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The Genre: Why Choosing Your Book's Category Is Crucial to Its Success

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety. (Ephesians 3:10, NLT

A Word For Writers

The Genre: choose one purposefully for your book with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingABook #WritingTips #selfpublishing

Books of the Bible are classified according to their literary genre – a category based on the book’s purpose. Genres in the Bible include:

  • History/Narrative, such as Exodus and the Gospels
  • Law, such as Leviticus and Deuteronomy
  • Poetry, such as The Psalms 
  • Wisdom literature, such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes
  • Letters, such as Paul’s letter to the Romans and Peter’s letters
  • Prophecy/Apocalyptic literature, such as Isaiah and Revelation

When you know a book’s genre, you can gain the most from the book and its purpose. For instance, as you read in Exodus about the history of the Hebrews as they wandered the desert, you learn from their experiences. When you read Psalms, its poetry allows your emotions to flow in worship.

While the literary genres offered in the Bible are generalized, identifying your book’s genre today isn’t so simple - particularly for digital books. Categories are more specialized. Potential readers are shown search results depending upon how you classify your book and choose its keywords.

For instance, if you write a photography book, it may be classified under Photography/Techniques/Darkroom ... or Photography/Forensic … or one of 47 other photography categories, depending upon its content. At last count, Amazon offers 16,000 book categories.

Yet today’s genre overload is an advantage, not a disadvantage, for your book. When you place your book in a specialized category, more interested readers will find it, thanks to keywords and online search tools.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul described the rich variety of spiritual blessings that God has given each of us. The purpose in that variety? To display His wisdom.

Your book is part of God’s great variety. By choosing your book’s genre classification purposefully to reach its intended readers, you help to put God’s creativity on display.

A Wise Word

Choose your book’s genre purposefully.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

Thank you for giving me a message to share. I want to offer my book to the most readers. Direct me to choose its genre classification wisely.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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