The classification of stories into genres is a topic, which I imagine both frustrates and challenges writers to pigeonhole their stories. I once had a short story rejected by a magazine because it was too sci-fi for them. This was in my very early and naive days of writing and trying to get published. I had honestly never thought of my short-story-on-the-verge-of-novella in terms genre. It took place here on earth with regular people, only the planet turned out to be a computer simulation that needed rebooting periodically. In retrospect, I suppose it was sci-fi.
I've gone to three writing conferences over the last three years and I've learned two often contradictory lessons.
- If you want to get published you might want to know in which hole to stuff your pigeon of a story.
- The story and good writing is what's important. So, just send it.
As for #2, well, not everyone agrees with it. Secondly, someone has to actually read a few of your chapters to get a feel for the quality of the story and the writing. In many cases, you need to get past the query and onto a partial for this rule to apply. If you make an unbelievable pitch in your query, you've at least piqued their interest, and it's also a good sign of your writing skills, or at least your sales skills. :-)
This of course goes beyond genre or literary category. If you write books for kids - well you've got numerous categories there - Middle Grade, Young Adult, chapter books, transition books, and so on. There is even rumor of a new category that is somewhere between Middle Grade and Young Adult. You see? A new spot on the tiger forcing the other spots to get out of the way!