Saturday, June 16, 2012

On Authors Switching Genres...

Authors switching genres is a topic that has fascinated me for a while. Mainly because I've written in other genres and I like writing in other genres. As a career writer I like to think...though I may be the only one who agrees...that I can write anything in any genre I want. In fact, it's more of a challenge to write in another genre after a writer has been working in one genre for a long time.

Now, whether or not readers will follow an author to another genre is a completely different matter...especially when the author is known for writing specific genre fiction.

I've had hetero romances published under pen names. I've even had a few m/m novels published under a pen name in a different sub-genre than where I usually write. And though I know this isn't exactly the same as an author switching genres with the name he or she has used for one particular genre (a name with a strong fan base with which readers are familiar), I've also written in different genres with my own name and I know what to expect there as well.

Each time it was like I was twenty years old and starting from scratch. No complaints. I understand this and I expected this each time. I would probably react the same way as a reader. But more than that, according to the post I'm linking to below, most readers seem to feel the same way.

Though difficult, this is isn't necessarily bad for an author. Sometimes, if the author is willing to make the switch, building a new fan base and readership can be not only challenging but fun. In this case, I believe the author has to go with his or her heart. But he or she also has to be prepared to accept the reality they may be starting all over again.

Below is an interesting blog post, especially with regard to what the readers say in the comment thread.

Reader RANT (names are not used to protect the innocent, however, heed and take note, as we’ve all at one time thought this, heard this, and reacted . . . )

Dear Author: Why are you doing this to ME. I so LOVE what you write,used to write; your historical romances uplifted me, they let me escape from my boring world and take me to another land where I can dream . . . so why in heaven’s name did you decide to write contemporary romances??? Do you really think I want to read about everyday life — I’ve got enough of that please & thank you! I count on you to fulfill my dreams and mind with fun stories to remember as the day goes by, until I can read them once again — if you wrote more than two books a year I wouldn’t be so irate — but we all know that is not the case . . oh, woe is me . . what am I to do!

To read the answer and the comment thread, you can follow this link.


Kathy H said...

Oh poor reader. I have the perfect solution. Search for more historical romance authors.

T.D. McFrost said...

I have the bones of a Women's Fiction novel on my HD. I have two chapters and an outline ready to go when I'm done with my YA.

A few years ago I would never have been caught dead writing for women (no thank you!), but I realzed my will is powerless against the "muse", especially when she gives you an absolutely remarkable idea.

That reminds me, I was supposed to pitch you the log line. Ya know...just as a test to see if I'm on the right track. Holler if you have the time.

Lisa Lane said...

I think this is an important and interesting topic, especially since readers and authors might sometimes fail to see each other's perspective.

It's a blessed curse to feel driven to write multiple genres. If you're prolific, it's not as big of a deal, but there is also that debate over whether an author should brand and divide genres among pen names. I used not to be a big fan of pen names ... but I've grown to appreciate them.

ryan field said...

@Kathy...readers of genre fiction really do take it seriously. In some cases they live for the next release. Some might even hold it against an author for switching genres, which is why they use pen names.

@TD...Sure. E-mail me whatever you have.

@Lisa...I'm not a huge fan of pen names for myself because I find it hard to promote on even the most basic level. And the book suffers as a result. So if I ever did switch genres in a serious sense I would basically prepare myself to work twice as hard, start from scratch, and distance myself from the previous genre. Frankly, I'm not even sure that can be done.

Janet Post aka Melanie Thompson said...

Hi Ryan, I get bored with the same genre. I read in different genres and get an idea and want to write one. It's not easy to get the promotion you need, but I write to remain sane so for me the object is the process, the product is always a pleasant surprise. I write with two of my children and use their names and bios to escape the typecasting you get when you write in one genre exclusively. I think expanding your reach makes you a better writer, less jaded and more open to possibilities. I wish I could order your newest book but my Kindle took a crap so I'm only reading actual books right now. when they send me another, I plan to get that book and see what you did. It looks great, janet

Sara York said...

I think authors switching genres is a good thing. For one, I don't think I could write strictly in one genre. I write too much and my writing is based on things that influence me. There are so many different influences that it would be hard to restrict myself.

ryan field said...

I'm basically the same way. I just always seem to focus more on gay fiction because there's always something else to do. But I've been making time this year to mix things up a little.