Katie Weiland understands me, even when no one else does. In her upcoming book Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration, Katie quotes this excerpt from her blog post “Why You Should Be Writing Scared“:
When it comes to writing I’ve got the wanderlust. I’ve no interest in visiting territory I’ve already covered. I want to journey on, see new sights, discover what’s over that next horizon. With every new project I begin, I make it a point to push myself to new heights. I want each story I write to be completely different. I want to meet characters I’ve never met, not just rehash the old standbys. I want to tackle themes that are always a little bigger than what I already have a handle on. I want to attempt narrative feats that seem all but impossible at my current skill level. Life’s too short for me to run in circles chasing my tail. That might be comfortable; it might be familiar; but it’s not exciting and it’s not challenging.
Exactly! And that’s why I’ve been balking about having to limit myself to one genre.
This works for her. This amazing indie-author has done an awesome job of branding herself, which means she’s been able to pick and choose her genres with smashing success because everyone who reads her books knows what to expect–variety and excellence.
But is it wise for me? No, since my goal is to be with a larger traditional publisher someday–and therefore have a wider print distribution–I have to play by the game rules. I wish I’d had the foresight Katie did to work the rules more to my favor. As it is, yes, I’ll stick to Women’s Fiction/Romance. But this is okay. It allows a variety of subgenres, which means that while my playground is hemmed in by a chainlink fence, it’s still a pretty big area.
On your play ground with you, same chain link fence! Press on, my friend. 🙂
Well, there’s always pen names, don’t forget! 🙂
Yep–and I came up with one this morning.
Hmmm. I’m of the same mindset. (I know that surprises both of you.) You can always become a hybrid author and explore other genres. The best advice I received on whether to adopt a pen name came from a big-name editor. He raised his eyebrows at an idea I’d heard that readers would be confused by my writing in more than one genre and expressed doubt that readers could be so stupid. He even went so far as to suggest that cross sales might occur. The best tip he gave me was to use a variation of my name for each genre rather than a made-up name.
I’ve been fortunate to find an agent who believes in my writing, whatever the genre. The hardest thing I’ve come up against in landing traditional contracts is the prevalent mindset on what I can and can’t include for the CBA. This is where indie publishing can be an outlet for some projects.
I go back and forth on the idea of having a pseudonym for the different lines of books I want to put out–but I’m leaning toward it now. I realize the wisdom of sticking to one genre for the purpose of gaining a loyal following in that particular genre. And I understand that developing a following for each pseudonym is going to create more work. But I just balk at the thought of giving up some of the ideas I have simply because they don’t fit what I’ve done in the past.
But I’m sticking with my game plan of Romance and WF/Romance. At least for now. My following is small, but it’s growing. And who knows? Maybe some of them like my voice more than they like my genre. 😀