We’re Writing Wednesday – Know Your Genre: Nonfiction

Did you know that an estimated 80% of all books published are Nonfiction?  That seems crazy to some of us because it seems that what we really talk about are the fiction titles.

What exactly is Nonfiction?

First and foremost, it is one of the two main categories that divides the written word (fiction and nonfiction).

To narrow it down further, nonfiction is typically considered an essay, memoir, and other narrative forms that are based in factual support, regardless of delivery (straight forward vs. artistic liberties).

Things get even more fuzzy when you’re going through the list to find the world of semi-fiction, nonfiction that places fictional characters into the leading and supporting roles.  

Where do you even start to understand these genres?

To start, if you are going to publish a book or self publish your own book, you’ll get initiated to BISAC codes REAL quick.  BISAC codes are created and adjusted by BISG, Book Industry Study Group.

To see a full grouping and try to figure this out for yourself, visit https://www.bisg.org/bisac-subject-codes

According to BISG, unless your book is a blank book and thus unclassifiable, it will have a subject identifier that it can be assigned.

The very first heading for BISAC falls into nonfiction and it is Antiques & Collectibles.

This is a great category to start with because it’s pretty self explanatory.  Your book is nonfiction, it’s written about the process of identifying, acquiring, and/or collecting the objects, and your book DOES NOT deal with the techniques needed to physically make these items (this would be CRAFTS/HOBBIES).  Your book will then fall in to one main category and 3-4 additional sub categories from one of the below:

ANT000000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / General
ANT001000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Americana
ANT002000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Art
ANT003000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Autographs
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Automobiles see Transportation
ANT005000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Books
ANT006000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Bottles
ANT007000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Buttons & Pins
ANT054000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Canadiana
ANT008000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Care & Restoration
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Cars see Transportation
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Ceramics see Pottery & Ceramics
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / China see Porcelain & China
ANT010000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Clocks & Watches
ANT011000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Coins, Currency & Medals
ANT012000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Comics
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Costume see Textiles & Costume
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Dance see Performing Arts
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Disneyana see Americana
ANT015000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Dolls
ANT053000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Figurines
ANT016000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Firearms & Weapons
ANT017000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Furniture
ANT018000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Glass & Glassware
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Gold see Silver, Gold & Other Metals
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Hummels see Figurines or Popular Culture
ANT021000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Jewelry
ANT022000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Kitchenware
ANT023000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Magazines & Newspapers
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Medals see Coins, Currency & Medals
ANT024000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Military
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Movies see Performing Arts
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Musical Instruments see Performing Arts
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Nautical see Transportation
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Newspapers see Magazines & Newspapers
ANT028000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Non-Sports Cards
ANT029000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Paper Ephemera
ANT025000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Performing Arts
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Pewter see Silver, Gold & Other Metals
ANT031000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Political
ANT052000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Popular Culture
ANT032000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Porcelain & China
ANT033000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Postcards
ANT034000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Posters
ANT035000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Pottery & Ceramics
ANT036000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Radios & Televisions (see alsoPerforming Arts)
ANT037000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Records
ANT038000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Reference
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Restoration see Care & Restoration
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Royalty see Popular Culture
ANT040000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Rugs
ANT041000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Silver, Gold & Other Metals
ANT043000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports (see also headings under Sports Cards)
ANT042000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports Cards / General
ANT042010 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports Cards / Baseball
ANT042020 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports Cards / Basketball
ANT042030 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports Cards / Football
ANT042040 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Sports Cards / Hockey
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Stained Glass see Glass & Glassware
ANT044000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Stamps
ANT045000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Teddy Bears
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Televisions & Television-Related seePerforming Arts or Radios & Televisions
ANT047000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Textiles & Costume
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Theater see Performing Arts
ANT055000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Tobacco-Related
ANT049000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Toy Animals
ANT050000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Toys
ANT009000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Transportation
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Watches see Clocks & Watches
  ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Weapons see Firearms & Weapons
ANT051000 ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Wine

The next category is Architecture.

Like Antiques & Collectibles, it is very straight forward.  It is a category for professional related texts, or, texts aimed to advance the education of professionals.  This does not include texts created to talk about the actual construction and creation, these instead would be under Technology & Engineering, further subdivided into Construction.  Texts written for nonprofessionals would be moved to HOUSE & HOME.  

This category is a great example as we can look at home decorating.  Interior Designers would find industry specific texts under Architecture/Interior Design/General, whereas books written about how to decorate your home, such as those by Martha Stewart or Nate Berkus, would not as they are made for a more general audience.  These titles may use Architecture/Interior Design/General as a secondary code to seek placement in this category for search purposes in libraries, sales catelogues, or keyword searches, but it would not be the primary or recommended selection.

We aren’t putting the full list here for Architecture, but if you want to see it, click on the blue link above and check it out for yourself. 

See how specific this is?  This is pretty easy to understand.  It gets a little hairier as we move into other topics that aren’t quite as straight forward.  In some of the more iffy areas, we will look at each BISAC code individually and we’ll include some pop-quizzes of short synopsis and BISAC options for placement.

What are your big genre related questions?  Leave us a comment and we’ll address them in a future blog.

Cheers and happy Writing Wednesday!

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