From this question:

However, unless you're an established author, you don't have the luxury of declaring your work to be fantasy or science fiction like Fowler does; someone else has to do that for you. That means your editor, publisher, your readership, and/or your peers and critics must declare it fantasy to be so.

I know next to nothing about publishing. After reading this, I am worried about being published in the wrong genre (assuming I ever get published). In my particular case, I am worried about being published under "young adult romance" (rather than "young adult fantasy") since my two main characters are very close, and their relationship can be mistaken as a romance.

Romance is something I want to avoid entirely. Is being published in the wrong genre something I have to worry about, or am I just being paranoid?

2 Answers 2


"Romance" vs. "fantasy" are significantly different genres. You can absolutely have romance in a fantasy and fantasy in a romance, and you can absolutely write a romantic story in a fantasy setting without the book being a "romance." The differences are in the plot and characters.

While I'm not familiar with the subgenre of YA Romance vs. adult Romance, a "romance" book focuses on the relationship. It's the point of the story. Robert Gellis's Fires of Winter is a romance set in medieval England and Scotland. The story is about the two characters coming to fall in love. Robin Hood is set in medieval England and has romance in it, but it's an adventure story because the romance is not the main purpose of the tale.

If your story is not about the romance, it's unlikely to be classified there.


Genre is a marketing tool. Publishers are marketers of books. That is why you seek out a publisher rather than publishing yourself -- because you want the services of someone who knows how to market books.

So if a publisher says your book is in a particular genre, chances are they are right.

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