Audience: Age and Genre
Updated: Apr 19
Many authors don't know that publishers will choose what genre and age to market a book to. However, it is still important for you to have an idea going in. Below is a comprehensive list of genres and age ranges - including some of controversy and some of the newest!
Ages are important not only for vocabulary, voice, and maturity - but also for publication. Who the book is for controls how it is designed and marketed. This is only a quick guide but it gives some examples and general ratings.
Board Books (0-3) - Yummy! These books are for little kids to "read" themselves or with parents. They are also classic teething victim. this includes books with titles like Baby Counts, Baby Colors, and At The Farm.
Picture Book (3-8) - Books that are more picture and follow less show, more tell. These include books by Dr. Suess, Eric Carle, Mo Willems, as well as the Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious series.
Easy Readers - Often lumped with Early Chapter books, Easy Readers are designed for kids to read alone, but follow a picture book format. The books often have levels, and higher levels blend into the next category. Examples are Amelia Bedelia and Frog & Toad.
Early Chapter Books - Think ready for complexity but not necessarily ready for maturity or having the attention span. It is likely to be more realistic and have a simple dilema or mystery. Think, Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jansen, Judy Moody, and Junie B. Jones.
Middle Grade - Aimed at older kids and preteens. Deals with coming of age and finding your place in the world. Often the main character is 10-14 years old, slightly older than the target. A contested category in relation to YA, and confused with middle school (grades 6th-8th in much of the U.S.) This includes the early Harry Potter books, Wonder, A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, Series of Unfortunate Events, the Riordanverse, Artemis Fowl, Charlotte's Web, and Roald Dahl's works.
Young Adult - Aimed at highschoolers and some middle schoolers. This group is often contested because it can range from mildly graphic and intense to not at all. Sometimes called Teen. This includes the later Harry Potter and Riordanverse books, as well as the Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, The Book Thief.
New Adult - A relatively new genre aimed at late teens into 30s. Protagonists are generally 16 into 20s. Sometimes called Young Adult (while YA is called Teen.) This includes A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Fangirl, Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Claire books, If I Stay, as well as Red, White & Royal Blue.
Adult - Aimed at readers over 18+ but has started to shift into late 20s or later. This can be either extremely graphic or extremely mild - it all depends on the genre from here. It can be Fifty Shades of Grey and The Handmaid's Tale to Nora Roberts, James Paterson, and Danielle Steel.
Because definitions of age have changed and audiences have broadened, much of classic literature is not so easily categorized.
Note: Early Chapter - Middle Grade - Teen - YA - New Adult
These can be very confusing because they shift with time and opinion. Right now YA is describing books that tackle themes a bit darker than true YA. At the same time, Early Chapter may overlap with Middle Grade. New Adult and Teen are less traditional categories and newer. It is important to remember that it is all highly subjective. (Also, some books may have the maturity level of the book adjusted to better fit a different audience.)
For these, I tried to use as few words as possible because genre can be very broad or very niche. There are easily a trillion genres - but here are the top categories.
Nonfiction - Happened, mostly.
Biography - Real person's life.
Autobiography - Dido, authored by subject.
Memoir - Dido, mostly-true possibly-embellished.
Fiction - Any story that has not actually happened (probably.)
Literary Fiction - Quality writing.
Historical Fiction - Didn't happen, but could have.
Fantasy - Magic or Royals.
Science Fiction - Science-y Explanations.
Horror - Is really scary.
Mystery - Puzzle.
Thriller/Suspense - Action with Scary-Lite or Mystery.
Comedy - Is Funny.
Romance - Love and Conflict.
Women’s Fiction - Being female is hard.
Chick-Lit - Being female is great.
I hope this quick guide helps you, informs you, and maybe gave you a good laugh.
Don't forget to come to Singularity Press for your editing needs. #GetEdited.
These two links that I used for reference and that have more information.
It has been just over two weeks since I initially made this post. I was playing around with ChatGPT and realized that I would love to hear its take. Here are the answers.
Describe book age ranges in six words or less
Sure, here are brief descriptions of common book age ranges in six words or less:
Board Books - "Baby's first books with pictures."
Picture Books - "Illustrated stories for young children."
Early Readers - "Simple, easy-to-read books for beginners."
Middle Grade - "Chapter books for elementary students."
Young Adult - "Stories for teen and young adult readers."
Adult - "Books written for a mature audience."
Define book genres in six words
Sure, here are some brief definitions of common book genres in six words:
Romance - "Love stories, heartwarming and passionate."
Mystery - "Puzzles, clues, and suspenseful investigations."
Science Fiction - "Imaginative stories with futuristic technologies."
Horror - "Terrifying tales of the supernatural world."
Fantasy - "Magical worlds, creatures, and adventures."
Biography - "Life stories of famous people."
Historical Fiction - "Fictional stories set in historical contexts."
Dystopian - "Fictional societies in grim futures."
Thriller - "Fast-paced, suspenseful stories with danger."
Just thought I would share. Have a great day.