18 Types of Genres for Books to Choose for Your Next Publication

Choose the right types of genres for books when deciding what to write.

As you consider publishing your book, the first step in the process is choosing a book genre. Not only will the type of book genre impact your overall writing, but it will also direct you on the publication path, helping you find the right publication and marketing platform to draw people to read it.

To help you choose before you start writing, here are 18 popular examples of genres of books to consider.

18 Types of Genres for Books

Types of genres for books to choose for your next publication

DO you picture yourself writing picture books for kids, non-fiction books to help people or horror fiction to entertain? Before you put pen to paper, take a quick look at these popular book genres. 

1. Science Fiction

Sci-fi books explore what could happen in a future world where technology or otherworldly beings are part of life. There are several subgenres here, mixing science fiction books with romance, fantasy or horror. The main idea of sci-fi as a genre is the future and the technology it has.

Example: Dune by Frank Herbert

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  • Herbert, Frank (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

2. Historical Fiction

Historical fiction novels are set in a specific time period in the past. Most of the time, the time period has a big impact on the main character’s life and the plot of the story. The setting is woven into the book and becomes an important focal point.

Example: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind
  • Mitchell, Margaret (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1472 Pages - 05/20/2008 (Publication Date) - Pocket Books (Publisher)

3. Dystopian

Dystopian is a subgenre of science fiction writing, but it has become so popular that it deserves its own category. A dystopian book takes place in the future when some cataclysmic event has destroyed society.

Young adult fiction is growing in demand. This popular genre explores challenges for young people, often transforming into a coming-of-age story. Many different genres can fit within the young adult category, but most of these have a main character who is in their teens or early 20s.

Sometimes, future tech is the antagonist in the story, but other times the dystopian nature of society is harder to spot in the beginning, because the author makes it look like utopia before revealing the deeper problems.

Example: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

The Hunger Games
  • The Hunger Games (Book 1)
  • Suzanne Collins (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 07/03/2010 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

4. Young Adult

Young adult fiction is growing in demand. This popular genre explores challenges for young people, often transforming into a coming-of-age story. Many different genres can fit within the young adult category, but most of these have a main character who is in their teens or early 20s.

Example: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
  • John Green
  • romance
  • Death & Dying
  • Green, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

5. Thriller

A thriller is a book that has a high level of suspense. It also has quite a bit of action and danger. Supernatural thrillers fall into this category.

Example: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series)
  • Larsson, Stieg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/09/2023 (Publication Date) - MacLehose Press. (Publisher)

6. Fairy Tale

Perhaps one of the oldest genres, the fairy tale is a magical story that embraces fantasy. Many classic fairy tales make excellent novels if you can transform one aspect of the story to make it new and engaging. Readers appreciate the predictability and the surprise twist of fractured or reimagined fairy tales.

Example: Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood (Hazel Wood, 1)
  • Albert, Melissa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 03/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Flatiron Books (Publisher)

7. Children’s Book

A children’s book is often a picture book with a story. Designed for young readers, these books need to have a simple yet engaging vocabulary that kids can read on their own. Children’s books should also have an engaging story to make kids want to read.

Example: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Suess

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  • Seuss, Dr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

8. Graphic Novels

Graphic novels or comic books use art as well as writing to tell a story. In these books, the artwork is the primary focus, and each page has a series of images that guide the reader through the action. Graphic novels tend to be gritty and edgy in tone.

Example: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

  • Moore, Alan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 414 Pages - 05/20/2019 (Publication Date) - Dc Comics (Publisher)

9. Mystery Novels

Mystery novels focus on a main character trying to solve some sort of mystery. Many genres of books have mysteries within them, but this particular type of book is distinctive in that the mystery is the main plot focus. The resolution of the mystery doesn’t happen until the very end of the book.

Example: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
  • Christie, Agatha (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 10/10/2017 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

10. Fantasy Novels

Fantasy books take place in a magical or mythical setting, but they don’t have a fairy godmother to save the day like a fairy tale. Magic and mythical creatures are a central part of the story, however.

Example: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Philosopher's Stone
  • Hogwart's
  • Dumbledore
  • Magic
  • School Days

11. Romance Novels

Romance novels look at romantic relationships and how they develop. They often tell the story of how two people came to fall in love. Erotica and historical romance can be subgenres of this type of book. 

Example: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook
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  • Sparks, Nicholas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 06/24/2014 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

12. Memoir

A memoir is a book written by someone about their own life.

Memoirs often focus on one particular aspect of their life, such as a defining moment that puts the person on a particular life path. Memoirs are often written by famous individuals.

Example: Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids: A National Book Award Winner
  • Smith, Patti (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 11/02/2010 (Publication Date) - Ecco (Publisher)

13. True Crime Books

True crime books explore a sensational or shocking crime that happened in real life. This type of non-fiction book often focuses on serial killers and their actions. These are popular books because they delve into the deepest ills of society.

Example: I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  • McNamara, Michelle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 02/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Harper Perennial (Publisher)

14. Self-Help Books

Self-help books give people the information they need to make a change or perform a task. they are often inspirational, but they can also be simple how-to books. They present factual information that people need to learn how to do something new.

Example: Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts
  • Hardcover Book
  • Allen, Jennie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 01/28/2020 (Publication Date) - WaterBrook (Publisher)

15. Biography 

A biography explores the life of a real person. It may be told in narrative form, but it takes the historical events of a person’s life and turns them into a book. 

Example: The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race
  • Hardcover Book
  • Isaacson, Walter (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 03/09/2021 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

16. Business Leadership

Books in the business leadership category help business owners and managers learn how to better lead the people they manage. These books can focus on personality traits that make good leaders, or they can focus on the strategies used to lead in business. 

Example: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie Books)
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie 1998 Paperback New
  • Brand New
  • Officially Licensed
  • Dale Carnegie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

17. Entrepreneurship

Running a business is far different from being in business leadership, and books that target entrepreneurs are in their own category. These books may discuss the ins and outs of running a business, or they may delve into the personality traits that work well for entrepreneurship.

Example: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Horowitz, Ben (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 03/04/2014 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

18. Career Focused 

Some books are specific to professionals in a particular career, such as educators or real estate agents. They talk about the specific aspects of that career that are necessary for success, or they provide tips to become more skilled in the career field.

Example: The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong

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A Final Word on Types of Genres for Books

Literary fiction and non-fiction books come in many forms. If you are interested in publishing your own book, you need to choose from these types of genres for books to find one that fits your reader and your style. 

By taking the time to understand these different book genres and skillfully placing your book in the right genre, you can make your writing more powerful. People will be drawn to your books when they are clearly defined. This, in turn, makes publication and sales more effective.

FAQs on Types of Genres for Books

What are genres for books?

A genre is the category a book or short story falls in based on its setting, plot and writing style.

What are the different genres of books?

Genres include everything from non-fiction biographies to fanciful fiction books. Other popular genres include dystopian novels, young adult fiction, romance novels and self-help books.

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  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.