When I talk to writers at Writers’ & Artists’ conferences, a lot of them tell me that they find it difficult pitching their books because they have trouble knowing what genre their writing falls under.
The word ‘genre’ is a French word derived from the Latin word genus which implies “type or sort”. It is used as a way of categorising or identifying a certain kind of book and therefore makes it easy for readers to know what to expect. In literature there are tons of genres, and it can really help your pitch if you can describe to an agent the genre you are writing and the readers your book may appeal to.
Some writers simply say to me that their book cannot be categorised into a specific genre, and this can definitely be the case with literary fiction which can be impossible to pin down, turning certain genres on their head. I remember the only way I could describe an accessible literary novel I was selling was ‘genre-bending’.
There is a very useful feature by the children’s author Malorie Blackman on the Writers’ & Artists’ website. She looks at different genres of children’s books to help writers define their own work or even help writers decide what kind of story they should write: genre list for children’s fiction
For adult fiction, I think the List of literary genres on Wikipedia is really helpful.
C.J. Daugherty’s début, NIGHT SCHOOL, was published with great excitement by Oetinger in Germany at the end of July 2012. Rapidly selling 17,000 copies in the first three days of sales, it has already shot straight into the extended Spiegel Bestseller list. Whilst reading NIGHT SCHOOL, we are constantly made to ask ourselves: ‘Who can you trust when no one seems to be telling the truth?’ Oetinger’s campaign to acquire the German rights started with two simple words ‘TRUST US’. They competed in a seven-way auction and won the German rights for the first two books of the series in a significant six figure deal. Following this impressive start, Oetinger gave the book a phenomenal launch, which you can see in this fantastic German website dedicated to the entire NIGHT SCHOOL series.
As well as offering readers tons of exclusive material, including Cimmeria Academy’s ground maps as well as NIGHT SCHOOL themed wallpaper, extra chapters, e-cards and a facebook group, Oetinger created a gripping trailer which has already notched up thousands of views on YouTube:
Atom, an imprint of Little, Brown, published NIGHT SCHOOL in the UK in January 2012, and so far it has been the third YA bestselling début of the year. NIGHT SCHOOL was the biggest YA crime & thriller at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, selling into 20 different territories. It has also been published in France and Spain to great critical acclaim, and most of the other 18 foreign publishers are publishing in their languages this autumn. We are also awaiting eagerly the US edition which Katherine Tegen, an imprint of HarperCollins US, will be publishing in the summer of 2013.
C.J. Daugherty has been delighted with the German success: “WOW! 🙂 I’m so thrilled and excited that German readers are responding to Night School and relating to its characters, and to the setting in an English boarding school. I’ve also been blown away by how innovative and fun Oetinger’s work has been spreading the word about the series to new readers. They’ve made it a beautiful, collectable series. I’m so grateful to everyone involved!”
NIGHT SCHOOL is a five-book psychological thriller series, set entirely at a boarding school in the English countryside. Allie Sheridan is a troubled middle-class girl sent away to Cimmeria Academy, which she believes is just a posh reform school. She couldn’t be more wrong. These students are participating in secret night school activities. Suddenly it seems clear that nobody has ever told Allie the truth about anything…
NIGHT SCHOOL appeals to both adults and young adults. Follow these links to purchase the UK edition of NIGHT SCHOOL or the Kindle edition.