|Posted by [email protected] on August 6, 2012 at 1:50 PM|
Are you a schizophrenic writer? Do you flit from writing in one genre to another like a butterfly in a garden of many flowers? If so, you are not alone.
I've discovered one important writing truth about myself. I'm definitely a schizophrenic writer. Over the past few years I've written several novels, novellas and short stories. Some are contemporary. Some are paranormal. Some are spicy and some are sweet. My latest novella is a Christian suspense novel. While I have enjoyed writing in each of the genres, I now realize I didn't quite go about it the correct way.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with writing in several genres, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Authors build readership audiences according to the genres near and dear to that reader's heart. A contemporary romance reader might not appreciate a historical paranormal romance written by the same author as much as the parnoramal reader would. A die-hard romantic suspense fan might not care for the light-hearted contemporary romace either.
When a reader picks up a new (to the reader) author's book, she/he will either love it, hate it or not care one way or the other if it didn't affect them emotionally. If the reader loves the book and can't wait for the next one to come out, then he/she will be a bit disappointed if the next book doesn't live up to his/her expectations since it is not the same genre they had previously grown to love. This is where branding comes in. Publishers will tell you they do not buy books from authors. They buy the author- this inlcudes the genre, the writing voice and of course excellent storytelling.
So, you might be wondering how authors can write in different genres and still keep their readers happy. It's simple. Pen names. Take Nora Roberts for instance. If you pick up a Nora Roberts book you can rest assured it will be a woman's fiction story with many plot twists, plenty of excitement and usually some romance thrown in for good measure.If you pick up a J.D. Robb book then you will find a completely different, but equally compelling genre. Both Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb are New York Times bestselling authors.However, the majority of the time there will be two different loyal readerships for each one. Of course, Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb are the same author, but each have their own fan base with certain expectations from their author's books. This way the die-hard mystery fans won't be disappointed by picking up the Nora Roberts book instead of the J.D. Robb book and finding woman's fiction instead of a supsenseful mystery. Ingenious if you ask me.
Unfortunately, I didn't think far enough ahead into my writing career to differenciate between my genres with different pen names so branding myself as an author is a bit more difficult at this point. However, at the end of the year I'm going to make a decision as to which genre I really want to build a readhership with and stick with it. If I decide to write in another genre some along the way (and let's face it schizophrenic writing won't disappear overnight) then I'm going to consider using pen names for those genres from now on. I think this will make it easier on my readers and myself. So what do you think? Should authors brand themselves? Do readers expect it?