Are There Rules for Writing Books? Part II – March 9, 2020

In a way, this is a follow-up to the last post, Are There Rules for Writing Books? Part I – March 8, 2020, as it covers genre and sub-genre again. In addition to the above post where genre and sub -genre dictate how long a book should be, this one takes it to the next two steps. First, make sure your book is listed in the right genre. The link above had a link to: This is not going to be a daily series and will appear when I think of something that falls in this category.

Part of why I stress picking a genre will be a huge factor in driving sales and connecting readers with a work they will LOVE. We need to make certain we have slotted our product correctly because 1) we want readers to FIND our work and also 2) readers can be very unforgiving with reviews.

As an example, writers often make the mistake of putting their books for sale in the incorrect spot. One of the most common oopses I’ve seen is writers believing they have a Romance, when in fact they have a Women’s Fiction or a General Fiction. Romance has rules and expectations.
As I said in my earlier post, there are rules for writing. Ignore them at your peril. Using the Romance category as an example, most readers want a Happily Ever After (HEA) or Happy For Now (HFN) ending. Put it in a different ending is going to alienate most of your potential readers. There is a very small niche Romance market for dark endings.
Next, learn the rules for your genre or sub-genre. There are plenty of websites and blogs that give great advice on what rules you should follow for different genres and what may happen if you don’t follow them. This was one of the first ones I found in a search of my least favorite search engine: Here’s an article on how to break the rules –, but it comes with a fair number of warnings about what can happen if you break genre rules.
I said this in my earlier post, but it bears repeating:
If you want to know what rules apply to the genre you plan on writing, you should pick up some of the best selling authors in your genre. I wouldn’t necessarily go with the big names in your genre as they can frequently get away with breaking some rules that you as a newbie won’t be allowed to break.
I remember a Stephen King interview where he was under contract, but his traditional publisher wanted him to cut out a hefty chunk of a book he asked them to publish. He refused. After the contract ended, he found a different publisher who was happy to publish the book at the length King wanted. Is that going to happen for a new author? Very unlikely. If you go self-published, you can try breaking the rules for your genre, but don’t expect large book sales if you do.

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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