Years ago I had an author whose book was lovely. We all put a ton of effort into marketing and promoting the author and the book. Our efforts were rewarded with some very nice sales and wonderful reviews. We had discussed his next book, and I awaited his outline with glee because I was anxious to ride the wave of publicity we’d already gathered.
Then he told me he wanted to write fiction. F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Don’t get me wrong, I adore fiction. But that isn’t what we publish. Um, where da outline for your next book that we’d talked about?
He didn’t wanna write that anymore. Sure, it totally sucked for us, but more to the point, it sucked for the author. Tremendous effort and expense had gone into gathering up a solid readership; readers who would happily suck up his next book. Question was, would his memoir readership suck up a novel? I had serious doubts.
It broke my heart because I felt he was sabotaging all of his and our efforts and basically starting from scratch again. Sad to say his efforts to switch genres did a horrific crash and burn.
For Whom Are You Writing?
There are plenty of authors who aren’t pegged in any one genre. They write SF, romance, mainstream, horror. Whatever scratches their itch. And that’s fine as long as they realize their readers aren’t going to follow them to those other genres. So it’s important to ask yourself, for whom am I writing?
If you’re writing for yourself and don’t give a rip about who buys your books, then I applaud your creativity in having so many wonderful ideas in so many genres. I’m such a one-trick pony…
However, if your goal is to become known and have a faithful following, then you might want to take a second and third look at how you might be diluting your readership, thus spinning your wheels.
Genre-hopping works is if you’ve already attained a large, faithful readership. Many may follow you over to your new genre book, and that will help create the groundswell. But if you’re still in the process of gaining a foothold in the marketplace, you would be wise to consider genre-hopping with great care.
Now go out and be brilliant!