Writer's Digest

FIND YOUR NICHE IN CRIME

CATEGORIZING YOUR STORY ACCURATELY IS A KEY TO SUCCESS

According to Publishers Weekly, more people read crime fiction than any other fiction genre—by far. For those of us who write crime fiction, that’s great news. However, to capitalize on the opportunity, you need to know where your work fits within the umbrella term “crime fiction.”

Crime fiction, itself a subgenre of popular fiction, features a dozen or more sub-subgenres, each of which comes with its own set of conventions based on reader expectations. To add to the complexity, there are subsub-subgenres, too. For instance, consider thrillers, one of crime fiction’s most popular subgenres. Under the category heading “thrillers,” you’ll find legal thrillers, medical thrillers, political thrillers, domestic thrillers, and so on. Readers of legal thrillers bring a set of specific expectations, and those expectations differ from the ones embraced by fans of medical thrillers or political thrillers, to say nothing of the expectations readers of romantic suspense or noir bring to the table.

Properly categorizing your work is a key to successful writing, pitching, and marketing. Readers often enjoy more than

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