Using NoveList's Story Elements

Your secret to better conversations with readers.


The Secret Language of Books: A Guide

Many different aspects of a book may catch your attention. NoveList calls these different aspects “story elements.” Our story elements include appeal terms, themes, and genres. Our team tags each book in NoveList with appropriate story elements, making it easy to see if a book is right for you or your readers, and to search for similar books.

Download The Secret Language of Books: A Guide to Story Elements



Appeal factors help readers decide whether or not a book fits their style or mood. What is heartwarming to one reader may be saccharine to another; what is mildly sensuous to you may be quite shocking to others. These resources will help you get started finding the right books to appeal to every reader.

Watch the webinar: Appealing to Genre Readers


Themes are popular and recurring plot elements found in fiction — think chosen ones in fantasy or fake relationships in romance. Themes describe the overall plot, while appeal terms describe the storyline, tone, writing style, and other aspects of a book’s content. Use these resources to learn how to navigate themes in your readers’ advisory.

Watch the webinar: Unlocking Themes to Improve Your RA


When a romance reader picks up a romance, the reader expects their heart to flutter as a couple finds their happily-ever-after. Mystery readers want to close a book knowing who the killer is.

Whether a library puts stickers on the spines of books or has genrefied the collection, as professionals, librarians use genre to guide readers to their perfect book. These resources will guide you through the collected genres in NoveList, and use them to help you match readers to their next favorite book.

Download a search strategy to help you tackle your hardest genre