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.