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Indicate the genre
When an editor opens your book, he/she should be able to tell what your genre is right off the bat. Genre does not have to be established in the first line, but it should be fairly obvious by the end of the first page.
You don’t want to open your story with:
The wagon train left a dust cloud that Shep could see from seven miles away.
when your story is a contemporary thriller.
Use key words to indicate to the editor/reader what genre your novel is. Certain words or phrases are indicative of different genres by tapping associations in a reader’s mind.
“Glock” will usually indicate a suspense or thriller or crime drama.
“Wagon train” will usually indicate a Western or a historical prairie romance.
“Desire” in context will typically clue the reader in to the fact that the story is a romance of some sort.
Another benefit of indicating genre in the first page is that it will reassure the editor that you did your homework and researched what the editor acquires before submitting. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a writer submitting a romance novel to an editor who only acquires mysteries.
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