook on manic depression. It authoritatively covers every aspect of the science, from genetics to pharmacology, and also has chapters on the links with creativity and on what the illness feels like. The chapters on the subjective experience are enriched with vivid quotations from patients. In her autobiography,... (Source)

Tanya Byron This is a divine book. A patient of mine who suffers with a bipolar illness, an absolutely inspiring young genius, recommended it to me. So I read it, and then we discussed it in a lot of our sessions together. (Source)

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Amusing Ourselves to Death

Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Neil Postman, Andrew Postman | 4.28

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Austin Kleon Earlier this year Postman’s son Andrew wrote an op-ed with the title, “My dad predicted Trump in 1985 — it’s not Orwell, he warned, it’s Brave New World.” Postman wrote: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.” (Source)

Steve Lance Neil Postman took the work of Marshall McLuhan – who was putting out early theories on media – and built on them. However, Postman was far more observant and empirical about the trends occurring in the media landscape. The trends which he identifies in Amusing Ourselves to Death, written in the 1980s, have since all come true. For example, he predicted that if you make news entertaining, then... (Source)

Kara Nortman @andrewchen Also a great book on the topic - Amusing Ourselves to Death https://t.co/yWLBxKumLQ (Source)

How to Be a Victorian

A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life

Ruth Goodman | 4.28

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Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates | 4.27

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Barack Obama The president also released a list of his summer favorites back in 2015: All That Is, James Salter The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Source)

Jack Dorsey Q: What are the books that had a major influence on you? Or simply the ones you like the most. : Tao te Ching, score takes care of itself, between the world and me, the four agreements, the old man and the sea...I love reading! (Source)

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Doug McMillon Here are some of my favorite reads from 2017. Lots of friends and colleagues send me book suggestions and it's impossible to squeeze them all in. I continue to be super curious about how digital and tech are enabling people to transform our lives but I try to read a good mix of books that apply to a variety of areas and stretch my thinking more broadly. (Source)

Inside the Victorian Home

A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England

Judith Flanders | 4.27

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The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel H. Pink | 4.27

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Tobi Lütke [Tobi Lütke recommended this book in an interview in "The Globe and Mail."] (Source)

David Heinemeier Hansson Takes some of those same ideas about motivations and rewards and extrapolates them in a little bit. (Source)

Mike Benkovich I'd recommend a sprinkling of business books followed by a heap of productivity and behavioural psychology books. The business books will help you with principals and the psychological books help with everything else in your life. Building your own business can really f!@# you up psychologically. (Source)

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The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers

Johnny Saldana | 4.26

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Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design

Choosing Among Five Approaches

John W. Creswell and Cheryl N. Poth | 4.25

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The Emotion Thesaurus

A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

Becca Puglisi | 4.25

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn and Ian Hacking | 4.23

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Mark Zuckerberg It's a history of science book that explores the question of whether science and technology make consistent forward progress or whether progress comes in bursts related to other social forces. I tend to think that science is a consistent force for good in the world. I think we'd all be better off if we invested more in science and acted on the results of research. I'm excited to explore this... (Source)

Tim O'Reilly The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn. Kuhn introduced the term "paradigm shift" to describe the changeover from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy. But the book is far more than a classic in the history of science. It's also a book that emphasizes how what we already believe shapes what we see, what we allow ourselves to think. I've always tried to separate seeing itself from... (Source)

Andra Zaharia I’ve gone through quite a few experiences brought on or shaped by what I’ve learned from books. A particularly unexpected one happened in college when our public relations teacher asked us to read a book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. As a humanities student, you can imagine that I wasn’t thrilled I’d have to read a book on science, but what followed blew my mind... (Source)

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The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

Or, the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

Charles Darwin, Robin Field | 4.23

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] On the Origin of Species (Darwin) [to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Mark Kurlansky It is one of the most important books written, and I always urge people to read it. (Source)

Darren Aronofsky [Darren Aronofsky recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

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What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England

Daniel Pool | 4.22

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Malcolm X, M. S. Handler, Ossie Davis, Attallah Shabazz, Alex Haley | 4.22

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Casey Neistat Aside from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Casey's favorite book is The Second World War by John Keegan. (Source)

Ryan Holiday I forget who said it but I heard someone say that Catcher in the Rye was to young white boys what the Autobiography of Malcolm X was to young black boys. Personally, I prefer that latter over the former. I would much rather read about and emulate a man who is born into adversity and pain, struggles with criminality, does prison time, teaches himself to read through the dictionary, finds religion... (Source)

Keith Ellison Malcolm X is somebody that everybody in America’s prisons today could look at and say, ‘You know what, I can emerge, I can evolve' (Source)

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Edith Hamilton | 4.20

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Alan Kay A few more books like this, and by the time I got to first grade I had been ruined for the 'single book - single truth' ideas of school and church. (Source)

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David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Malcolm Gladwell | 4.19

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Catalina Penciu Business-wise, my goal for this year is to improve my collection and my mindset, but my favorite so far has been David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. (Source)

Robert Katai Buy Malcolm Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath” and read the interesting stories about how the Davids of that moments have defeated the Goliaths. (Source)

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Predictably Irrational

The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Dan Ariely | 4.18

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Nick Harkaway Predictably Irrational is an examination of the way in which we make decisions irrationally, and how that irrationality can be predicted. (Source)

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Jonah Lehrer Dan Ariely is a very creative guy and was able to take this basic idea, that humans are irrational, and mine it in a million different directions. (Source)

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The Emperor of All Maladies

A Biography of Cancer

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Fred Sanders, et al | 4.18

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Bill Gates I loved [this] brilliant book about cancer. (Source)

Timothy J. Jorgensen A tremendous amount of cancer biology comes through in that book through the eyes of the victims and the people up close and personal. (Source)

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A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari | 4.18

Richard Branson I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a big reader of paleontology or anthropology – not good words for us dyslexics! – but I enjoy learning about how society has unfolded and history has developed in an exciting, easy to read way. The sequel, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, is a fascinating look into the future too. While these aren’t traditional business or leadership books, they are all... (Source)

Bill Gates Harari’s new book is as challenging and readable as Sapiens. Rather than looking back, as Sapiens does, it looks to the future. I don’t agree with everything the author has to say, but he has written a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity. (Source)

Vinod Khosla Not that I agree with all of it, but it is still mind-bending speculation about our future as a follow-up to a previous favorite, Sapiens. It’s directionally right. (Source)

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Case Study Research

Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods)

Robert K. Yin | 4.18

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The Design of Everyday Things

Don Norman | 4.17

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Marius Ciuchete Paun eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_5',164,'0','1'])); Question: Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Answer: Yes there was. In fact, I can remember two separate sentences from two different books: The first one comes from “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman. It says: “great design will help... (Source)

Grey Baker I mainly read to decompress and change my state of mind, so it’s hard to point to an insight I read that helped me. Reading fiction has pulled me out of a bad mood more times than I can count, though, and always reenergises me to attack problems that had stumped me again. That said, I read and loved Norman Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things”, and it’s helped me think through design problems... (Source)

Kaci Lambe These three books are about how people actually use design in their lives. They helped me understand this very basic idea: There are no dumb users, only bad designers. Take the time to create based on how your design will be interacted with. Test it. Iterate. That's how you become a good designer. (Source)

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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley | 4.16

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Yuval Noah Harari The most prophetic book of the 20th century. Today many people would easily mistake it for a utopia. (Source)

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Ellen Wayland-Smith It is a hilarious, and also very prescient, parody of utopias. Huxley goes back to the idea that coming together and forming a community of common interests is a great idea – it’s the basis of civil society. At the same time, when communities of common interests are taken to utopian degrees the self starts to dissolve into the larger community, you lose privacy and interiority; that becomes... (Source)

John Quiggin The lesson I draw from this is that the purpose of utopia is not so much as an achieved state, as to give people the freedom to pursue their own projects. That freedom requires that people are free of the fear of unemployment, or of financial disaster through poor healthcare. They should be free to have access to the kind of resources they need for their education and we should maintain and... (Source)

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Understanding Comics

The Invisible Art

Scott McCloud | 4.16

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Austin Kleon Unsolicited, but here’s my advice for visual thinkers (and others) who want to be better writers: [...] Cartoonists, because their work demands work from two disciplines (writing/art, poetry/design, words/pictures), are highly instructive when it comes to visual people learning to write, writers learning to make art, etc. (Check out Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics for more.) (Source)

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Will Brooker Understanding Comics is a book about how comics work, told in comic form. It’s very accessible, it’s for the general reader and is about comics in general, not just superhero comics. It explores areas like pacing and editing – how motion can be created through static panels on a page, and how arranging those panels in different ways, or drawing in different styles, or combining text and image,... (Source)

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The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England

A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

Ian Mortimer | 4.16

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The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood | 4.15

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Grady Booch I read this several years ago but — much like Orwell’s 1984 — it seems particularly relevant given our current political morass. (Source)

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Cliff Bleszinski @HandmaidsOnHulu Done. Love the show, book is a classic, can't wait for season 2. (Source)

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Jason Kottke @procload Not super necessary, since you've seen the TV show. This first book is still a great read though...different than the show (tone-wise more than plot-wise). (Source)

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A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson | 4.14

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Amanda Palmer [Amanda Palmer recommended this book in the book "Tools of Titans".] (Source)

Fabrice Grinda I have lots of books to recommend, but they are not related to my career path. The only one that is remotely related is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. That said here are books I would recommend. (Source)

David Goldberg What I really liked about A Short History of Nearly Everything is that it gives an excellent account of a lot of the personalities and the interconnectedness of important discoveries in cosmology and elsewhere. He does such a great job of bringing together our understanding of cosmology, evolution, paleontology, and geology in a very, very fluid way. (Source)

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New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Charles C. Mann | 4.14

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a...

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

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Adam Conover @TheBaltimoreSon @CharlesCMann Sure it! A total revolution in my understanding of history, all in one book. Amazing stuff. (Source)

Scott Keyes It’s one of those books that takes everything you thought you knew about the history of European colonialists and indigenous groups in the Americas and turns it on its head. Just a fascinating deep-dive into early American history that questions a lot of dogma we were taught in school. (Source)

Colin Calloway The book provides a huge hemispheric overview. (Source)

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The Power of Myth

Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers | 4.14

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Naval Ravikant I’m rereading The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. Sometimes I think it’s better to just to reread the greats than it is to read something that’s not as great. (Source)

Bryan Callen Joseph Campbell was the first person to really open my eyes to [the] compassionate side of life, or of thought... Campbell was the guy who really kind of put it all together for me, and not in a way I could put my finger on... It made you just glad to be alive, [realizing] how vast this world is, and how similar and how different we are. (Source)

Park Howell This is one of the books I recommend to people looking for a career in advertising. (Source)

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On Writing Well

The Classic Guide To Writing Nonfiction

William Zinsser | 4.14

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Tim O'Reilly On Writing Well, by William Zinsser. I wouldn't say this book influenced me, since my principles of writing were established long before I read it. However, it does capture many things that I believe about effective writing. (Source)

Derek Sivers Great blunt advice about writing better non-fiction. So inspiring. (Source)

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Women Who Run With the Wolves

Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Clarissa Pinkola Estés | 4.14

Irina Botnari I’m reading more books at the same time. Guilty. Some of them are Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss, My Berlin Child – Anne Wiazemsky, Women who Run with the Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Tim is full of lessons to learn, remember & implement, I’ll see what the rest of the books will unfold. (Source)

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Gender Trouble

Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Judith Butler | 4.13

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Invisible Women

Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Caroline Criado Perez | 4.12

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Konnie Huq @FenTiger697 @WokingAmnesty @CCriadoPerez @Hatchards @radioleary Brilliant book by the brilliant @CCriadoPerez 😍 (Source)

Feminist Next Door @Rockmedia Awesome book (Source)

Nigel Shadbolt Invisible Women is an exposé of just how much of the world around us is designed around the default male. Deploying a huge range of data and examples, Caroline Criado Perez, who is a writer, broadcaster and award winning campaigner, presents on overwhelming case for change. Every page is full of facts and data that support her fundamental contention that in a world built for and by men, gender... (Source)

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A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

Chicago Style for Students and Researchers

Kate L. Turabian | 4.12

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Just Enough Research

Erika Hall | 4.12

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Mike Monteiro Hello. @mulegirl’s revised, expanded, even more good edition of the world’s best research book, Just Enough Research, dropped today. Buy it for yourself, or buy it for everyone in your company, and you’ll make better things. https://t.co/7U4xcCu2ez (Source)

Daniel Burka Awesome! @mulegirl's excellent new book, Conversational Design, is now available from @abookapart. My blurb even made it in! "This book cuts through the fluff and buzzwords to get straight to the point..." https://t.co/0oeD5J0OSH (Source)

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Tim Kastelle “A large corporation is more like Australia: it’s impossible to see the whole landscape at once and there are so many things capable of maiming or killing you.” Just Enough Research by ⁦@mulegirl⁩ is a fantastic book - highly recommended. https://t.co/t11yOVeqNc (Source)

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The Prince [with Biographical Introduction]

Nicollo Machiavelli, Tim Parks | 4.11

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Eric Ripert A fascinating study and still wholly relevant. (Source)

Neil deGrasse Tyson Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Prince (Machiavelli) [to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Ryan Holiday Of course, this is a must read. Machiavelli is one of those figures and writers who is tragically overrated and underrated at the same time. Unfortunately that means that many people who read him miss the point and other people avoid him and miss out altogether. Take Machiavelli slow, and really read him. Also understand the man behind the book–not just as a masterful writer but a man who... (Source)

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The Better Angels of Our Nature

Why Violence Has Declined

Steven Pinker | 4.10

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Mark Zuckerberg My second book of the year is The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. It's a timely book about how and why violence has steadily decreased throughout our history, and how we can continue this trend. Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever, so it's worth understanding that all violence -- even terrorism -- is actually decreasing over time.... (Source)

Eric Schmidt When you finish [this book], which takes a long time, you conclude that the world is in a much, much better place than it has been in the past. (Source)

Bill Gates Yong succeeds in his intention to give us a 'grander view of life' and does so without falling prey to grand, unifying explanations that are far too simplistic. He presents our inner ecosystems in all their wondrous messiness and complexity. And he offers realistic optimism that our growing knowledge of the human microbiome will lead to great new opportunities for enhancing our health. (Source)

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Save the Cat

The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Blake Snyder | 4.09

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Eric Weinstein [Eric Weinstein recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

Bill Liao The human world occurs in language so best get good at it! (Source)

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Neville Medhora It takes you through 11 different 'archetypes' of screenplays you can write, and the exact elements each needs to be a great story. (Source)

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How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond | 4.08

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Bill Gates I found this to be an interesting follow-up to the excellent Guns, Germs, and Steel. It examines the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations. (Source)

Matthew Yglesias I wanted to get a book on my list that is actually enjoyable to read, so not everything is quite so dry and dull as a narrative. I also wanted to include something that reflects the growing importance of environmental and ecological concerns to progressive politics in America. This is relatively new to the agenda – it’s only been in the last 30 to 35 years. But going forward, one of the most... (Source)

Stefan Lessard He should read this book I’m almost finished with. Jared Diamond is one of my favorite historical authors. https://t.co/f9JLYlsc4v https://t.co/KtPgMZaWen (Source)

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The Elegant Universe

Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Brian Greene | 4.08

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Mark Kurlansky I love this book. Brian Greene makes quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of relativity really make sense, so you can understand something which nobody seems to understand (Source)

Tom Clarke This book is perhaps the public debut of string theory – an attempt to explain how the best of the big and the small theories might be linked to explain the entire universe. (Source)

Steven Gubser The book works at many levels – I gave a copy to my mom when it came out, and I also received very positive impressions about the book from Norman Ramsey, who is a Nobel Prize physicist at Harvard. So it’s a great achievement, and part of why it’s a great achievement is that it covers not only string theory but also the accepted pillars of 20th-century theoretical physics, namely, quantum... (Source)

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Imagined Communities

Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised Edition)

Benedict Anderson | 4.08

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Jon Calame We looked into divided cities not because we had a morbid fascination with these traumatised cities, but because they seemed to be a keyhole through which you could glimpse this larger phenomenon relatively clearly. (Source)

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Daring Greatly

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Brené Brown | 4.08

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Chase Jarvis [Chase Jarvis recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Chelsea Frank I read everything with an open mind, often challenging myself by choosing books with an odd perspective or religious/spiritual views. These books do not reflect my personal feelings but are books that helped shape my perspective on life, love, and happiness. (Source)

AnneMarie Schindler I suggest these [books] because they really open up 'how' you think about life and in turn work, success/challenges/setbacks, and in general, yourself. I believe that the more you can understand yourself and broaden your approach to work, the easier it will be to find work that energizes you. Finally, I'm a team player at heart, and love working with others to achieve a huge goal so a portion of... (Source)

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Norse Mythology

out of 5 stars4,12 | 4.08

Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

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A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn | 4.07

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Lisa Ling I credit this book with propelling me to dig deeper, and to not always believe the narrative. (Source)

Alex Honnold Totally changed the way I look at politics. (Source)

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Discipline and Punish

The Birth of the Prison

Michel Foucault, Alan Sheridan | 4.07

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The Little Book of Research Writing

Varanya Chaubey | 4.07

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The Gifts of Imperfection

Brené Brown | 4.07

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Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond | 4.06

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Bill Gates If you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book about the eviction crisis in Milwaukee. Desmond has written a brilliant portrait of Americans living in poverty. He gave me a better sense of what it is like to be poor in this country than anything else I have read. (Source)

Satya Nadella Nadella is using this season to learn more in a variety of subjects. By the looks of it, he is interested in, among other things, virtual reality, the refugee crisis, and housing for the urban poor. (Source)

Noah Kagan Surprising insights into the lives of people who were evicted. I make a lot of assumptions about these people. Turns out I was wrong WHY they get evicted. (Source)

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Bad Science

Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

Ben Goldacre | 4.06

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Timothy Ferriss I agree wholeheartedly with a lot of the co-opted science, which people can read a book called Bad Science, which is by a doctor named Ben Goldacre. It’s great. (Source)

Tim Harford This book changed the way I thought about my own writing and it changed the way I thought about the world. It really is one of the best books I have ever read. (Source)

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore It’s just a brilliant book, and he’s a fearless defender of science. (Source)

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Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series)

Scott Cunningham | 4.05

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The Republic

The Influential Classic

Plato | 4.05

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Maria Popova Tim Ferriss: "If you could guarantee that every public official or leader read one book, what would it be?": "The book would be, rather obviously, Plato's The Republic. I'm actually gobsmacked that this isn't required in order to be sworn into office, like the Constitution is required for us American immigrants when it comes time to gain American citizenship." (Source)

Rebecca Goldstein Living today in Trump’s America, I am constantly reminded of specific passages in the Republic, most saliently his warnings of how a demagogue might arise in the midst of a democracy by fanning up resentments and fears. (Source)

David Heinemeier Hansson I’m about a third through this and still can’t tell whether Plato is making a mockery of Socrates ideas for the idyllic society or not. So many of the arguments presented as Socrates’ are so tortured and with so disconnected leaps of logic that it’s hard to take it at face value. Yet still, it’s good fun to follow the dialogue. It reads more like a play than a book, and again, immensely... (Source)

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How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger - Second Edition with a New Chapter by the Author

Darrell Huff and Irving Gei | 4.05

Bill Gates I picked this one up after seeing it on a Wall Street Journal list of good books for investors. It was first published in 1954, but it doesn’t feel dated (aside from a few anachronistic examples—it has been a long time since bread cost 5 cents a loaf in the United States). In fact, I’d say it’s more relevant than ever. One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give... (Source)

Tobi Lütke We all live in Malcolm’s world because the shipping container has been hugely influential in history. (Source)

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Jason Zweig This is a terrific introduction to critical thinking about statistics, for people who haven’t taken a class in statistics. (Source)

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The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures

The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic

John Matthews, Caitlin Matthews | 4.05

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Stamped from the Beginning

The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Ibram X. Kendi | 4.04

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Bianca Belair For #BHM I will be sharing some of my favorite books by Black Authors 27th Book: Stamped from the Beginning Written by: @DrIbram When I found this book I couldn’t believe that I had never learned about the information in this book. A book everyone should read. Eye-opening! https://t.co/pLaifB8DFI (Source)

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The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath, Maggie Gyllenhaal, et al | 4.04

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Bryony Gordon As a teenage girl, you have to read The Bell Jar. It’s a rite of passage. (Source)

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form) One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019 (Source)

Tim Kendall Despite its subject matter, The Bell Jar is often a very funny novel. Perhaps we miss it because the pall of Plath’s biography descends across the whole work and reputation. But The Bell Jar is viciously funny. There are people still alive today who won’t talk about it because they were so badly hurt by Plath’s portrayal of them. (Source)

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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson | 4.04

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Elizabeth C. Mclaughlin I've recommended the book White Fragility on here many times, and this interview is a great place to start. If you're a white person who believes you're not racist, please read this article. And then go read the book. https://t.co/S5plH3wS5m (Source)

Marshall Kirkpatrick @jhagel This is a great book btw! (Source)

Todd Nesloney @SarahSuggs13 I love that book, have spoken with the author, and did an entire staff book study. Again, had you even tried to see my work that I do, you'd have learned that. You seek to divide and that is it. Great lesson for our students. (Source)

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Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit

John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker | 4.04

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Gödel, Escher, Bach

An Eternal Golden Braid

Douglas R. Hofstadter | 4.04

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Steve Jurvetson [Steve Jurvetson recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Seth Godin In the last week, I discovered that at least two of my smart friends hadn't read Godel, Escher, Bach. They have now. You should too. (Source)

Kevin Kelly Over the years, I kept finding myself returning to its insights, and each time I would arrive at them at a deeper level. (Source)

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Fermat's Enigma

The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem

Simon Singh | 4.03

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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore The book is great because Simon Singh has this ability to write about the driest and most complex scientific or mathematical concepts and issues, and somehow make them come alive. (Source)

Kirk Borne New Perspective on Fermat's Last Theorem: https://t.co/YeaHQ6iadB by @granvilleDSC @DataScienceCtrl #abdsc #Mathematics See the best-selling book "Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem": https://t.co/dqenmvUw0A by @SLSingh https://t.co/deyMhQTQLU (Source)

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The Signal and the Noise

Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't

Nate Silver | 4.03

Bill Gates Anyone interested in politics may be attracted to Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don't. Silver is the New York Times columnist who got a lot of attention last fall for predicting—accurately, as it turned out–the results of the U.S. presidential election. This book actually came out before the election, though, and it’s about predictions in many... (Source)

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The Brain that Changes Itself

Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

Norman Doidge | 4.02

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Carol Dweck For me it was exciting to read this book because while my research shows a growth mindset is really good for you, this book shows that a growth mindset also has a strong basis in modern neuroscience. It illustrates, though fascinating case histories and descriptions of recent research, the amazing power of the brain to change and even to reorganise itself with practice and experience. (Source)

Naveen Jain I think the book that I really, really enjoy was, "The Brain That Changes Itself." It's all about neuroplasticity, you'd really love that book. (Source)

Bogdana Butnar I don't have favourite books. I equate a favourite something with wanting to do it over and over again and I've never wanted to read a book too many times. I have favourite authors and I have books that changed me in significant ways because they moved me or taught me something or changed my view of the world. So, here's some of those books... (Source)

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The Artist's Way

Julia Cameron | 4.02

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Anand C STARTING FROM AUTHENTICITY: by observing, showing humility and being grateful - I started being open to what’s in the sub-conscious more (30+ sessions in). Speaking your truth is a powerful result of this. One great book to help explore this. https://t.co/sOAgAHhWsO (Source)

Emma Gannon Instead of all these fast paced books saying: ‘Here’s how to be amazing, here’s how to get a side hustle, here’s how to hustle, hustle, hustle.’ This is the total opposite. It’s about slowing right down and connecting with yourself again. (Source)

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The Negative Trait Thesaurus

A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws

Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi | 4.02

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Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association(r)

American Psychological Association | 4.01

In addition to providing clear guidance on grammar, the mechanics of writing, and APA style, the Publication Manual offers an authoritative and easy-to-use reference and citation system and comprehensive...

In addition to providing clear guidance on grammar, the mechanics of writing, and APA style, the Publication Manual offers an authoritative and easy-to-use reference and citation system and comprehensive coverage of the treatment of numbers, metrication, statistical and mathematical data, tables, and figures for use in writing, reports, or presentations.

The new edition has been revised and updated to include:

Writers, scholars, and professionals will also find:

New and experienced readers alike will find the 5th Edition a complete resource for writing, presenting, or publishing with clarity and persuasiveness.

Approximately 400 pages

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The Poisoner's Handbook

Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

Deborah Blum | 4.01

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Michelle Francl Deborah Blum’s book reminds me that molecules are powerful witnesses, if only we have the skills to interrogate them, and sometimes they are killers. (Source)

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A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

Scott Cunningham | 4.01

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Georgette Heyer's Regency World

Jennifer Kloester | 4.01

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From Here to Eternity

Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Caitlin Doughty, Landis Blair | 4.01

Dylan Thuras Caitlin Doughty is razor sharp, and writes about death with exceptional clarity and style. From Here to Eternity manages to be both an extremely funny travelogue and a deeply moving book about what death means to us all. (Source)

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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Renni Browne, Dave King | 4.00

Alina Varlanuta My professional path – copywriting – somehow intertwines with my unprofessional (hahaha) path – writing so I would recommend reading literature for both. Somehow reading and writing are two ways of doing the same thing: storytelling (even when you read you tell yourself a story in your own voice, bringing your personal emotion and empathy to the story you’re reading). The only difference is that... (Source)

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Unmentionable

The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners

Therese Oneill | 4.00

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What Is My Book Genre? A Guide For Authors

POSTED ON Nov 21, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Asking, “What is a book genre?” or perhaps more specifically, “What is my book genre?” is a key question for writing, publishing, and marketing success. Specific genres often call for certain types of writing or lend well to specific themes. Similarly, your book genre will help inform your book cover design and book positioning in your description, online listing, and ads.

When you can confidently place yourself and your book in a genre or subject, you set yourself apart from many authors who remain unclear on the answer. 

And if you aren't sure of your place as an author,

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Clearly defining your book genre before you begin writing helps you:

  • World build correctly 
  • Choose and write about the correct themes
  • Write age-appropriate stories and dialogues
  • Write genre-appropriate character arcs  
  • Create a compelling book cover design
  • Use the correct keywords on your Amazon KDP listing
  • Select the best Amazon categories
  • Market your book to the correct audience

In this article, I clearly answer the question, what is a book genre, to equip you to succeed in your writing endeavors.

This blog answers “what is a book genre” and helps you find yours:

What is my book genre and why does it matter.

Defining your specific book genre matters for many reasons, most importantly, story integrity and marketing tactics . Many authors don’t know what they are going to write, or they think they’re writing for one genre when they actually write in a completely different genre. 

But if you enjoy what you write, why does it matter to know you’re writing it? Why not just write to your heart’s content without confining yourself to a specific book genres list ? 

Let’s consider fiction for a moment. There are many types of fiction to choose from. If you enjoy keeping readers on the edge of their seats, you will likely choose to write horror or thriller. That said, there is a major difference between horror and thriller . Horror often leans more toward shocking elements, whereas thriller tends to focus on rising tension. 

The genre you choose to write matters because it determines your plot structure, characterization, and marketing campaigns. Appropriate book positioning allows you to reach the right audience and can even help land you on a bestseller list . 

Tips for finding the genre you belong in

If you’re new to writing or simply want to better answer the question, what is a book genre, these nine tips will help. 

YouTube video

1. Consider what you like reading 

Take a look at your bookshelf and note which genres you gravitate toward. If you wonder how to tell what genre a book is, simply look at the copyright page or the back cover near the barcode. 

Seasoned authors often encourage writers to read countless books in the genre they like to write. If you regularly read historical romance, you may want to consider writing in this genre.  

2. Think about the plot 

The next factor to consider when asking, what is a genre of a book, is the plot. Consider Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings . His plot focuses on taking a magic ring into a fantastical land filled with make-believe characters. This series is by no means historical fiction. In fact, it's an early version of science fiction and fantasy.  

3. Take note of your setting

What is a book genre as it relates to your setting ? Waldo Rodriguez’s novel, The Crucible , stars a protagonist dealing with the fate of the world. Rodriguez’s setting alludes to science fiction, his genre of choice. The setting you choose plays a large role in helping you answer the question, what is the book genre of your current work-in-progress?

4. Define your characters

While your characters should feel human and embody characteristics that are relatable, defining their role in the story world helps you answer, what is a book genre?

For instance, Gandalf fulfills the trope of the wise sage or mentor figure. However, he does so by using magic. This singular characteristic helps readers determine the genre of this famous series. 

5. Asses the audience you like to write for

What type of readers do you love to engage with? Where do you find yourself spending time online? Following nonfiction authors and chatting with people who read inspirational nonfiction? Do you lean toward young adult audiences who love dystopia ?

Which type of audience do you hope to influence, entertain, and inspire? 

Answering the above will help you determine what is a book genre you should focus on writing.

6. Use writing prompts to see what flows the best

Writing prompts aid authors in starting their writing journey. Sometimes a sentence, or even a fragment, is all you need to launch into your writing career. If you wonder what is a book genre you would enjoy writing, choose three or four prompts. 

Choose a different genre each time. See which genre you naturally write best, and discard the ones that stump you. 

7. Look at your world building 

Some authors thrive creating worlds and entire histories from scratch. For them, answering “what is a book genre I love to write” is simple: science fiction , high fantasy and low fantasy , dystopia, adventure etc. 

If you don’t enjoy world building as much as you do characterization, you may want to choose a genre that you can research instead of create. This leads into tip number eight.

8. Determine your desired research level 

My sophomore year of high school I decided to challenge myself to write a full-length novel. My writing friend encouraged me to write fantasy so I could focus on the writing rather than lose myself in research. 

If you love research, choosing one of the following genres may benefit you:

  • Historical romance 
  • Western fiction
  • Crime/mystery

For instance, if you set your romance during the 16th century, you will need to conduct quite a bit of research (fashion, cultural norms, etc.). Crime novels include research of a different sort. How do you approach a crime scene? What legal steps will your characters need to take? How will you solve the crime in a believable way? 

Answering these questions will demand dedicated research. Tip: make sure you don't get so lost in research you forget to write the story!

9. Pay attention to your brand 

Today’s authors must create at least some form of online presence to promote their books. Before answering, what is a book genre I should write, look at your current online presence. If your website and social media is a hub where you share business tips, you may want to write a sub-genre in nonfiction .  

If you regularly write and post about your favorite science fiction authors, consider writing in this genre. 

Of course, if you find the history of the United States fascinating, you may want to try your hand at historical fiction set in the early days of America.

Take your next step today

You can now answer, what is a book genre, and know why this question matters. Now it's time to discover your own author DNA! Take the short quiz below to find out who your author twin is. Once you look at your results, consider reading several of their most famous works. What is a book genre they write most?

Identifying with the writing style and genre of a famous author helps you understand your own writing goals at a deeper level.

Whether you find out that your author twin is Stephen King or Margaret Atwood, educating yourself on their writing will help you take your own to an entirely new level. Take the quiz today and level-up your writing!

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How to Research a Book

by Sarah Gribble | 0 comments

I’m prepping for a new novel that I’m super excited about. My characters are floating around in my head, becoming more real as I write my first draft, and I have a decently detailed synopsis written.

how to research a book

My problem: I know next to nothing about my setting and my main character’s profession. Which means I need to do massive amounts of research. Yes, I have to conduct research for a book, even if it's a novel.

You might think you don’t need to do much research because you’re writing fiction. (Isn't fiction just making stuff up?!) You’d be wrong.

Your readers expect to be transported to your setting and to understand your characters so fully, they seem like real people. Little things like using the wrong jargon or having your main character wear the wrong type of bodice can jar your reader out of the story and cause them to lose respect for you as a writer. If they can’t trust you to get the facts right, why should they trust you to guide them through a story?

Like it or not, research is a writer's best friend. (Next to caffeine, anyway.) So let's talk about how to conduct research for a book.

The True Purpose of Research for Fiction

When you first start the research process for a novel, you’re going to be looking at the big picture. You want to get a general overview of the time period, location, and/or character profession. You want to immerse yourself in everything you can find that comes within your story's scope.

This isn’t because you’re going to regurgitate all that to your readers. It’s because you need to have a clear picture of what’s going on in order to successfully write your story. All of your research is for you so that you can translate your world to your reader.

It will also help speed up your writing process, since you'll know the details you need to include without getting bogged down in how something should work in your story.

Don't mistake this with the thought that you need to include everything you research in your book (especially if you're writing historical fiction, which can require more research than other genres).

Book research is a tool that should serve your story, not the other way around. You’re not writing an academic paper, so resist the urge to shove everything you’ve learned into your story. You’ll end up info dumping if you try.

Your story is the main purpose and your research should support it, not overwhelm it. Choose what you need to further the story and leave the rest.

How to Conduct Research for a Book

Okay, let's get to it! Here’s how to get started with researching your novel:

Lists are your friends

Because you’ll be dealing with a vast amount of (mostly useless) information, the first thing you need to do is get organized. Some fiction writers like to use Scrivener to keep track of their research. Others might use Evernote.

Really, the writing software you want to use is based on your preference of documenting subject matter.

It could be as simple as detailed notecards or thoughts in a journal.

Whatever method you use to research your own work, you'll want to make lists.

Do this for everything you need to look up. You don’t want to forget something hugely important and have to spend a lot of time in the middle of writing your novel to look it up.

In my case, my setting is on a small island and my main character is a commercial fisherman. I need to know island life, weather patterns, boat types, fishing jargon, etc. I have memoirs and nonfiction books about the area and the fishing industry. I’m reading them cover-to-cover, not because I’ll end up using all the information, but because I need to establish an overarching picture for myself .

If I can’t mentally place myself there, I can’t place my readers there.

Where can you collect these lists? Tons of places, some including:

  • Local libraries (are also your friends)
  • Field research (find someone who has had a personal experience in what you're writing)
  • Search engines like Google (for setting, you might explore Google maps—just don't get too distracted and waste a ton of time here)
  • Wikipedia (but make sure you fact check)
  • Podcasts about what you're writing about
  • Other books from bestselling authors (as long as you don't plagiarize content)

Establish a system

You need to be able to call up your research as needed, so establishing an organized, consistent system of keeping track of everything you’ve learned is a must.

Personally, since I spent so many years in school, I go with the standard method of taking notes (in a notebook that only serves my current project and nothing else) and then highlighting and sticky-noting facts I definitely want to use. There are plenty of note-taking apps out there if you'd rather not be so old school.

For fun, try establishing a system for a short story first. This decrease the pressure on trying out the same system for a longer creative writing work.

If the system works well for you, take it to the next level and use it to write a novella or novel.

Expand your idea of research

Don’t just scour the internet. Get a book. Better yet, get twelve. There’s no such thing as researching too much.

Talk to your librarian or a book seller (they’re magnificent at helping with this). Watch documentaries and YouTube videos. Look at pictures. Talk to people in person or online. Go to a museum. Read fiction novels that cover similar ground. Find all the information you can on your subject.

First-hand experience is always best, but don't worry if you can't afford a trip to France for your quirky French bookstore novel. You can go to a French restaurant. The taste of the food, the smells, and how the waiter pronounces the menu items are all fodder for your story.

Pay attention to details when you’re out and about. You never know what might inspire, fill in plot holes, or add an interesting tic to your character.

Stop researching

Once you have a solid overarching picture of your setting and your characters, stop researching and start writing. You can’t spend months researching without writing a word. That’s not writing. At some point, you have to put away the research and get moving on your novel.

You know you've researched enough when you already know the information you're reading in the umpteenth book you've checked out from the library.

(Hmm. Library again. A pattern, maybe? Seriously, ask your librarians for help.)

Remember how I said all this research was for you? Eventually, you'll have enough information. You have all that in your head (and hopefully in a nicely organized set of notes), so when you go to write, you’ll be able to recall details as you go along.

Your understanding of your setting, era, and character's profession is what will give you the ability to weave details seamlessly and organically into your story.

This goes for your first novel, up until your last one.

While it’s true you shouldn’t have to research anything major after you begin writing, you will find you need to look up some minor details as you delve into your story. There will always be some iota of information you don’t know you need until you need it. For instance, the most common types of knots fishermen use or the instruments on a surgical tray in an operating room.

These are things that are important to get right but are most likely not important to the flow of the story. Don't interrupt your writing flow to go back to researching for weeks on end.

When you come across the need to know something minor, make a note and keep writing . You can always look up small stuff later. Keep writing!

What's your favorite part of researching? What do you struggle with?  Let me know in the comments !

Today I want you to do something a little different. I want you to think of a story you want to write. Any story, any genre, but it  must be in a setting you don't know much (if anything!) about. Take fifteen minutes to brainstorm a list of things you'd need to research in order for that setting to come alive for your reader—and you!

Share your list in the comments and see if you can help your fellow writers think of anything else they need to look up!

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Sarah Gribble

Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She just released Surviving Death , her first novel, and is currently working on her next book.

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List of Book Genres: 30 Fiction And Nonfiction Genres You Should Know

What’s so important about knowing the genres of books ?

Well, if you’re an author with a work in progress, you’ll want to know its genre to ensure your ideal readers find and read it.

List a science fiction novel as a paranormal romance, for example, and you’ll likely end up with a flurry of negative reviews. No one wants that.

Readers of specific book genres have expectations you’ll want to meet if you want them to enjoy your book and recommend it to others.

You also want readers to see your book’s cover and know it’s the genre they want.

So, knowing your book’s genre not only helps with marketing. It can make all the difference in your writing career.

What does your book genre tell you?

30 book genres explained, fiction genres, nonfiction genres, most popular book genres.

Once you know your book’s genre, you can write it knowing the following expectations your book should meet:

For example, if you’re writing YA fantasy, you’ll run afoul of your readers (and their parents) if your story includes a sex scene or graphic violence.

If you’re writing a cozy mystery, you don’t want your book’s cover to look like it belongs on a horror novel.

And if you’re writing fantasy , you’ll want to find a designer who specializes in that genre and knows how to create covers worthy of a Rick Riordan novel.

Unless you’re an experienced cover designer (like Derek Murphy of CreativIndie ), DIY covers using stock photos will put your fantasy novel at a serious disadvantage.

With that in mind, enjoy this list of 30 types of book genres with descriptions and an example (or two) for each. It’s not an exhaustive list; there are upwards of 40 genres — more if you count sub-genres and mixed genres.

But it’s enough to help you identify your book’s genre.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction , you’ll be prepared to meet genre expectations and market your book appropriately to reach your target audience and maximize sales.

Your readers will also appreciate your taking the time to learn what this post will teach you. And so will your book’s editor and cover designer.

List of Book Genres

  • Fantasy — The fantasy genre involves world-building and characters who are supernatural, mythological, magical, or a combination of these. Examples: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Science Fiction — Similar to fantasy, this genre explores futuristic or technological themes and ideas to address scientific “what if” questions. Examples: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle
  • Dystopian — Sometimes considered a subgenre of fantasy or of science fiction, this genre is usually set in a bleak future (near or distant) to explore cultural or social issues. Examples include Wool by Hugh Howey and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Adventure — Any novel that focuses on an adventure undertaken by the main character (with or without help) falls under the adventure genre. This genre can easily be combined with others. Example: White Fang by Jack London
  • Romance — Any novel where the main storyline centers on a romantic relationship falls into this category, which has several subgenres. Examples include The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
  • Detective & Mystery — One of the toughest genres to write, this one centers on a mystery and involves either a professional or amateur sleuth. Examples: Murder on the the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
  • Horror — The goal of this genre is to scare your readers and keep them that way until the hero vanquishes the threat. Example: The Shining by Stephen King
  • Thriller — This genre also has scary elements, but its main objective is to keep your reader in a state of suspense until the story’s resolution. Example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • LGBTQ+ — Fiction with authentic LGBTQ+ representation falls into this category, which is sometimes considered a subgenre of contemporary fiction but can also be mixed with romance, fantasy, and other genres. Example: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Historical Fiction — This genre covers fiction set in a specific time period and providing historically accurate detail relevant to the period and its characters. Examples: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Young Adult (YA) (13-17 yrs) — This is fiction for readers aged 13 to 17 years. Example: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
  • Children’s Fiction — Fiction in this genre is written for kids aged up to 13 and is further divided into smaller subgenres. Example: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty.
  • Memoir & Autobiography — Each of the books in this genre is a true account of the author’s own life. Memoirs are typically related to a specific time in the author’s life or to a specific theme of the author’s choosing. Example: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Biography — Biographies are books written on someone other than the author — generally someone well known or someone whose life and or death can teach the world something worth learning. Example: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Cooking — In this genre, you’ll find books on every kind of cooking someone in the world took the time to write about, as well as cooking for different diets and nutritional needs. Example: Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre
  • Art & Photography — This genre includes books on artists of all kinds, as well as on each type of art and its history. Example: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography by Tony Northrup
  • Self-Help / Personal Development — This genre is all about helping your reader realize their potential, develop their gifts, and live fulfilling lives. Example: Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
  • Motivational / Inspirational — This genre’s main purpose is to get you to do something, to inspire you, or to challenge your perspective. Example: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
  • Health & Fitness — Here you’ll find books on both mental and physical health concerns as well as diets and weight loss. Example: Lies My Doctor Told Me by Ken D. Berry
  • History — This genre focuses on a specific time period or covers a broad span of time, often describing specific historical characters. Example: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Harari
  • Crafts, Hobbies & Home — Look to this genre for topics related to creating a home and developing specific hobbies or crafts. Examples: The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker
  • Families & Relationships — If it deals with family life, marriage, or any kind of interpersonal relationship, your book belongs in this genre. Example: The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
  • Humor & Entertainment — Books in this genre are supposed to make you laugh or at least keep you entertained. Many also belong to the memoir genre. Example: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Business & Money — If you’re writing a nonfiction book on business topics, wealth building, or managing your money, it probably belongs to this genre. Example: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Law & Criminology — Books on the legal system, on laws, criminal justice, and related topics belong in this genre. Example: The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Politics & Social Sciences — Books in this genre discuss politics or issues related to one or more of the social sciences (psychology, sociology, social work, etc.). Example: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Religion & Spirituality — From personal guides to spiritual memoirs to histories, this genre covers religions of all kinds along with spiritual practices. Example: Runes for Beginners by Lisa Chamberlain
  • Education & Teaching — Any book that proposes to teach the reader how to do something — or how to do it better — belongs to this genre. Example: Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution by Zak George and Dina Roth Port
  • Travel — This genre includes travel guides and travel-heavy memoirs. Example: The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet
  • True Crime — These often read like well-crafted crime fiction but are true stories that chronicle real crimes, typically with exacting detail. Examples: If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen

More Related Articles:

17 Things to Write About For Your Next Nonfiction Book

16 Best Self-Publishing Companies For Your Writing Business

How Long Should A Short Story Be?

According to QueryTracker , of all the genres listed above, the top ten most popular fiction genres are the following:

  • Young Adult (YA)
  • Fantasy (including YA and Children’s)
  • Children’s
  • Literary Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Thrillers /Suspense
  • Middle Grade
  • Romance/ Erotica
  • Picture Book

And these are the top ten most popular nonfiction genres:

  • Narrative/Creative Nonfiction)
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Cultural/Social Issues
  • Business/Finance
  • General Nonfiction
  • Health & Fitness

If your book doesn’t belong in one of these top ten lists, don’t worry. Plenty of books that fit into other genres get published every year — traditionally or independently.

These lists indicate the genres most often submitted to literary agents as well as the genres most often requested by them.

If you know your book’s target audience is plenty big enough to justify your investment of time, energy, and other resources, it makes no difference whether your chosen genre is on the most popular list.

Use what you learn with us at AuthorityPub to write, launch, and market your book to bestseller status.

List of Book Genres

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to identify your book’s genre (or genres), how will that influence your decisions regarding cover design, editing, and marketing tactics?

Where will you find more of the kind of readers who will love your book, so you can send them word when it launches?

Maybe you’ve already found some Facebook groups for your genre. Or maybe your reader following on Twitter is steadily growing, thanks to your use of targeted hashtags.

What could you do today to begin marketing your book, so you can whet the appetites of your genre’s biggest fans among your social media connections and email subscribers?

We keep abreast of indie publishing trends and tactics to help writers like you make a good living with their books.

Because it can be done. And if that’s your goal, I’ll do everything I can to help you get there.

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Last updated on Apr 21, 2021

Nonfiction: 24 Genres and Types of Fact-Based Books

Many readers think of nonfiction as a genre in itself. But take a look through your local bookstore and you’ll see dozens of sections devoted to fact-based books, while fiction titles are sorted into just a few broadly defined genres like ‘Fantasy/Sci-Fi’ and ‘General Fiction’!

To give nonfiction books the recognition they deserve and help authors choose the right category for their work, here’s a list of the 24 most common genres of nonfiction along with their identifying features. 

Expository nonfiction

Expository nonfiction aims to inform the reader about its subject —  providing an explanation for it, be it a historical event, natural phenomenon, fashion trend, or anything else. 

1. History 

History books are not to be mistaken with textbooks. Rather than cherry-picking details to be memorized about a person, an event, or an era, these nonfiction titles are more like cross-sections in time. They provide readers with as much of the social and political contexts of events as possible with the use of rich primary and secondary sources, so as to better understand their causes and their legacies. 

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond Tapping into geological, agricultural, and biological evidence, Diamond challenges perception of genetic differences and contextualizes the history of human development using various external, environmental conditions.

Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944 by Anna Reid The Eastern Front of WWII is not as well-discussed as the Western one, though it's just as important. To balance the viewpoints out a little, Anna Reid explores life in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) during one of the longest, costliest, and deadliest military blockades in history. 

Types of Nonfiction | History Books

2. Philosophy 

This is where the big questions get asked. While ‘philosophy’ conjures up the image of impenetrable books written by Nietzche and Confucius for the enjoyment of beard-stroking academics, that isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of this genre! Contemporary authors have taken care to make their writings more accessible without sacrificing depth of analysis.

Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Simon Blackburn An introduction to life’s grandest topics (ethics, freedom, self — all that jazz) as told through the prism of history’s greatest philosophers. Suitable for curious readers who don’t know their Aristotles from their Kants.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor by Donald Robertson The author smuggles in a history of the great philosopher king by presenting it as a self-help guide. By showing his readers how Marcus Aurelius’s beliefs can apply to modern life, Robertson appeals to readers who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a copy of Meditations from the library.

A Grammar of the Multitude by Paolo Virno See how philosophy has evolved in today’s international world through Paolo Virno's perspective. He advocates for the understanding of people as "multitudes" (courtesy of Dutch Enlightenment thinker, Spinoza). It's recommended that readers go into this book with some previous knowledge on classic philosophical paradigms. 

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3. Religion and Spirituality

Books about religion and spirituality can take many forms. Some are theory-based, some are written from personal experience, and some are structured like a self-help book, with the end goal of helping readers find their spiritual home. Oftentimes, each book focuses on a particular belief system — there are even Christian publishers who are solely dedicated to publishing books about their religion. 

📚 Examples 

Waking the Buddha by Clark Strand An interesting cross between a historical research and a personal spiritual exploration, this book details the rise and continued influence of the Soka Gakkai, an international Buddhist organization that works towards egalitarianism and social justice.

The Power of Now by Ekchert Tolle This self-help-style book brings readers closer to spiritual enlightenment by acknowledging how our mind focuses on the past and the future rather than the present. It's the first step on the path toward mindful connection with the joys of the moment. 

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Science books, or  “Science & Maths” books — as Amazon would categorize them — can get quite technical. Most of the time, they’re reporting on scientists’ academic research. And so, science books tend to be well-organized and follow academic conventions like referencing and indexing . But while they sound dry, the intriguing questions that they address can always be presented in ways that keep readers coming. In any case, readers can always choose to scan over the complex mathematical proofs, or authors can put all that into the appendix.  

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking See the concept of time through the logical and characteristically witty eyes of this world-renowned scientist. It doesn’t make for the breeziest read, but it will give readers a very in-depth understanding of this arbitrary but ever-present concept. 

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith Neil deGrasse Tyson takes readers on a tour of the universe's transformations through the years, introducing concepts of moons’ orbits and expanding stars along they way. All of this is a sturdy stepping stone to the complex realm of cosmology. 

Types of Nonfiction | Science Books

5. Popular Science 

Is this type of nonfiction just academic science books but repackaged for laypeople? Why yes indeed. Popular science books take complex research and processes and get rid of most of the jargon, so that your average Joe can pick them up and learn something new about our universe. They’re almost like Vox videos, but that you read instead of watch. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson Bill Bryson isn’t a scientist or an anthropologist, but he’s brought together knowledge from various disciplines to create this digestible, comprehensive exploration of the universe and the human race. 

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Tyson’s expertise as a science communicator shines through with this armchair-expert version of astrophysics, which he claims can be read on noisy buses and trains without much headache. 

6. Politics and Social Sciences 

With the ongoing social and political tumult across the world, there has been a rise in both the reading and writing of this kind of book. Some political and social science books are based more on anecdotal evidence, others are on par with academic papers in terms of depth of research. Either way, they usually pick out a specific feature or structure in society to analyze with a critical eye. 

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson Discover why some nations are stuck in poverty traps with these economists. Using empirical data, they compellingly demonstrate the importance of inclusive institutions in fostering growth. Their writing continues to inspire development theories and strategies worldwide.  

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge It started with a blog post which the author wrote to express her frustration toward the domination of white people in discussions about racism. It became a tour-de-force work on the experiences and realities of deep-rooted racial discrimination in society. 

A book of essays is a collection of themed pieces of writing written by an author, or multiple authors, who often has some sort of authority on or personal experience with the subject matter. While they sound incredibly serious, they don’t require as much research as the types of nonfiction we’ve mentioned above. They’re often quite introspective and personal, like op-ed pieces or magazine articles. In fact, many essay books are made up of articles that were previously published in newspapers or magazines.

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin A collection of articles published in Harper’s Magazine , Partisan Review , and The New Leader , in which Baldwin discusses representations of Black people in the media, as well as his experiences as a Black man in Europe. 

The Good Immigrant , edited by Nikesh Shukla 21 writers of color come together to talk about their lives in the UK, and how they're sometimes made to question their sense of belonging despite being born and raised there. 

Types of Nonfiction | Essay Collections

8. Self-Help 

Out of all the non-fiction genres out there, this is probably the most popular one. The name itself is explanatory: a self-help book provides you with some guidance and actions through which you can solve personal problems. Self-help books can be research-based, or they can be reflective — like an extended blog post. Note, though, that while the latter kind may read somewhat like a memoir in style, if you choose to write a self-help book , you must explicitly advise the reader. 

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell What makes a person successful? Gladwell argues that it’s hardly just luck — even prodigies aren’t guaranteed recognition. Pulling from various examples and sociological studies, he identifies several factors, beyond genetics, that anyone can optimize to boost their chances. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson Sometimes what you need is for someone to give it to you straight. That’s when conversational, hilarious, blog-style books like this become handy. Mark Manson’s self-help book is all about accepting what you’re given and not allowing expectations ruin your happiness. 

9. Business and Economics 

While this a broad category that may include volumes with a journalistic flavor, business books tend to be guides to entrepreneurship and management. It’s a medium for those who've had experience in the workplace or the market to share their tips and tricks (and also a good tool for authors to bag guest-speaking events). In this sense, this kind of book is like self-help, but specifically for entrepreneurs and business managers. 

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz Master the art of financial management through real-life case studies and a four-principle system with which can be applied to any business. It's straightfoward and has enough examples to demonstrate its success. 

The Big Short by Michael Lewis Lewis makes the mess of the financial crisis of 2008 that little bit easier to wrap your head around in this darkly humorous book. He follows the stories of ordinary people who fell victim to the American financial sector, revealing the precariousness of this ever-expanding industry. 

10. Health and Wellness

There's no shortage of health and wellness books out there — what do we care about if not a long and healthy life, right? These books cover many different topics, from diets to sleeping habits, from stress management to dealing with anxiety. Most are written by researchers and doctors, who have the technical knowhow to offer sound insight and advice. 

Lifespan by David Sinclair Drawing from his knowledge as a geneticist, Sinclair gives readers the scoop on the ever-popular topic of aging. He assures us that for a long, healthy, and happy life, we should enjoy our chocolate and wine (in moderation, of course).

This Is Your Brain on Food by Uma Naidoo Food provides more than just nutrients for sustenance and growth — what you eat also impacts your mood and mental health. Dr. Uma Naidoo is a psychiatrist, nutritionist, and a professional chef, so you can trust she knows what she’s talking about. 

Types of Nonfiction | Health and Wellness Books

11. Crafts and Hobbies 

Once upon a time, before Google became the omniscient engine that held the answer to all our questions, people relied on craft books to teach them how to pick up a new hobby. Origami, crochet, calligraphy, gardening — you name it, there’s a book about it. Nowadays, books like these appeal to the audience not solely because of the skills but also the author. Authors are usually someone with an online presence and authority when it comes to the craft, and their book's tone and interior design usually reflect a bit of their personality. 

By Hand by Nicole Miyuki Santo Beautifully designed with plenty of samples with which readers could practice their own calligraphy, Santo’s guide is a meditative exercise book. It’s also a great avenue for her followers on Instagram to come closer to her art by practicing it themselves.  

Alterknit Stitch by Andrea Rangel For knitters who have already nailed down the basics and want to experiment with new patterns, this is the book to get. It demonstrates ways to have fun with this cozy hobby by defying the conventions of knitting. 

12. Travel Guides

Again, the internet seems to have taken over from books when it comes to helping travelers and tourists discover new places. Still, travel guides are a lot more comprehensive, keeping everything you might need to know about budgeting, languages, places to visit (or avoid), and much more, in one place. Ebooks are the perfect format for these guides — they’re easy for travelers to refer to on the go, and they’re not as costly to update to include the latest information. 

The Lonely Planet series This collection has been growing since the 1970s, and it now holds plenty of books with various focuses. There are guides solely on helpful phrases in foreign languages, and then there are regional, country-level, and city guides, all made with contributions from locals. 

The Time Out series While also written by locals, these books focus only on cities (mainly in Europe and the US). As with the magazine of the same name, the content of the books is all about local haunts and hidden shops that tourists may not be aware of. 

13. Cookbooks

Cookbooks make up another type of nonfiction that’s evermore popular, and not just because we’re cooking more and more at home nowadays. They’re increasingly beautiful, and to write a cookbook is to have a vision in mind about what kind of mouth-watering photos (or illustrations!) it would offer alongside easy-to-follow instructions. They also tend to have cohesive themes, i.e. desserts for vegans, at-home experimental fine-dining, or worldly culinary adventures from your kitchen.

In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen Grandmothers from eight different Eastern African countries show readers both hearth and heart through the familial stories associated with their food. Beyond the loving taste of traditional homecooked dishes, readers will also get to learn about life in the villages of Africa. 

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi Israeli-English chef Yotam Ottolenghi is the owner of several branches of restaurants, bakeries and food shops in London, but you can get a taste of his cuisine with this collection of 130 Middle Eastern recipes that can be made within 30 minutes. Who says simple cooking couldn't be adventurous?

Midnight Chicken: & Other Recipes Worth Living For by Ella Risbridger A slightly different take on cookbooks, Midnight Chicken is a manifesto for an joyful life, built on homemade food. Her recipes are simple and homely, just like the illustrations of her book, so that anyone can make them even after a long and tiring day.

Nonfiction Genres | Cookbooks

14. Parenting and Family 

Parenting is anything but easy, and since Supernanny is not always on air, a little help from experts and those who've had experience dealing with children is the next best thing. From understanding with the psychology of young minds to finding the best environments and ways to nurture them, parenting books with sound academic backing provide useful insights and advice to help readers become better guardians and caregivers. 

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham Based on the latest research on brain development and clinical tests, Markham emphasizes the importance of the emotional connection between parent and child in development. When parents understand their own emotions, they can raise their children with empathy, set healthy boundaries, and communicate with clarity. 

Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau Beyond the home, there's a complex world which parents don’t have control of. Annette Lareau sociologically examines the social and political contexts in which children would be exposed to (if they live in America) and how childrearing can be affected by it.

15. Children’s Nonfiction 

 Explaining the world to children, even on a limited scale, can be incredibly difficult, as it’s hard to keep their attention. Luckily, a bit of assistance from an illustrator can do wonders. As a result, many children’s nonfiction books are in the style of picture books and chapter books. Topics covered include short historical accounts and biographies, or stories that explain scientific phenomena and how they are studied. For a more detailed breakdown of children’s nonfiction, check out editor Melissa Stewart’s system of classification .

The Little Leaders series by Vashti Harrison Read about exceptional men and women of various ethnic backgrounds throughout history, and enjoy their adorable portraits in this series. There’s hardly a better way to help children embrace differences than through nonfiction books about diversity such as this.

There Are Bugs Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup Open young minds up to the natural world through this colorful elementary guide to the insect world. Answering questions about where insects live or how they find and store food with engaging drawings, it’s a great educational tool for parents and teachers. 

16. Educational Guides 

Many educational guides as the YA version of nonfiction books. These are targeted at final-year high-schoolers and young college students, with the aim providing them some guidance as they reach that strange age where independence is desperately craved but also a bit scary. Unlike popular YA fiction , this is still definitely a niche, yet, as rising study-with-me YouTubers would show you, there is potential for growth. Other than that, there are also learning guides for older audiences as well. 

The Uni-Verse by Jack Edwards Sharing his experience in preparing for and being at university, Edwards hopes to ensure readers that they, too, could emerge from univeristy happy and successful. From how to take lecture notes to how to get along with your roommates, this guide is full of helpful advice for anyone who’s feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

Beginners by Tom Vanderbilt Education doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom, as Tom Vanderbilt shows us in this call-to-action for life-long learning. As testament to the value of learning as an adult, he tells the stories behind his journey with five skills: playing chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling. 

Types of Nonfiction | Educational Guides

17. Textbooks 

We’ve all had our fair share of poring over these books: each comprehensively puts together information about a specific subject (and sometimes even the subject of teaching itself). The content of textbooks also include questions that stimulate learners, encouraging them to reflect on certain matters. As they are meant to accompany a curriculum, textbooks have to be written with a good overarching grasp of the subject and solid understanding of pedagogy. Given all this work, textbook writers deserve more appreciation than they get!

Oxford’s Very Short Introduction series by Oxford University Press This popular series offers a short and concise introduction to just about every topic out there. Breaking big concepts and lesson outcomes into bitesize definitions, they make great overviews or quick refreshers before an exam.

Letting Go of Literary Whiteness by Carlin Borsheim-Black and Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides This textbook is made not for students but for teachers. Based on experiences and examples from their own classrooms, the authors supply advice, and real-life scenarios in which they apply, on how to be anti-racist in schools. 

18. Language Books 

Language books can be general guides as to how to learn any language, or they can go into the nitty-gritty of a particular language. Some of them aren’t even about learning to use and communicate in a language; instead, they take a dive into the origins and inner workings of these complex systems. Regardless, because of the complexity of the subject, these nonfiction titles require expert knowledge from the part of the author. 

Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher Linguist Guy Deutscher (a perfect name for the profession) makes the case for the connection between language and culture in this volume, opening up a whole new perspective on language learning beyond the practicalities. 

How to Speak Any Language Fluently by Alex Rawlings This book does what it says on the tin: it gives you the tools to pick up any language you want. Rawling's advice is as fun as it is helpful, so everyone can learn their language of choice with extra enjoyment! 

Many of them are memoirs of comedians and talk show hosts, others are written by celebrated essayists and journalists. The celebrity profiles of authors in the genre explains humorous nonfiction's popularity. While form may vary, most of these titles are penned as social commentaries that candidly talk about issues that are often overlooked.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell A witty exploration of the legacies of presidential assassinations in America, which notes how they’ve been used for political and commercial purposes that ridiculously undermine their historical importance. It’s history and politics, but with a healthy dose of sharp humor. 

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh Bill Gates says it’s “funny as hell” , and that’s all the advertising it needs. Taking the unconventional form of meme-worthy comic strips accompanied by texts to provide context, Brosh’s memoir is a candid reflection on both hilarious and bleak moments she's been through. 

Nonfiction Genres | Humor

20. Arts Books

The arts section is a fun mix — to name a few, there are photography collections, art catalogues, books on theory and critique, and volumes that teach artistic endeavors. With nuggets of wisdom from industry experts and often great attention paid to design details these books really are like pieces of artwork themselves. 

The World of Art series by Thames & Hudson This collection offers a variety of art styles and their hallmark pieces from across time and space. You could pick any one of them and feast your eyes on not only the art itself, but the wonderful interior design — courtesy of Adam Hay .

Women Artists by Flavia Frigeri In a now seminal feminist art history text written in the 70s, Linda Nochlin raised a provocative question: “Why have there been no great women artists?” Well, this addition to the Art Essentials series answers the question by showcasing 50 women artists throughout history, proving that the problem lies not in the lack of female artists, but in the failure to give them the recognition they deserve. 

Narrative nonfiction 

While narrative nonfiction books are still factual, they're written in the style of a story. As such a book's chapters have a flow — a story structure , if you will — rather than being systematically organized by topic. 

21. Memoirs and autobiographies

Memoirs and autobiographies are books about the writer’s life. The former covers a shorter time period, focusing on a particularly noteworthy moment, such as experience in a certain industry, or an unconventional childhood. It’s thus often written by younger authors. The latter follows a longer timeline, going through a whole life, like a personal history. As such, while anyone, with or without a public presence, can write a memoir , autobiographies are always penned by well-known figures. Autobiographies are also often used by politicians and activists to share their journey and views.

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym Prodigal violinist Min Kym was the youngest pupil at the Purcell School of Music, though her life wasn't a bed of roses. While struggling with the theft of a 17th-century Stradivarius in her possession (which made national headlines in the UK in 2010), she came to realize with incredible clarity that she had lost much more on the journey to meet the expectations of her teachers, her parents, and the world. And all of it was beautifully recorded in this memoir. 

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa Masaji Ishikawa's life in Japan is just like any ordinary person’s life, but to have gotten there, he’d undergone the challenges of escaping the totalitarian state of North Korea. His experience with this totalitarian state and his subsequent escape makes for a memoir readers can't put down. 

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela The man at the heart of one of the biggest, most publicised international movement against racial discrimination and for political freedom shares his journey from being an activist to his 27 years in prison in this autobiography. 

22. Biographies

Take note, biographies are different from auto biographies in a very crucial way, even though both are basically life stories. While autobiographies are written by authors about themselves , biographies are written by an author about somebody else . If the subject is alive, their consent should be acquired for ethical purposes (though this isn’t always done). A biography could also be penned long after its subject’s death, presented as a history book that’s focused solely on the life and circumstances of one person. Many of these have gone on to inspire award-winning movies and musicals.

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow is truly the master of biographies, and any of his titles would be a great example of his brilliance as a writer and researcher. This Pulitzer Prize winner on America’s founding father is recommended for its nuanced portrait of a legendary figure. Chernow took four years to research and an additional two to complete the manuscript — it was no easy project!

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar Perhaps more famous for its movie adaptation starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, Sylvia Nasar’s biography provides a window into the turbulent life of schizophrenic mathematician and economist John Nash. While it challenged ethical practices by not consulting with Nash even though he was alive, the book was still very well-received. 

23. Travel Literature 

Some call them travelogues, others call them travel memoirs — either way, travel literature books straddle the line between informing on the many cultures of the world and self-reflection. Books that fall into this genre are usually quite poetic and insightful (unlike practical travel guides). They’re all about personal journeys that are meditative and eye-opening, and can be about a specific place or a series of places. 

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bike by Dervla Murphy In 1963, Dervla Murphy kept a daily diary of her trek “across frozen Europe and through Persia and Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and into India.” After the trip, she published the diary and invited readers to join her on this remarkable feat, whether from their couch or as they start their own journey.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson Focusing on the place and not the journey, Bill Bryson documents his “farewell tour” of the UK as he prepared to return to America after almost two decades of living across the pond. Mixing cultural insights with a healthy dose of humor, he wraps his travel notes in social commentary to both satirize and praise the idiosyncrasies of the British. 

24. Journalism

Follow investigative journalists as they uncover ugly truths. Other than doing justice by in-depth and sometimes even dangerous investigations, this type of nonfiction also enthralls readers with the twists and turns of real events and details of actual underground operations, conspiracies, and court dramas, to name a few. 

All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Journalists Woodward and Bernstein's reports in The Washington Post won them a Pulitzer Prize and led to President Nixon’s impeachment. In this book, they recollect the process behind their famous exposé on Watergate.

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow On his trail to investigate Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults, Farrow discovered a systematic mechanism which favors offenders with big pockets and silences the voice of victims. His book is thus an exposé on the journalism industry itself.

Voilà! Those are 24 of the most popular types of nonfiction along with some typical exmaples. And keep in mind that as more and more titles get released, the genres will expand beyond this list. It goes to show how expansive this side of the publishing world can be. If you’re writing , publishing, or marketing a nonfiction book , hopefully this list has clarified the purpose, styles, and formats of each genre so that you can find the perfect fit for your own work.

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Home / Book Publishing / List of Book Genres: 36+ Popular Genres for Writing

List of Book Genres: 36+ Popular Genres for Writing

There are a ton of book genres and subgenres out there. And if you're an indie author, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the genres you plan to write in. Knowing the major tropes and characteristics of your book genre helps ensure that you'll write a story that meets reader expectations.

So whether you want to write a novel or a non-fiction book, we've got you covered with this in-depth list of book genres.

We'll start with fiction and then cover non-fiction genres after that!

  • Fiction book genres and their characteristics
  • Nonfiction book genres and their characteristics
  • How to find the right genres and keywords quickly and easily

Table of contents

Action & adventure.

  • Contemporary
  • Historical Fiction
  • Magical Realism
  • Science Fiction
  • Thriller and Suspense
  • Young Adult
  • Short Story
  • Graphic Novel
  • What is Speculative Fiction?
  • What is Genre Fiction?

Art & Photography

  • Autobiography and Memoirs
  • Crafts and Hobbies
  • Family and Parenting
  • Health and Fitness

Religion & Spirituality

Science & technology.

  • Politics and Social Sciences
  • Genre Research Made Easy

Fiction Book Genres

General fiction genres are numerous. In fact, Amazon has over 14,000 categories to choose from! Luckily, we'll only be going over the major ones in this list. Getting your book in the right genres/categories is an extremely important ingredient for the success of the book . 

Once you have a good idea of the broad genre(s) that are right for your book, you can then use a software like Publisher Rocket to really dig down. Find the right niche for your book and get tons of keywords to use in your marketing campaigns with Publisher Rocket . More on this at the end of the article. For now, let’s explore fiction genres!

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The action and adventure genre is one that overlaps with a lot of other fiction genres, like thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. This genre is known for plot-driven novels in which the protagonist is up against a larger-than-life threat. And the hero (almost) always wins in the end. Everything from swashbuckling stories and race-against-the-clock thrillers can be housed under the action and adventure umbrella.

Average Word Count for Action & Adventure Novels: 80,000 to 110,000.

Children's books cover several subsections that are typically divided by age group. These include‌:

  • Board books – Newborn to three (25 to 200 words)
  • Picture books – Three to eight years old (250 to 750 words)
  • Chapter books – Ages seven to nine (5,000 to 20,000 words)
  • Middle grade books – Eight to twelve years old (20,000 to 60,000 words)

Some even consider young adult novels children's books. But for this article, we have a separate section for the young adult genre. The conventions of these books depend largely on the age range, so it's important to know your audience by knowing which subsection you'll be writing under.

Contemporary fiction doesn't fit neatly into other genres because it usually lacks those things that are common in those genres. Instead of sinister government agents, monsters, or space aliens to contend with, characters in contemporary fiction are up against everyday life in the modern age. Relationships, work conflicts, and professional success are all common issues in these stories, which take place in modern times.

Average Word Count for Contemporary Novels: 70,000 to 90,000.

Dystopian novels bring us a bleak look at the future. Often couched under the larger sci-fi genre, these books explore social and cultural issues, taking them to extremes. The future is dark, but the human spirit often (not always) prevails in these stories. A few well-known examples include 1984 , A Handmaid's Tale , and The Hunger Games .

Average Word Count for Dystopian Novels: 60,000 to 90,000.

Dystopian Writing Tip: You can get really creative with this genre, throwing in elements of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. The most intriguing of these books put forth a unique twist on reasons for the rise of the dystopian society. 

Fantasy is among the most popular genres and is home to many other subgenres such as dark, epic, and heroic fantasy. Magic and non-human creatures often play big parts in the stories of this book genre. Some fantasy novels take place in their own unique worlds with their own rules, while others take the world as we know it and add little bits of magic here and there. The Harry Potter books and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are among the most popular fantasy stories out there.

Average Word Count for Fantasy Novels: 80,000 to 110,000.

Fantasy Writing Tip: Since there’s often a lot to tell the reader about the “rules” of a fantasy world, some writers get bogged down in exposition or world building. And while explaining the world to your reader is important, it’s best to do it piecemeal. Only give the reader what they absolutely must know to understand the action of the story. 

The historical fiction genre takes historical events and locations, interweaving a fictional storyline with them. Some of these stories feature real people on the periphery. Others mix imaginary characters with real historical figures to craft a compelling and entertaining story. Although not a book, Forrest Gump is an excellent example of a historical fiction story.

Average Word Count for Historical Novels: 80,000 to 110,000.

Historical Fiction Writing Tip: Readers will notice inconsistencies in this genre. They want to be transported to a different time, so research is highly important in this genre. As they say, the devil is in the details, and any detail that’s inaccurate or takes the reader out of the story is a devil indeed. That said, you don’t want to bog the story down with details, no matter how accurate. It’s a delicate balance to strike!

Almost everyone has heard of the Master of Horror, Stephen King. He's known for excellent horror writing; inspiring fear and dread in his readers. Whether you do this with monsters, paranormal entities, or run-of-the-mill killers doesn't really matter. What matters is that the tension is there throughout the story, building to a crescendo. Horror is one of the few book genres where readers won't be upset if the book doesn't end happily — provided the story is well-written and compelling.

Average Word Count for Horror Novels: 80,000 to 110,000.

Horror Writing Tip: In most horror stories, the stakes are death. It can be the death of the protagonist, a loved one, the whole town, or the entire planet. Anything less than death may disappoint readers and make the story less interesting. However, the risk of insanity may be a viable alternative when done well. Cosmic horror, from the likes of H. P. Lovecraft and his successors, often features characters teetering on the brink of insanity. 

Books with LGBTQ+ characters in prominent roles can fall under this genre. While some of these books are romances, they don't have to be. They can be action, fantasy, horror — whatever you want to write. But much of the time, these books are filed under the umbrella category of contemporary fiction.

Average Word Count for LGBTQ+ Novels: 60,000 to 110,000.

Literary fiction is characterized by “serious” subject matter that explores the human condition through a character-driven story. Literary fiction books don't fit well into any other genre and are considered more ‌art than entertainment. There may or may not be a story arc, and a happy ending is not guaranteed. In short, there's no standard formula or well-defined reader expectations for literary novels.

Average Word Count for Literary Novels: 80,000 to 120,000.

Like a good fairy tale, the magical realism genre blends our world with magic — often in a matter-of-fact manner. Birthed by writers from Latin America, this genre now enjoys additions from writers from all over the world. The characters in these stories aren't wowed by furniture that moves on its own or animals that talk — it's all presented as normal. These literary devices are often used to critique societal problems like oppression and imperialism.

Average Word Count for Magical Realism Novels: 60,000 to 80,000.

Mystery is a hugely popular genre that overlaps with multiple genres, like crime fiction and cozy mysteries. Most often, it starts with a murder and ends with the protagonist (often a detective) solving the mystery and capturing or vanquishing the murderer. Also called detective fiction, there's certainly a formula and clear reader expectations in this book genre. If you want to learn from the master, pick up any Agatha Christie novel to see what readers are clamoring for.

Average Word Count for Mystery Novels: 70,000 to 100,000.

Mystery Writing Tip: Most mysteries fall under two major categories: whodunit and howcatchem. The first is all about figuring out who did the crime (don’t forget that multiple people can be guilty). The second is about how to catch the criminal and make sure justice is served.  

While horror, fantasy, and romance subgenres can all feature paranormal elements, this genre has certain elements that set it apart. Most often, paranormal books are set in modern times and take place in our world (as opposed to a made-up world, as in fantasy novels). Some stories incorporate paranormal elements as an accepted part of the world, while others feature them as part of a hidden world that the public is unaware of. Most often, these elements include ghosts, magic, vampires, demons, psychics, and telepathy . You’ll often hear this genre called paranormal fantasy or urban fantasy. Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series both provide great examples of paranormal books. 

Average Word Count for Paranormal Novels: 60,000 to 90,000.

Romance is a popular book genre that is known for its voracious readers. There are many subgenres under the romance umbrella, including sweet, steamy, and paranormal romance. While many stories have romantic subplots, books in the romance genre have the romantic relationship as the central plot of the story . This is another genre that has clear reader expectations. Namely, the “happily ever after” ending. The details of how you get there and how much steam you have in the story will depend on the subgenre. Lucy Score and Debbie Macomber are two prolific romance authors to read for guidance.

Average Word Count for Romance Novels: 60,000 to 100,000.

Romance Writing Tip: There are many tropes to choose from in the romance genre. A few of the most popular include: enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, forced proximity, billionaire, fake relationship, and marriage of convenience. Romance readers will expect the story beats common with certain tropes!

Science fiction features stories typically set in the future or in an alternative universe where humans share their reality with strange creatures. Other sci-fi stories don’t have any strange creatures and instead explore technological advances and space expiration. Again, there are many subgenres within science fiction. Hard sci-fi readers want to see technology that's technically possible driving a compelling story. Space opera readers don't care so much about whether the technology is possible. Instead, they want a grand adventure that often involves intergalactic battles and happens in many exotic environs.

Average Word Count for Science Fiction Novels: 80,000 to 110,000.

Science Fiction Writing Tip: Like fantasy, it’s important to limit the amount of exposition or “info dumping” before getting into the conflict of the story. Additionally, an internal conflict readers can identify with is paramount to writing a good story. You can explore lofty ideas, but the conflict and stakes should still be clear so readers can invest in the story.  

Thriller and suspense stories can have a lot in common with mystery novels. However, they can also be very different. What they all share is increasing tension throughout the story, leading to an exciting showdown between protagonist and antagonist. They generally have plot twists at every turn and are more plot-driven than character-driven. Lots of different subgenres are included in thriller and suspense. John Grisham is a master of the legal thriller while James Patterson is known for his suspense novels, just to name a couple.

Average Word Count for Thriller and Suspense Novels: 70,000 to 100,000.

Thriller and Suspense Writing Tip: Since this is a plot-driven genre, you may choose not to have a clear character arc for your protagonist. The most famous example of this type of story can be found in the Jack Reacher novels. Reacher is largely the same at the beginning of each story as he is at the end. His is an external conflict (i.e. seeking justice and/or vengeance), rather than an internal one. And for these types of thriller books, it works well. 

Also known as YA fiction, young adult novels often have characters the same age as the reader group (12 to 18). The journey in these novels typically involves the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult. There are young adult books that also figure into numerous fiction genres, including contemporary, literary, romance, and young adult science fiction. The Fault in Our Stars , The Hunger Games , and The Catcher in the Rye are all examples of young adult novels.

Average Word Count for Young Adult Novels: 45,000 to 80,000.

Some readers just want bite-sized reads instead of entire books. This is where the short story genre comes in. Stories in this genre are usually between 1,000 and 10,00 words and can fit into any of the other categories on this list. Most short stories are sold as themed collections, either written by one author or several. However, you can also write and sell single short stories on Amazon, although the market isn't great unless you're a well-known author already.

Average Word Count for Short Story Collections: 60,000 to 90,000.

Like short stories, graphic novels can also be a part of many other genres. It's the form that's important with these books. They come with artwork, so it's like reading a long comic book. But they don't have to feature superheroes. Just look at the autobiographical Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi or the historical fiction graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore.

Average Word Count for Graphic Novels: 30,000 to 70,000.

In discussions about fiction writing, you may have heard the term speculative fiction. While technically an umbrella genre of sorts, it encompasses many other genres on this list.

In short, speculative fiction is fiction that contains some fantastical elements that don't exist in our world. Often called “what-if” stories, the main genres of speculative fiction include fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and superhero novels. Essentially, it's the opposite of “realistic fiction,” thanks to one or more elements that don't exist or aren't possible in our reality.

Genre fiction is another term that's thrown around at writing conferences and among authors. To complicate things, speculative fiction and genre fiction have a lot of overlap.

Essentially, genre fiction describes novels written to fit the tropes, archetypes, and general structure of a specific genre. This is in contrast to literary and contemporary fiction, where there aren't any clear audience expectations. Well-known genre fiction categories include romance, crime fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, and suspense.

For indie authors, it's much easier to break into the business and see book sales writing genre or speculative fiction than it is writing literary fiction. This is because the audiences in these genres are well defined, making marketing much easier. If you're writing a literary novel, it may be good to find a literary agent who is interested in your novel first.

Nonfiction Genres

Nonfiction genres are often easier to figure out. But, like fiction genres, there can be some significant overlap. Luckily, Amazon allows you to change categories after your book is published if you want to. But before you can do that, you’ll need to know what the best genres are for your nonfiction book !

From books teaching art to those discussing it, this genre has many different kinds of books. Coffee table books showcasing an artist's work fall under this category. You’ll also find things like tattoo books and how-to-draw books in this genre. 

Average Word Count for Art & Photography Books: 5,000 to 100,000.

Autobiographies and memoirs are both written by the author (sometimes with the help of a ghostwriter) but focus on different things. An autobiography will detail the author's life chronologically. A memoir will explore a central theme, often focusing on a specific relationship, time, or event in the author's life.

Average Word Count for Autobiographies and Memoirs: 80,000 to 100,000.

Biographies are like autobiographies but written by someone other than the subject. They're typically about someone famous. The author will present a narrative that reads like a fiction book, but all the details are true and backed by research.

Average Word Count for Biographies: 80,000 to 110,000.

Yes, there are two children’s book sections; one for fiction and one for nonfiction. This nonfiction section is where you’ll find coloring books, activity books, and other nonfiction books aimed at helping children learn and develop. You’ll even find some true stories featuring children in this genre. So if you have an idea about a nonfiction book that will help children of any age learn something about themselves or the world, this is the genre for you.

 Average Word Count for Children’s Nonfiction Books: 500 to 1,500.

Cookbooks are instructional books on how to make food, from barbecue and scrambled eggs to homemade ice cream and fancy meals. Usually, the recipes in a cookbook are bound by a common theme. A few examples include comfort foods, holiday cooking, or Italian recipes.

Average Word Count for Cookbooks: 15,000 to 80,000.

From woodworking to crocheting, the crafts and hobbies genre can help readers get artistic and creative. If you've made a living selling cute magnets on Etsy or you've mastered creating realistic train models from scratch, you could write a book about it and market it under this genre!

Average Word Count for Craft and Hobby Books: 5,000 to 50,000.

No one gives new parents a handbook for raising their children. Luckily, you can find a book in the family and parenting genre that will help. There are books on the best things to do with a newborn baby, and others on how to deal with unruly teenagers. Some books in this section are just general guides on how to be a good parent and nurture the familial relationships. And while many of the authors in this genre are experts, experience does count for a lot. You could share your experiences raising a family by writing a book on this topic!

Average Word Count for Family and Parenting Books: 40,000 to 80,000.

The health and fitness industry is massive, and books are a big part of it. Whether it be a book of healthy eating tips or a body-building bible, you'll find it in this genre. If you’re writing a book on running, cycling, yoga, or just living an overall healthy life, it will fit well in the health and fitness genre.

Average Word Count for Health and Fitness Books: 20,000 to 50,000.

Learning from the past is important to ensuring a better future. And that’s what the history genre is all about. There are seemingly endless topics to write about here. Books about World War II, World History, Ancient Rome, and the Great Depression can all fit comfortably in this section. Biographies of historical figures may also be filed under this genre in addition to the biography genre. Even recent historical topics will go here, like the 2008 financial crisis!  

Average Word Count for History Books: 60,000 to 100,000.

The humor genre includes any nonfiction book whose purpose is to make readers laugh. There are humorous autobiographies from comedians and celebrities, books of jokes, and “bathroom humor” books with silly essays and observations about life. Humorist David Sedaris has several hilarious books in this genre. 

Average Word Count for Humor Books: 15,000 to 50,000.

Whether you're spiritual, religious, or even agnostic, there's bound to be something in this genre for you. Some books you'll find in this genre include those detailing the histories and beliefs of religions, inspiring true stories of faith lost and found, and even books about the beliefs of atheists and agnostics. If you've got something unique or inspiring to say about religion or spiritual beliefs, your writing could fit in well here.

Average Word Count for Religion & Spirituality Books: 40,000 to 70,000.

The exponential advance of technology is hard to keep up with, but you can try with books in this genre. Usually written by authors with advanced degrees or experts in their fields, these nonfiction books can range from simple explanations of physics to in-depth postulations about artificial intelligence — and everything in between.

Average Word Count for Science & Technology Books: 60,000 to 80,000.

The self-help genre is big, encompassing books on how to improve your life or your well-being. From increasing your confidence to changing your ideas about money, there are tons of subjects that fit in this genre. If you have life-changing tips to share with readers that can help them better their lives, write a self-help book!

Average Word Count for Self-Help Books: 40,000 to 80,000.

This genre includes a plethora of choices about complex political systems and the even more complex ways humans interact with each other. You'll find many social science topics in this genre, including psychology, sociology, and social work. Like many other nonfiction genres, the authors who write books about politics and social sciences are usually experts in their fields. So if that’s you, get to writing!

Average Word Count for Politics and Social Sciences Books: 50,000 to 90,000.

If you've done some traveling and have some great stories to tell, or you have some practical tips for fellow adventurers, this could be the genre for your book. You'll also find detailed travel guides in this section. Some of these books read like fiction, while others are packed with information, allowing the reader to pick out information about their city and interests. 

Average Word Count for Travel Books: 25,000 to 70,000.

True crime is one of the most popular nonfiction genres out there. From drug deals to murders to white-collar crime, these books deliver the goods on real-life crime stories, often reading like a thriller or mystery with a clear narrative instead of just a sequence of events. The book Helter Skelter is one of the most famous examples of a true crime novel.   

Average Word Count for True Crime Books: 60,000 to 90,000.

Knowing your genre isn’t just important for the placement of your book in online and physical stores. It’s also a key ingredient in an effective marketing strategy. Placing your book in front of readers who are willing to purchase it is half the battle. Of course, there’s more than one way to do this. You can comb through Amazon or Goodreads, searching for books like yours and writing down their genres and subgenres. Unfortunately, this is time-consuming. 

To solve this problem, we created Publisher Rocket, which combs through Amazon in seconds and presents you with all the information you need — including keywords to use in your marketing campaigns. A few searches on Publisher Rocket, and you can find out which genres are best for your book. You can even use it to find out what categories Amazon puts your book in after you publish it — something you can’t even do on Amazon itself. 

You can learn more about Publisher Rocket here . 

Jason Hamilton

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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50+ Book Genres: Everything You Need to Know

Chris Banks Author

Chris Banks

Book genres hero

Table of Contents

The importance of primary genres, fiction genres, nonfiction genres, multiple genres, choosing the right genre for your book, book genres conclusion.

Selecting the right genre for your book is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your writing journey.

When I first started writing my first book based on my travels in South America, I wasn't sure which genre it fell into. It had elements of adventure, mystery, thriller, and even a touch of romance. After careful consideration, I decided to classify it as a thriller with elements of magical realism.

In fact, as we’ll see, most books straddle multiple genres to some extent, but it’s still important to know what your primary genres will be.

Primary genres

Here are five reasons you should know what your primary genres will be when writing.

They shape reader expectations: Each genre has standard tropes, themes, and conventions that readers expect to see. If you don't deliver on those expectations, readers may be disappointed or confused. Knowing the genre helps you meet those expectations so your book will be more successful.

They focus the story : Different genres have different priorities in terms of plot, character, setting, tone, etc. For example, thrillers focus more on fast-paced plot, while romances center more on relationships.

They inform style and voice: Genres have stylistic differences in terms of language, pacing, description, etc. Your writing style should fit the norms of your chosen genre. These styles help convey different reader experiences.

They impact marketing : Genres signal key information to readers browsing books. Your book will be categorized and marketed based on its genre, so that’s a consideration as you develop ideas. Even if you’re breaking boundaries with your genre, you’ll still need to know who to market it to.

They provide context : Knowing classic examples and current trends in your genre gives you better insight into reader interests and how your work fits into the broader literary landscape.

Choosing my genre not only helped me shape the story in a way that resonated with readers, but it also allowed me to tap into the unique aspects of the genre.

By infusing magical realism into the narrative, I was able to transport readers to the vibrant landscapes of South America and weave in fantastical elements that added depth and intrigue to the story.

Choosing the right genre gave me a clear direction for my writing and helped me connect with a specific audience. Readers who enjoy adventure novels with a touch of magic were drawn to my book.

So, let’s take a look at the most common fiction and nonfiction genres.

Fiction

Action: Action novels are typified by dynamic pacing, exhilarating sequences, and protagonists who often possess physical prowess. They face high-stakes challenges, usually with physical confrontations at the core.

A popular action novel is Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, which takes readers on an adrenaline-fueled journey.

Adventure: Adventure literature takes readers on an exciting journey, often to exotic locations. The heroes embark on quests filled with danger, exploration, and discovery.

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a classic example, featuring an expedition to a plateau inhabited by prehistoric creatures.

Alternate History: Alternate history books explore what might have happened if key historical events had different outcomes. These narratives blend real historical context with imaginative twists.

Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle , which envisions a world where the Axis powers won World War II, is a notable example.

Anthology: Anthologies are collections of short stories, essays, or poems, often by various authors and usually centered around a common theme.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a famous anthology, compiling tales of the iconic detective.

Bildungsroman: The bildungsroman genre focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. Character change is extremely important.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a prime example, depicting the coming-of-age story of Holden Caulfield.

The term comes from German, where "bildung" means "education" or "formation," and "roman" means "novel." This genre often presents a quest for meaning and identity, and frequently involves an internal struggle between the individual and society's expectations.

Children's: Children's literature is written to entertain, educate, and instill moral values in young readers. Stories often involve whimsical elements and easily relatable characters.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a beloved children's book that tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his spider friend Charlotte.

Comedy: Comedy novels are designed to amuse, featuring humor, wit, and often-satirical elements. They may deal with absurd situations or quirky characters.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is a humorous take on the apocalypse, with an angel and demon teaming up to prevent the end of the world.

Commercial Fiction: Commercial fiction is written with mass appeal in mind, focusing on narratives that are easy to read and often genre specific. These books are typically plot driven with wide-reaching themes.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is a successful commercial fiction novel that blends mystery, conspiracy, and history.

Crime: Crime fiction centers on criminal acts, often featuring detectives or amateur sleuths working to solve a mystery.

Examples include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and In the Woods by Tana French.

Drama: Dramatic novels focus on character development and emotional narratives, often dealing with intense, thought-provoking themes.

Notable dramas include The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Dystopian: Dystopian novels present an imagined future society that is dehumanized or frightening, often exploring themes of totalitarian governments or environmental disasters.

1984 by George Orwell and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood are key examples.

Espionage: Espionage novels involve spies and secret agents, with plots revolving around intelligence gathering and covert operations.

Popular examples include Casino Royale by Ian Fleming and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré.

Fairy Tale: Fairy tales are stories featuring magical and fantastical elements, often intended for children but enjoyed by adults as well.

Cinderella and Snow White are classic examples, with contemporary retellings like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

Fantasy: Fantasy novels create worlds where magic and mythical creatures exist.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin are prominent in this genre.

Gothic: Gothic fiction combines horror, romance, and mystery, set against dark, brooding environments.

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë exemplify this genre.

Graphic Novel: Graphic novels tell stories through sequential art, often tackling a wide range of themes from superhero tales to deeply personal narratives.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Maus by Art Spiegelman are notable examples.

Historical Fiction: Historical fiction novels are set in the past, with authors integrating historical facts with fictional characters and events.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel represent this genre.

Horror: Horror fiction aims to scare or unsettle readers, with stories about ghosts, monsters, or other supernatural entities.

The Shining by Stephen King and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson are classic horror novels.

Inspirational: Inspirational fiction often contains stories that offer hope, encourage positive thinking, or convey moral messages.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a well-known inspirational novel.

LGBTQ+: LGBTQ+ fiction includes stories that focus on LGBTQ+ characters and themes, exploring the experiences and relationships of the LGBTQ+ community.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman and Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg are examples.

Literary Fiction: Literary fiction focuses on stylistic prose and complex character development, often addressing serious subjects.

Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Road by Cormac McCarthy are literary works.

Magical Realism: Magical realism blends magical elements with the real world, treating the extraordinary as part of everyday life.

Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude is a seminal work in this genre.

Mystery: Mystery novels involve a crime or puzzle that needs solving, often led by a detective or amateur sleuth.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are quintessential mysteries.

Mythology: Mythological fiction incorporates traditional myths into stories, often reimagining ancient tales.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a modern take on Greek mythology.

Picaresque: Picaresque novels detail the adventures of a roguish but appealing hero, usually in a satirical manner.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a classic example.

Poetry: Poetry books are collections of poems, ranging from traditional forms to free verse, exploring various themes and emotions.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman is a celebrated poetry collection.

Political Fiction: Political fiction explores themes related to politics and power, often reflecting on contemporary or historical events.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegorical and political novella.

Romance: Romance novels focus on love and relationships, with an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. The core of these stories is the romantic relationship between the protagonists.

A classic example is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which delves into matters of marriage, morality, and misconceptions.

Contemporary romance, such as The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, often addresses modern dilemmas and emotional conflicts.

In romantic suspense, the love story is interwoven with a sense of danger, as seen in Nora Roberts' novels.

There are also subgenres like paranormal romance, which include supernatural elements, exemplified by Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.

Historical romances, like those by Julia Quinn, transport readers to bygone eras, while Regency romances specifically capture the manners of early 19th-century England.

Each of these subgenres maintains the essential focus on the romantic relationship, but they offer diverse settings, eras, and tropes, providing a rich variety of narratives within the romance category.

Satire: Satire fiction uses humor, irony, and exaggeration to critique politics, society, or individuals.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut are notable satirical novels.

Science Fiction: Science fiction explores futuristic concepts, advanced technology, space exploration, time travel, and parallel universes.

Dune by Frank Herbert and Neuromancer by William Gibson are iconic in this genre.

Short Story: Short story collections are composed of brief, focused narratives that explore a variety of themes and styles. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri are significant collections.

Southern Gothic: Southern Gothic literature combines Gothic sensibilities with southern settings, often examining social issues and decay.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner are prime examples.

Speculative Fiction: Speculative fiction encompasses genres that imagine worlds different from our own, including fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin is a speculative fiction classic.

Suspense: Suspense novels keep readers on the edge of their seats with tension, excitement, and uncertainty.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is a modern example.

Thriller: Thrillers are characterized by fast-paced, frequent action, and resourceful heroes who must thwart the plans of more powerful enemies.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is a well-known thriller.

Swashbuckler: Swashbuckler novels are action-packed stories that focus on heroic, chivalrous swordsmen engaged in daring adventures.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is a classic swashbuckler tale.

Urban Fantasy: Urban fantasy is set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings, but it incorporates magical elements.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a popular urban fantasy novel.

War: War fiction portrays the realities of war, focusing on the experiences of soldiers and civilians.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque gives a poignant account of World War I.

Western: Western novels are set in the American Old West and are characterized by frontier adventure, outlaws, and lawmen.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is an epic Western novel.

Young Adult: Young adult fiction addresses issues faced by teenagers and young adults, often through coming-of-age stories.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a popular YA novel.

nonfiction

Nonfiction genres encompass a wide range of informative and educational books that delve into various subjects and real-life experiences. These genres provide readers with valuable insights, knowledge, and perspectives on different topics.

In this section, we will explore a diverse selection of nonfiction genres, each with its own purpose and focus.

Biography: Biography books tell the life stories of real individuals, providing readers with a glimpse into their achievements, struggles, and impact on society. These books offer a deep understanding of notable figures, both historical and contemporary.

Examples of biography books include The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Business and Economics: Books in this genre provide insights into the functioning of businesses and economies. They cover topics like leadership, economic theory, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

Well-known books include Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt, which applies economic theory to diverse subjects, and The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, a guide to the philosophy of value investing.

Cookbooks: Cookbooks are collections of recipes and cooking advice, but they often go beyond mere instruction, to explore the history and culture of food. They can provide insight into the regional cuisines of the world, the science of cooking, or the biography of a chef.

Cookbooks can also be personal, with authors sharing their own stories and experiences with food.

Popular cookbooks include Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, which brought French cuisine to the American home cook, and The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, a staple in many kitchens for decades.

Education: This genre delves into the theories and practices of education, instructional methods, and educational policy. It is essential for educators, policymakers, and those interested in the philosophy of education.

Notable works include Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, advocating for a partnership between teacher and student, and The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley, which compares educational systems across the globe.

Health and Wellness: Books in this genre offer advice and knowledge on physical, mental, and emotional health. From nutrition guides to mental health memoirs, these works aim to improve the reader's well-being.

Examples include The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, which discusses the impact of trauma on the body and mind, and How Not to Die by Michael Greger, which provides insights into preventing and reversing disease through diet.

History: History books explore past events, civilizations, and the evolution of societies. They provide an in-depth analysis of significant historical periods and individuals, and their impact on the world.

History books offer a wealth of knowledge and help readers understand the context in which current events unfold.

Notable history books include Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, and A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

Memoir: Memoirs are personal accounts that capture specific moments, experiences, or periods in an author's life. These books allow readers to step into the author's shoes and gain insights into their unique perspectives and journeys.

Memoirs often explore themes of personal growth, overcoming challenges, and self-reflection.

Popular memoirs include Educated by Tara Westover, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Philosophy: Philosophy books explore fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. These works can be both historical, discussing the philosophies of the past, and contemporary, tackling current philosophical debates.

Examples include The Republic by Plato, which explores justice and order within a state, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, offering stoic wisdom and ethical advice.

Political Science: Books in the political science genre examine the theory and practice of politics, political systems, and political behavior. These works often analyze current events and political developments, offering readers insights into the workings of government and international relations.

Renowned political science books include The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, a seminal work on political theory, and The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, which looks at the transition of government power and the importance of federal agencies.

Psychology: Psychology books explore the human mind, behavior, emotions, and mental processes. These books offer insights into various psychological theories, research findings, and practical applications.

Psychology books help readers understand themselves and others better, providing valuable tools for personal growth and interpersonal relationships.

Popular psychology books include Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Religion and Spirituality: This genre covers a broad range of beliefs and practices around the world. It includes sacred texts, theological treatises, and books that explore the personal experience of faith.

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell discusses the role of myth in society, and The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama provides guidance on finding balance and peace in life.

Science: Science books cover a wide range of scientific disciplines, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the natural world, technological advancements, and scientific discoveries.

These books make complex concepts accessible and engage readers with fascinating insights into the wonders of the universe.

Notable science books include A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Self-Help: Self-help books provide guidance, advice, and strategies for personal growth, improvement, and achieving specific goals.

These books offer practical tools, insights, and exercises to help readers overcome challenges, develop new skills, and enhance their well-being.

Notable self-help books include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Social Sciences: Books in social sciences explore aspects of human society, touching upon anthropology, sociology, and human geography. They examine cultural norms, societal structures, and human behavior in a social context.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, for example, looks at the factors that contribute to high levels of success, while Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond investigates the different factors that influenced the development of human societies.

True Crime: True crime books delve into real-life criminal cases, exploring the details of investigations, trials, and the psychology of both criminals and victims.

These books offer a gripping and often chilling look into the dark side of human behavior.

True crime books have gained significant popularity in recent years, with notable examples including In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, and The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

Technology: Technology books explore the current state and the future implications of technology. They discuss how it shapes our society, the ethical dilemmas it presents, and its potential for innovation.

Titles like The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, which tells the story of the digital revolution, and Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, which examines artificial intelligence and its impact on the future of life, are prominent in this genre.

Travel: Travel books take readers on journeys to different destinations, providing vivid descriptions, cultural insights, and personal experiences.

These books inspire wanderlust, broaden horizons, and provide practical travel information and tips. They often combine personal narrative with historical and cultural information to give a rounded view of a destination.

Travel books can range from memoirs and adventure stories to guides and essays.

Notable examples include Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, which chronicles the author's journey across Italy, India, and Indonesia. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a gripping tale of a young man's journey into the Alaskan wilderness. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson humorously details the author's attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.

These genres represent just some examples of the broad field of nonfiction, from the intimate examination of a memoir to the expansive lens of a history book.

Examples of multiple genres

In reality, books often straddle multiple genres, blurring the lines between distinct categories. This hybridization reflects the complexity of themes, settings, and narratives that a single genre cannot encapsulate alone.

For instance:

Historical Fiction and Romance : Many historical novels incorporate a strong romantic plot. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, set against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland, is a prime example. It's both a detailed historical adventure and a deeply romantic story.

Science Fiction and Thriller : Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park combines scientific speculation about cloning dinosaurs with the fast-paced excitement of a thriller as characters struggle to survive in a dangerous theme park.

Fantasy and Mystery : J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, while firmly planted in the fantasy realm with its magic and mythical creatures, often features a central mystery that the characters must solve, akin to detective fiction.

Horror and Psychological Thriller : Stephen King's The Shining melds supernatural horror with the psychological descent of its main character, creating a story that's as much about the human psyche as it is about ghosts.

Young Adult and Dystopian : Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy is aimed at young adults, but it's also a dystopian series, presenting a society fraught with political oppression and social issues.

These examples showcase how authors often combine elements from different genres to enrich their storytelling, create depth, and appeal to broader audiences.

Next, we will delve into the process of choosing the right genre for your book and explore the factors to consider when making this important decision.

Choose the right genre for your book

Selecting the right genre for your book is a crucial decision that can significantly impact its success.

Understanding the genre of your book is essential because each genre has certain expectations and conventions that readers anticipate.

In this section, we will provide guidance on how to choose the most suitable genre for your book and offer tips on experimenting with genre combinations.

Understand your target audience: One of the key factors to consider when selecting a genre is your target audience. Different genres attract different readerships, and it's important to tailor your book to the preferences and interests of your intended audience. For example, if you're writing a romance novel, your target audience will likely be fans of love stories and relationships. Understanding your readership will help you create a book that resonates with them.

Consider your personal interests: While it's crucial to consider your target audience, it's equally important to write in a genre that you're passionate about. Writing a book is a long and challenging process, and your enthusiasm for the genre will keep you motivated throughout. If you have a deep interest in science fiction, for instance, exploring that genre will allow you to tap into your creativity and bring your unique vision to life.

Research market trends: Keeping an eye on market trends can provide valuable insights into what genres are currently popular and in demand. While it's essential to write a book that aligns with your interests, understanding the market can help you position your work strategically and increase its chances of success. By researching market trends, you can identify genres that have a dedicated readership and tailor your book accordingly.

Experiment with genre combinations: Sometimes, the most captivating stories emerge from blending genres. Don't be afraid to experiment with genre combinations to create a unique and compelling narrative. For example, you can blend elements of mystery and fantasy to create an intriguing plot or combine romance and science fiction to explore love in a futuristic setting. Genre combinations can provide fresh and exciting experiences for readers.

Create new subgenres: If you have a story idea that doesn't neatly fit into any existing genre, consider creating a new subgenre. By introducing a fresh perspective or unique elements, you can carve out a niche for your book and attract readers looking for something different. Creating a new subgenre allows you to push the boundaries of traditional genres and offer readers a novel reading experience.

Choosing the right genre for your book is a critical step in its journey. By understanding your target audience, considering your personal interests, researching market trends, experimenting with genre combinations, and even creating new subgenres, you can find the perfect genre that aligns with your vision and resonates with readers.

Remember, writing is a creative endeavor, and exploring different genres can broaden your horizons as an author. So, don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and embark on a genre that excites and challenges you.

If you're writing a book and need assistance with editing and finding inspiration, try ProWritingAid. ProWritingAid is a powerful writing assistant that can help you polish your manuscript and elevate your writing. Visit our homepage to learn more and start your writing journey with confidence.

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How To Use Amazon To Research Book Topics, Keywords, And Genres

Amazon is a great place to start if you want to reverse engineer successful books. You can use it to analyze competition and see what is already selling as well as identify gaps in the market. If you have a particular book idea, you can verify if it's worth writing by whether or not there is an audience for it.

Who wants to write a book and then find out that nobody wants it?

In this article, we will talk about the various methods you can use for your research, including Amazon's own tools.

The first thing you want to do is come up with a book idea. This can be anything from nonfiction to fiction, as long as there is an audience for it. Once you have your topic in mind, it's time to start doing some research.

This is where Amazon comes in handy.

Did you know, you can use Amazon’s autocomplete search to help you come up with book ideas?

How To Use Amazon To Research Book Topics, Keywords, And Genres

How To Use Amazon Auto-Complete To Research Ideas

Using amazon's auto complete to find keywords, competitor research on amazon.

How To Use Amazon Auto-Complete To Research Ideas

Type in a broad topic into the search bar, and Amazon will offer you a list of related keywords. Be sure to select "books/Kindle store" from the drop-down menu, first.

For example, if you type in “parenting,” Amazon will give you a list of subtopics to choose from, such as “parenting books,” “parenting with love and logic", etc. These are all great ideas for books (some have already been written.) as the reason they auto-complete is that people are searching for them.

This presents an opportunity for you. If there is a gap in the market for a book on a particular topic, this is where you come in.

Now you may notice something a bit strange about the screenshot above. Your Amazon search doesn't display those strange bars and numbers, does it?

What if I told you that this was the work of a keyword research tool? It is a simple Google Chrome addon called Keywords Everywhere.

Once you have it installed, simply open a new tab and go to Amazon. The addon will automatically show you the search volume for the keywords on that page.

300/m simply means that the keyword gets an average of 300 searches per month on Amazon! Now, search volume is not always accurate, but, can you imagine finding a keyword with little competition AND getting the number one spot? That is essentially 300 book sales a month!

Not bad, right? How about multiplying that by a few dozen...

I have used this method to grow and scale my publishing business for the past 3 years and it still works. I do not do this manually anymore, however. I use Publisher Rocket , which is a book research and marketing software specifically designed for this.

If you want to get even more specific, you can use Amazon’s search bar autocomplete feature to drill down into a topic.

For example, if you type in “parenting teens,” Amazon will give you a list of specific subtopics so you can niche down to longer-tail, less competitive terms and test the market.

To go even further with this, you can use a method called the 'alphabet soup" and try your desired keyword with each letter of the alphabet to see what is out there. For example:

"parenting a," "parenting b," "parenting c," etc.

Image 1

This can give you some great ideas for books that have not been written yet!

If you want to be really organized, you can use a worksheet to keep track of all of your findings.

You can also use the above method to find keywords for your book. During the submission process, you will have the option to add seven unique keywords to help people find your book.

If you are stuck on what to put, use the autocomplete feature on Amazon's search bar to find keywords related to your topic.

In fact, I highly recommend this. Many people do not know how to choose keywords and then waste an opportunity to optimize their sales page! They choose random things they think are keywords, and nobody is searching for them - this is not the way to do it.

There are a few ways to go about competitor research on Amazon:

At A Glance

Search your desired keyword and look at the number of reviews and ratings a book has. The more reviews and ratings a book has, the more popular it is, and it is usually an indicator of selling well, too.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

How To Use Amazon To Research Book Topics, Keywords, And Genres

Scroll down to the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section and take a look at what books are being recommended. You can use these for topic research and gain insight into what is selling and working well for your competitors.

"Look Inside" Feature

How To Use Amazon To Research Book Topics, Keywords, And Genres

Check out the "Look Inside" feature to get an idea of the table of contents and what the book is about. This can help you get a feel for what sorts of topics are covered and more importantly, not covered. You want to keep logs of common topics and themes while looking for gaps and opportunities.

Check Out The Book Sales Page For Useful Details

Image

If it is non-fiction, look at the release date. If the book was released a long time ago, it is most likely not selling well anymore but may be an opportune time to snatch up some of that traffic with an up-to-date book.

Also, check things like page-count, age, rank etc. All of this information should better inform you and your strategy.

Using Amazon's Bestsellers List

Using Amazon's Bestsellers List

Using Amazon's bestsellers list is a great way to see which topics and genres are already trending and successful.

In the example above, (a Harry Potter book, just in case you were wondering) it has a best sellers rank of 475, which means that only 474 books sell more copies than it!

Keep An Eye On Competitors' Titles And Descriptions

When you find a book that is doing well, take a look at both the title and the description to see if there is anything that you can learn from it. Are they using keywords that you are not?

Are they focusing on a different angle than you are? Even if you don't want to copy their exact approach, you can still use their example to help you fine-tune your own titles and descriptions.

In addition, keep an eye on your competitor's pricing. If they are selling a similar product for less than you are, it may be time to adjust your own prices.

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January 2023

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December 2022

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Online survey

Sample was primarily disseminated via social media and was not random. Data was not weighted by gender, age group, location or any other factors. Some respondents self-identified as "readers"; the bias on the accounts reached skew towards writers, authors, self-identified book lovers, bloggers, online marketers, other artists (musicians, crafters, photographers etc). Based on composition of followers, results skew away from sports-, religion-, scientists/healthcare-, fashion-, food- and travel-themed or focused accounts.

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6 Current Trends In Popular Fiction Genres in 2023 | Writer’s Relief

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6 Current Trends In Popular Fiction Genres | Writer’s Relief

Updated November 2023

In the publishing industry, popular genres change as readers’ interests wax and wane. During these times when so much is still uncertain, how do you know if your novel fits what’s currently trending with literary agents and readers? We don’t recommend following publishing trends and writing solely for the market —you should write in the genre that suits you and your style. But if you’re curious about what’s hot and what’s not (and where your writing stacks up), Writer’s Relief has been tracking the top 6 trends in popular fiction genres.

research book genre

Current Trends In Popular Fiction Genres

Contemporary/realistic fiction: Though issue-driven books, as well as dramatic family sagas, will always be staples of this genre, this is a great time for more lighthearted and comedic books to break out. Now more than ever, readers and agents alike are craving escapism and happier times. If you’ve written a feel-good story, this may be its time to shine!

Science fiction/fantasy: In the past year many readers have wanted to escape current events—and what better way than to get swept up in a fantastic tale? If your world-building is rich and believable, your fantasy novel may be just what agents and readers are looking for. Keep in mind, though, that the fantasy market is increasingly tight, so you should take extra caution to ensure your science fiction or fantasy novel is different from others—for example, we’ve seen so many court fantasies recently (fantasy novels focusing on royalties and kingdoms) that something similar may be a tough sell.

Romance: Romance is consistently one of the best-selling genres. Contemporary and paranormal romances are especially hot right now. Plus, editors and readers are hungry for diverse characters in terms of both race and sexuality—in romance stories that aren’t necessarily about the trauma of their marginalized identity. For example, if you’ve written an authentic LGBTQ+ romance that isn’t about the trauma of coming out, chances are literary agents will be interested in reading more !

Historical: Though agents and editors are extremely selective when it comes to historical, there’s definitely room for these novels in the market—as long as you’re putting a fresh spin on history, or focusing on characters and settings that have been overlooked. We’re also seeing a trend toward more modernized dialogue (thanks in part to popular TV shows like Bridgerton ), even in settings that are otherwise historically accurate.

Paranormal: Recent years may have seen an overload of stories about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and fairies, but these supernatural elements are making a strong comeback! Boost your odds of grabbing a literary agent’s attention by weaving little-known fairy tales or mythology into your paranormal novel.

Suspense/thriller: Whether gritty and action-driven or mysterious and intellectually driven, suspense novels remain popular—readers love solving puzzles! Right now, we’re seeing the biggest jumps among true crime books and cozy mysteries. And just as in the fantasy genre, a suspense series tends to sell well, unlike attempting a series in other genres.

Some Words Of Caution About Chasing Trends

The publishing industry can be fickle, and writing for the market has its downfalls. It’s possible a trend will be played out by the time you finish writing your novel. So if you’re writing about a trendy topic just for the sake of being trendy, it’s likely a good idea to shelve that project and try something that excites you more (maybe with elements of a trend in the background, if that works better for you). Though it’s useful to keep the market in mind, make sure to strike a good balance by following your passion too!

And once you’ve found something you’re passionate about, the research experts at Writer’s Relief can help you on the next leg of your journey—getting published! We can help target the best markets and boost your odds of getting an acceptance or an agent request. Learn more about our services and submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!

In addition to helping clients navigate and submit their work via traditional publishing paths, we also provide affordable and expert self-publishing options. We understand writers and their publishing goals.

Question: What’s your favorite trend in fiction right now?

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    This book provides a rich and accessible account of genre studies by a world-renowned applied linguist.The hardback edition discusses today's research world, its various configurations of genres, and the role of English within the genres. Theoretical and methodological issues are explored, with a special emphasis on various metaphors of genre.

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  9. What Genre Is My Story? Why the Answer Matters

    The genre matters. Genre appears simple on the surface: writing with similar form or characteristics. We're familiar with genres like mystery, romance, horror, and science fiction. But it's more: Genre is a promise to the reader, and more specifically, it's a series of promises.

  10. 100 Best Research Books of All Time (Updated for 2021)

    Genres > Science and Math > Research 100 Best Research Books of All Time We've researched and ranked the best research books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more Featuring recommendations from Reid Hoffman, Malcolm Gladwell, Charles T. Munger, and 551 other experts. 1

  11. Book Genres: 79+ Fiction and Nonfiction Genre Guides

    Romance was the highest earning fiction genre within the 12 month period of 2022, generating $1.44 billion in sales in the USA alone. In terms of fiction market share, books that fell under the umbrella genres of mystery, thriller, and crime accounted for almost a third of fiction's entire sales, coming in at 32% of the total sales across all genres.

  12. What Is My Book Genre? A Guide For Authors

    For them, answering "what is a book genre I love to write" is simple: science fiction, high fantasy and low fantasy, dystopia, adventure etc. If you don't enjoy world building as much as you do characterization, you may want to choose a genre that you can research instead of create. This leads into tip number eight.

  13. How to Research a Book

    Others might use Evernote. Really, the writing software you want to use is based on your preference of documenting subject matter. It could be as simple as detailed notecards or thoughts in a journal. Whatever method you use to research your own work, you'll want to make lists. Do this for everything you need to look up.

  14. 30 Book Genres (List of fiction and nonfiction categories to know)

    December 1, 2023 by Barrie Davenport What's so important about knowing the genres of books? Well, if you're an author with a work in progress, you'll want to know its genre to ensure your ideal readers find and read it. List a science fiction novel as a paranormal romance, for example, and you'll likely end up with a flurry of negative reviews.

  15. Nonfiction: 24 Genres and Types of Fact-Based Books

    1. History History books are not to be mistaken with textbooks. Rather than cherry-picking details to be memorized about a person, an event, or an era, these nonfiction titles are more like cross-sections in time.

  16. Research Genres

    Research Genres is a sequel to John Swales' influential book, Genre Analysis. This new volume opens with an account of today's research world, its many configurations of genres, and the role of English within them. It then explores various theoretical and methodological issues, with a special emphasis on metaphors of genre.

  17. List of Book Genres: 36+ Popular Genres for Writing

    Last updated on December 13th, 2022 There are a ton of book genres and subgenres out there. And if you're an indie author, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the genres you plan to write in. Knowing the major tropes and characteristics of your book genre helps ensure that you'll write a story that meets reader expectations.

  18. The Most Popular Fiction Genres: Definitions and Examples

    1. Mystery / Crime Mystery/Crime novels usually center on a crime that either an amateur or professional detective needs to solve. The story usually starts with the discovery of the crime, and then a pursuit for the identity of the criminal. Readers often enjoy trying to solve the mystery before the main character does.

  19. 50+ Book Genres: Everything You Need to Know

    So, let's take a look at the most common fiction and nonfiction genres. Fiction Genres Action: Action novels are typified by dynamic pacing, exhilarating sequences, and protagonists who often possess physical prowess. They face high-stakes challenges, usually with physical confrontations at the core.

  20. 8 Popular Book Genres: A Guide to Popular Literary Genres

    Popular mystery subgenres include cozy mysteries, true crime novels, whodunnits, scientific mysteries, hardboiled detective stories, and police procedurals. 3. Fantasy and science fiction: Fantasy books often take place in a time period different from our own. They often feature magical creatures, from worldly wizards to murderous zombies.

  21. How To Use Amazon To Research Book Topics, Keywords, And Genres

    How To Use Amazon Auto-Complete To Research Ideas. Type in a broad topic into the search bar, and Amazon will offer you a list of related keywords. Be sure to select "books/Kindle store" from the drop-down menu, first. For example, if you type in "parenting," Amazon will give you a list of subtopics to choose from, such as "parenting ...

  22. Book readers' most read genres U.S. 2022

    Jul 31, 2023. According to the results of a survey held in late 2022, books falling into the history genre were most read by American book readers in that year, with 41 percent of book lovers and ...

  23. 6 Current Trends In Popular Fiction Genres in 2023

    Current Trends In Popular Fiction Genres. Contemporary/realistic fiction: Though issue-driven books, as well as dramatic family sagas, will always be staples of this genre, this is a great time for more lighthearted and comedic books to break out.Now more than ever, readers and agents alike are craving escapism and happier times.

  24. Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series: Recuperating Forgotten Narratives

    Her research and teaching explore questions of race, gender, genre, social politics, and historical memory. ... genre, social politics, and historical memory. She is the author of Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature (University of Virginia Press, 2014), is co-editor with Eve Dunbar of African ...