Categorizing your book is one of the biggest challenges you may face when you try to get your book published. Whether you place your book with an agent or publisher or you publish the book yourself, to ensure its success it is essential that you are able to correctly categorize it.
While categorizing, you will find what you have written fitting into any one of the following nine categories: trade, professional, scholarly and university press book, college text book, elementary high school text book, juvenile book, mass market paperback, subscription reference book and religious book. You can rightly categorize your book if you are conversant with the general parameters for each category. Read on for details.
Trade book: Books that are written for the general reader having fictional or non-fictional content are placed in this category. They are known as trade books because their distribution is targeted through retail store sales, rather than through book clubs, mail order or premium sales. Fictional trade books include romantic novels, thrillers and literary novels. Trade books that are non-fictional would be bibliographies, self help books, how to or DIY books etc. In short, anything that is sold through retail stores with a typical trade discount.
Professional books: These are books that are written for members of a specific profession and would include law books, books on professional training, books of regulations, medical books, etc.
Scholarly and University press books: These books are usually written by teaching faculty of educational institutions and are not aimed at members of any specific profession. They are based on scholarly research on specialized topics.
College textbooks: College books concentrate on teaching a subject and not just reviewing information. They are written in sophisticated language for advanced level students.
Elementary High School textbooks: These textbooks are meant for teens and younger children who are learning a subject area for the very first time. Written using a fairly simple language, they include a lot of illustrations, graphics and examples.
Juvenile books: This is one category of books that would include everything used for light reading by children or teens. Picture books for toddlers and novels for young adults all would fit into this category.
Mass market paperbacks: These are small paperback novels sold at book stores and discount and grocery stores as well. These are usually paperback versions of books that were already successful in hardcover.
Subscription reference books: These are books containing sensitive reference information and need to be updated and replaced annually. One good example of such a book is the Physician’s Desk Reference.
Religious books: All books on any religious subject would be covered under this category and would include books on Islamic studies, Bible studies, Judaism and other spiritual books.
Knowing how to categorize your book increases the chances of your book’s commercial success by letting you target it to the right audience.