Episode 99: How to do Genre Research

On June 13, 2020, Kasie and Rex took on the topic of genre and why it matters. Here are the show notes:

Theme for the day

How to Research Your Genre


  • What is genre and why does it matter?
  • How to find yours and make your presence known
  • Research techniques for breaking into and/or building your tribe
  • This was about marketing. Did you miss that part?
Where does your book belong on the bookstore shelf? Better figure that out. Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

Link to the podcast

Segment 1

So we’re officially into our June Patreon membership drive and we’re offering a special deal! Become a Patron in June and get the critique, the 30-minute Zoom chat, the story, and the author interview on our website.

Our patrons also get behind the scenes content and access to our course, Short Story Basics for free. So there’s that.

Okay, so I seriously stole this topic from Sue Weems at this link. But it goes to something we’ve talked about a lot which is that writers write for themselves and authors write for an audience. So if you want to be an author, you have to find your audience. And we mean beyond your friends and family who will support you because they love you, but not necessarily the story.

Your audience is (1) the person who needs your story to help them grow, change, etc. (2) the person who recognizes your story because s/he has lived it or seen it, (3) the person who is entertained by your story — amused, engaged, smiles, loves, feels all the feels, and (4) the person who can advance your story (see also Fan Fiction episode 95).

How do you find these people?

Sometimes they’re shoulder-to-shoulder with you at the rock show, the author signing, the ComiCon. And sometimes they find you on hashtags like our pal, CJ.

You can be intentional about it and this episode is about how to find, join, and woo your audience.

We’re going to go at this by “genre” which is the category in which your art exists. So what is genre and why does it matter?

Our Sue Weems guide on this happy tour says you can ask yourself:

  • What other book / film / tv show is my book like (or most like)?
  • Where would my book fit on the shelf at the bookstore?

And think about the books you have been reading that influenced you and made you want to write. I know I’ve said before how much I loved V.C. Andrews and I didn’t set out to write that, but you know the book you want to read is the one you can’t find on the shelf, and that’s the one you write.

Did you find your people on Goodreads? On Facebook? Where are they?

Segment 2

There’s a cool connection with being part of a world and offering your own work up to that world for appreciation and acceptance. My favorite musicians talk about this. On Raise Your Horns yesterday — Lzzy Hale’s YouTube show on the We Are Hear channel — Chuck Garric talked about being chosen to play with some of the musicians he loved and being known in circles as a journeyman bassist. Musicians are part of their own genre community and we, as writers, have that, too.

The fantasy genre show up sometimes at ComiCons, they pal around together and promote one another. The romance writers do the same, though I’m not sure what conventions they attend that are not writer conventions, so how does that work?

Our friend Mike Long is a western author and he goes to gun shows. Our friends Dana Ridenour and Raegan Teller are mystery authors and the go to law enforcement and mystery conventions. Are you (Rex) going to horror conventions?

How do you find them? Hashtags on Twitter? On Instagram? Do you find your audience online? How?

Segment 3

Genres have conventions and the readers have expectations, we’ve talked about that before. So how do you learn those? You read. Read. Read. Read. Your genre is your neighborhood, your home. You should know about it.

But it’s also your competition, your contemporaries, and you should be aware of what they’re doing so you can compete. Or add to. Advance the genre.

Satisfy your readers. That’s the way an author shows s/he is a professional.

**A belated “we’re sorry!” to our internet listeners at makethepointradio.com who were unable to hear the show today. We now know what was wrong and how to fix it, so we’ll be sure to keep it from happening again. Thanks for being patient with us and check out Facebook for the live video from the long break.**

Want to learn more about Short Story Basics? Click here to get the class.

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