{DISCUSSION} Sub-Genre Abyss

How many sub-genres can a book have?

So… for those of you who haven’t noticed (or read like… any of my posts), you may not know that I happen to be a perfectionist… and a clutter freak… and like…. super freaking organized. How is this relevant, you ask? Well, let me tell you! 😃

It means that I NEVER know how I want to organize stuff on my blog: namely my book reviews.

If you haven’t noticed, I don’t just have a list of books I’ve reviewed. Oh no, no! I have THREE! Yup, three separate, fully-formed, completely updated lists of the books I’ve reviewed. 😶

Um… why?

I’m glad you asked! Bahahaha! 😂 I have three separate lists because, when I looked at how people organize their book review lists on their blogs, I saw a bunch of different options! You could sort them by rating. You could sort them by title. You could sort them by genre. You could sort them by publication year. Or perhaps by author!


And I happen to be a rather indecisive person. (It may be a female thing as I know many females who, too, are indecisive, but I digress.) I didn’t want to pick just one option because I didn’t know which one would be best for my readers. How would they want to find my book reviews? What would be easiest for them to look at?

I just didn’t freakin‘ know!

So, I was stuck at a cross-roads. And my inability to commit to one particular option led me to three: by genre (then author), by rating, and by title. This way everyone was happy. 😊 And all forms of sorting-minds could be appeased on my blog.


As I began to read and review more novels and broaden my horizons, I noticed a rather particularly nasty concept that has taken the reading world by storm…


Oh. My. Goodness. These silly little inventions are the epitome of my struggles in life. (okay. perhaps that’s a bit dramatic. 😜) But they are an absolute nightmare to deal with. Not that you would think so.

You’d think a book would have an age group: YA/adult/MG/etc. Then it has a genre: Contemporary/Scifi/Horror/Fantasy/Etc. And then perhaps a sub-genre: Dystopian/Paranormal/High Fantasy/Etc. And by following this normal pattern, publishers lure you into a sense of calm, comforting, vulnerability.


*clears throat*  Ahem. I apologize for my unseemly outburst.

What I mean to say is that there is not just ONE genre or sub-genre anymore. Oh no! Books now have cross-over appeal. They’re now blended crockpots of a handful of sub-genres. They’ve morphed into freakin’ hybrid monsters with their desire being to drive book-catalogers insane!


It is because of this catastrophe of a marketing tool that I’m now entirely flummoxed as to how to appropriately organize my ‘book reviews by genre’ page. I mean… Is something dystopian or is it steampunk? Is it paranormal or is it gothic? If it has elements of multiple sub-genres, how do you pick one?!

 No! Seriously! How do you pick?! Because I have no flabber-gasting idea! *throws arms in the air*

Thus I have reached a point where I would like to re-organize my ‘book reviews by genre’ page to better differentiate these novels into appropriate categories. However, I don’t know what category to put them. How does one decide? It’s not like Goodreads is any help given that those people put them into a gazillion different sub-genres. 💀

But what do you think about sub-genres?
How many is too many?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:


17 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Sub-Genre Abyss”

  1. Don’t get flummoxed! Just don’t buy into their marketing gimmicks. Use top-level genres to keep it simple, or the primary genre if they are “cross-overs”. Or just rank them from terrible to great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But are they really marketing gimmicks? I think the books really are becoming a hodge-podge of multiple genres. It’s like… you have to fit into every niche nowadays, which is absurd. It will ruin the ability to market them because they’ll be so convoluted.

      And sometimes it’s near impossible to determine which is the primary genre because they have such a blend between the two. sigh Can never win. :p


      1. Media & art have had genre-crossing works for decades. If you look back at old pulp magazines and books there were scifi/horror and detective mystery/scifi stories and horror/romance. It’s just books were “books”, and stories were “stories”. These days, I think marketing companies create all these sub genres because everything has to be “personal” or a “custom, individualized experience.” so they try to narrow things down for readers to feel like they’ve got something special. For example, I saw a book labeled “CliFi” yesterday. Had no clue, so I googled it. It’s just science fiction that is about climate change, but that’s apparently a “genre” now. Even though that’s been a fairly well worn story setting for decades now.

        /rant 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. OK here is my two cents. First too many sub genre and I’m lost! I chose to differentiate adult from YA as I review both but don’t want to hurt young people’s feelings if they happen to read some “mature” review (read “too steamy”). Then I chose to differentiate between contemporary and the “rest” (sci-fi, distopian, fantasy..) under “Fantasy” as people sometimes want to read only contemporary or… and that’s it!
    I created categories from these genre with 5, 4 or 3 stars reviews and what I call “My little gems”.

    I like to keep things simple in general 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. That is quite a simplistic way to categorize books, but that’s a good way to do it. First off, it makes your style unique and easy to follow. Second, you don’t have to spend copious amounts of time trying to decide which genre to put something in (times when I reference Goodreads :p ).

      Though, I feel it’s necessary to always differentiate adult from YA because that’s not a genre. It’s the intended age-group for the novel based on what voice of the narrator and the events that occur in the novel.

      Do not you do 1 or 2 star reviews? I’m curious. 🙂


  3. I share your pain. This is why I decided to treat genres as tags, rather than categories, other than the basic “science fiction”, “fantasy”, “horror/thriller”, and “realistic fiction”. I feel like the title of the book, or series that contains the book, and the author, should be enough for people to find what they’re looking for, and ratings is a nice option for those who want to see how you rank your books, but beyond that, tags, cause otherwise I would probably go nuts.
    Of course I’ve also found that for the most part people aren’t browsing very much. In my experience most simply go to the main page and look at the last few posts, sometimes going back further, but rarely using features like this to seek out something specific.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. I had wondered about how many people actually scan through those lists and what not. Though, I imagine they come in handy when someone is looking for a specific review as I have referenced a few when commenting on other blogs, as we’ve read the same book. Or, of course, there’s always the search function. Bahahaha! So then I just like to keep the lists for myself. Like if I ever need to reference back to something, or grab a link, it’s right where I want it to be and can snag it. 🙂

      I can understand staying to main genres. Though, I also run into newer genres where I’m like… are you a sub-genre or a new genre? Like fairytale retellings. Some list those books as fantasy, but there have been scifi fairytale retellings. So, it’s like… are fairytale retellings a sub-genre or a genre all on their own? I just don’t know! sigh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. YES. OMG. YES. If left alone with too much time on my hands I could organize until I die. I finally had to force myself to just be okay with how my blog is set up because if I didn’t I’d go crazy. And YES sub-genres are the death of me! When I review a book I like to include its age group, genre, and maybe sub-genre to help the reader get a clear idea of what type of book it is I’m reviewing. But sometimes I feel like I have to list a hundred different genres because the cross-over fad is getting out of hand! At least it feels that way to me seeing as I’d rather a book have a nice tidy distinct genre/category haha 😅 Oh sub-genres, I love you and hate you at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! I know the feeling. I’ve been itching to re-organize my blog, but I’m like… No! I just did that recently. You can’t do it again already. Stop it! :p So… I’m waiting until my blog-o-versary. That’s a good time to do things. hee hee!

      Right?! I swear! I go to Goodreads to confirm my genre choice and see that readers have put it in like EVERY genre and EVERY sub-genre and I’m just like… well, that’s not helpful. Or worse! The most popular genre is NOT the genre I would’ve picked for the book and then I’m just left like: “Well… am I wrong? Or will people look for it in the wrong place?” It’s so difficult.

      And truly! This cross-genre idea is getting out of hand. Not every book can appeal to everyone. Trying to mash up every genre possible is only going to back fire because there will be die-hard genre fans who want nothing to do with certain aspects of the book. If it works, great, but they need to stop forcing it like it’s the new big thing. It ain’t.

      Liked by 1 person

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