The Genre Pie – Feeding Readers More Information

How many readers and writers have been asked which genre a book fits into? Lots, huh? And how many struggle to find just one genre? Just as many? Yes, I’m not surprised.

For example, “Well, this book is kind of young adult, mystery, with a bit of romance set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world with lots of historical references, so all of those!”

How many of them like food? Same or more?

Well here’s something we can feed them that will keep them all happy: The Genre Pie!

The Genre Pie

The Genre Pie

Books should not be squeezed uncomfortably into one genre, destined to live out their lonely lives with only their own stable-mates to keep them company. They should be free to roam and explorer many different areas. And like attendees at a convention who have name tags to help with introductions, all books should carry a Genre Pie Chart to indicate which three, four or fifteen genres this book falls into, giving potential readers far more to work with when deciding on a purchase.

Would this help everyone?

Of course the chart is a very rough estimate by the author and completely over-ridden by the publisher’s marketing department. It can still be categorised on a physical shelf in the main genre but at least readers can see what other feels the book produces.

Someone might like YA but not romance. Maybe historical YA crime solving might be someone’s cup of tea. These features could be seen at a glance and make it easier for readers to choose. Or they can go and eat some pie, their choice.

I think this might catch on. Off to the patent office now… 😉

11 thoughts on “The Genre Pie – Feeding Readers More Information

  1. Joe Owens

    The current WIP I have is strong in the YA and mystery, with another strong weight in romance. That is the only three I will explore because I could, as you point out drive it farther into the pie.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Joe. We can add as many slices to the pie as we like but there’s obviously a line between useful and ridiculous! I’d suggest 3 or 4 would be the max. I often feel one is not enough.

      1. Joe Owens

        Yes, i would agree as it could easily be marginalized in a highly competitive genre segment. By choosing 3 or 4 you can highlight the specific strengths of the book to allow it to stand out.

  2. Nicola Higgins

    I agree that books should be listed under more than one genre, but I do not think that a pie chart is the right way to display the information.

    In a pie chart, when one segment grows, at least one of the others must shrink. Is a book any less of a Romance just because it’s set in space? Does the fact that a book is written for the YA market make it any less of a thriller?

    I think a bar chart would be a better method – then each genre can be represented without impacting on the others.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      It’s all about proportions. Without putting arbitrary numbers against a bar chart, increasing the value of one genre will still impact the relative values of the others. Comparied the one that increased all the others will have decreased in comarison. Same as a Pie chart.
      Maybe if you didn’t want to express the strengths of each genre as a percentage of the whole book rather than as relative values, a bar chart might be better.

  3. jmmcdowell

    I’m all for it. Nothing I write seems to fit a single genre, and I see a number of fellow bloggers making similar statements. As a reader, I’d like to have a feel for what all is in the book.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Same here. I have one that could be YA, NA, memoir, action, religious, supernatural, mystery. Not really sure yet which is dominant, partly because it isn’t finished!


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