Monday 20 May 2019

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Switiching Genres


This has been something I've wanted to talk about for a long while. I've been published almost fourteen years, and in that time I have written any number of genres. While when first starting out I stuck to mostly crime and paranormal, I have since branched out even more, penning a urban fantasy series and two dystopian ones as well. It's something that doesn't get talked about much, but I wanted to bring it up if, like me, you're a writer who goes where the stories take you and don't worry too much about what genre it will fit into.

There are a couple of options when it comes to writing different genres, you can do as I have, and use the one name, knowing that you will be selling to somewhat different audiences. That can make it harder to promote yourself, and it's something that you really need to think about when making that choice. I personally have chosen this route is because I always write young adult and generally have at least one genre that stays the same throughout.

For example, when I published the Dying Thoughts series, they always had that crime/mystery element. The majority of my standalones also had that crime/mystery element, though others, like Destination: Unknown slipped into the paranormal. When I introduced a brand new genre to my catalogue, like Walk A Mile, with it's sci-fi element, I kept it crime to allow it to appeal to some of my older readers who stuck with me because of that. This year I will be releasing the first book in my first dystopian/sci-fi trilogy, Lights Out, and the readers I've attracted for the sci-fi in Walk A Mile may find themselves picking up the trilogy because of that link to the same genre.

Long story short, I have been careful to allow certain elements of the chosen genre in my publishing order. With the Dying Thoughts series ending this year, it made sense to pair that with the start of my next trilogy and in the year after, the start of my urban fantasy series which I recently finished. It's how it's worked for me, but there is another option, and it may turn out to be the easier of the two.

So what is that option? Having a pen name. If you're someone who writes wildly different genres, or moves between young adult and adult fiction, it might be better for you to choose this option simply because there's no chance of having to attract completely different audiences when your works do not mesh well together.

I'm talking about writing something like adult romance and young adult fantasy, the two don't attract anywhere near the same audience and it can be a good thing to separate the two. It means dealing with two different social media presence, means marketing yourself twice and can be a lot of work, but for some authors it's the best option to choose. I know of those who have a pen name for their romance works while they use their actual name for their paranormal works. It's about finding what works for you.

Like I said, I haven't chosen to go this route for a number of reasons. I feel that because all my works fit into the young adult category and they all somewhat interlink, that it's better for me to stay with the one name. If I decided to start writing adult fiction, then I would definitely use a pen name and market that separately and differently because that just makes sense.

That said, there are some authors who manage to branch over categories and genres and do really well, but I personally have found that it's better to split the two when you're moving from one category to another. Unless you're planning to market yourself as both, which can work, but is a whole ton of work, I'd stick to a pen name. On top of that writing young adult and adult books can be seen as a big no-no for some of your readers. If you're writing romance and the adult books branch more into erotica and the like, it can be a turn off for those who are coming across your work for the young adults in their lives. It can have a knock on effect to the brand you make and the image you put out. But of course, your mileage may vary.

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