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There are differing opinions on how early in the writing process you need to determine the genre in which your book fits. Genres include categories such as Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, etc. Knowing your primary genre category early on can help inform some of your storytelling choices. Most importantly, though, the genre will determine where your book will be placed on bookstore shelves. When author and writing instructor Christina Hoag was working on her first book she thought it would fit in the Young Adult genre. Some of her final content was for a more mature audience, so she ended up changing the age of the protagonist to fit an older audience. This challenged her agent to figure out where this revised version fit in regards to genre. Hoag advises writers to have a clear vision of where a book fits, even if it crosses over multiple genres, such as Romance and Fantasy. Book marketers need to know how to pitch it, book buyers need to know where to place it, and readers need to know where to find it.
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