This past week I planned to write - and then did everything in my power not to write - my query for Weaver. Aside from the usual boil your book down to 250 words (or whatever word count) panic attacks, I hit a block on the genre.
When I write, I don't really think "Today I'm going to write a Historical Fantasy with Romantic elements". Generally, I think "I'm going to write a story and it's going to be weird." Because weird is what comes out 95% of the time. If it doesn't come out weird, it's a nice little surprise.
But I digress...
It's important to have a sense of genre at some point in the process. Whether you're trying to publish traditionally, or independently, you need to be able to put a label on your baby. Agents want it so they know whether it's something they actually represent, publishers want it so they know how to market it, and readers want it because they want to know what they're getting themselves into. Even if you're planning on self publishing, YOU want to genre-fy your story so that readers can find you on Amazon or Smashwords, or where ever. Situate yourself near books that have similar elements and you have a better chance of readers discovering and enjoying your story. Situate your Western in the Fantasy section, and you'll get one star reviews simply because the reader was expecting cowboys and got unicorns, no matter how good the book is.
You have eight basic genres to choose from:
Ok, easy enough. Yet under each genre are unlimited possibilities of sub-genres. Often genres blend together.
In the end I did went to my good friend, Google, for help. I came up with this list from Writers Digest, went down the rabbit hole that is Wikipedia, and found this flowchart. In the end I went with plain old Fantasy, since that seems to be the best, easiest match for now.
Now I just have to find some other writers/books to compare mine to, so that I can narrow down what sort of Fantasy I'm selling here.