Don’t Write More Than One Genre

Hello hello,

So I have here with me my contemporary romance, almost completely finished, and my children’s’ fantasy, almost completely finished. What I need now is a little bit of deduction. Which one will be my brand, and which one will be most successful?

Felicity! Of course I want that one to be my debut novel. I feel closer to this one, and I know I can write more like this in the future. But what about my other novel? What can I do with it; publish it? I think I will. Life’s too short, too vast to confine to one genre when I know about so much more.

…20 Years and Dozens of Books Later…

Fictional narrator: Now so successful, what’s one thing you’d do over and would advise other writers to do the same?

(Stares out of frame and then documents her thoughts, smiling)

Ehm… What… I’ve found… over the years, there’s an amount of expectation readers have for my books. They expect me to come out with another romance soon. They expect me to come out with another fantasy soon. Another mystery soon. I have hundreds of emails each day, some very instructive telling me how I may make more money doing a certain genre, and only that genre.

If I were to do it all again, I wouldn’t have diversified as much.

I must’ve been in that stage of my life where I thought I could do about anything. I saw one genre, thought I’d be good at it, then another. I was aspiring.

I have a large following, and a lot have stuck around for my “style” of writing. Though, it doesn’t seem to grow rapidly, and I blame my “brand.” There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just something I could’ve done better.

I’ve lost readers, too. They pick up my adult lit novel at Barnes & Noble and think it’s about horror, because that’s the first book they read of mine and they get a little upset. A lot of readers aren’t patient, and they’re not willing to wait another five years until I can make another horror novel. They see these other, newer products of mine, wondering if I betrayed them as readers, going about my business as a writer who writes about what they want to write.

I’m no big time author, but look at Stephen King – Stephanie Meyers. Do you see them writing outside their common elements? No. Sometimes. Look at J.K. Rowling. After the Harry Potters, it was like her fans wouldn’t let her write anything else.

I agree that if you don’t think you’re ever going to be famous writing, then write whatever you want. It’s the style that will bring your readers in. But don’t get famous, like my debut novel did for example, and expect a dramatic following to rapidly grow when you publish new books outside of your domain. Genres allow writers and readers to get things done. It’s that simple.

Each genre has common elements, and common audiences. It’s not like mixing two genres inside one book compared to making many books of different genres. No. If you mix two or three genres together inside a book, it’s a sci-fi romance – it’s a historical western, and that becomes your brand. But when you publish a sci-fi, then a romance, then a biography, your brand is now your most successful novel and it’s genre. Anything else is not the pyramid scheme.

The pyramid scheme is making a base from one book, selling another book, same brand – your followers buy it, you write another book like it, and readers keep buying them. That’s just how it stacks up, and I’m happy with what I’ve done over the years, pyramid-wise.

For advice to other writers, I think I’d say, write what you want to write. And if it ends up that they write in multiple genres, they should publish under pen names. It’s simple. It works just the same under another pseudonym. Their name and their book cover is what sells. Style is their overall success in the end. They can share their pen names later if they want. It’s all the same.

…WritingMime thought this would be a fun practice for a mock-interview with a famous author. But what I’m trying to explain with Mrs. Doe is to not diversify, if you want to sell as many books as possible. Create a different pen name for your separate genres. Wait for your pen names to become successful before you share it with current readers from different genres. Ernest Hemingway had known this all along, but no one bothered with him, just his stories. If we could learn something from him, and other famous authors of our time, we’d know that diversifying won’t make us huge and famous. Just the name on you title.

I’d love to hear your guys’ opinions.

Thanks for reading,


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