What genre do you write?
Do you think you’ll still be writing that in ten year’s time?
Writing is a fluid thing and some people worry, as they begin their writing journey, that they’re being pinned down to just the one genre.
When I meet another writer, I always ask what genre they write. When they ask back, I tell them I’m a fantasy novelist. But that isn’t strictly true. I’ve written some science fiction, I done a little erotica and my current novel-in-progress is looking a little more romance than anything else I’ve written.
Don’t get me started on sub-genres.
So, is it okay to write in a variety of genres or should we be sticking to just the one? You know, so that our readers can definitely always find us in the bookshop when we get that massive publishing deal…
Is it okay to write a variety of genres?
When you’re starting out writing fiction, you should experiment with your writing. It’ll help you to figure out what you want to write, the kind of writer you’ll be and it’ll help you find your unique storytelling voice.
If you’ve been writing for a while, and even if you’re published, writing more than genre can open up a world of possibilities.
The benefits of writing more than one genre
There are so many advantages to writing more than one genre.
Many authors will write fiction across genres, but also non-fiction and non-fiction can be a great way to share your expertise or passion for a hobby while making some extra money.
Doing this can:
- Help you to grow as a writer by forcing you to learn different story techniques. The structure difference between a murder mystery and a romance is huge!
- Allow you to tell the stories you want to without boundaries.
- Free you up to let your characters and plot inform your genre.
- Expand your readership. Take J K Rowling as an example, she has a horde of fantasy fans with her Harry Potter franchise and now she has a crowd of crime fans with her new series, written under the penname Robert Galbraith.
- Stop you from getting bored and stuck in a writing rut.
- Allow you to build a business following market trends (if you feel that way inclined). More on this one below.
Overall, allowing yourself to write across genres and types of books can help you build a writing business, find more readers and keep you happy and engaged with your writing.
Hang on. Back up. We can follow market trends?
The self-publishing world moves fast and many authors will publish multiple books a year.
One way of using this to their advantage to make more money is to write books according to the latest trends.
You’ll often find this in traditional publishing too.
Following on the tail of 50 Shades of Grey, the bookshelves in shops were laden with erotica with grey covers.
Twilight was released during the age of the Shiny Vampire – those attractive, pale vampires who seduce rather than rip your throat out.
The horror genre is recovering from a total zombie wipe out which led to such books as Pride, Prejudice and Zombies being released.
And that’s just the mainstream stuff.
It’s easy enough to find the current trends by scouring the bestsellers lists on Amazon. I remember a good few years ago being shocked that dinosaur erotica was a genre that was trending, and reading an interview with authors who wrote book after book of dinosaur erotica to make money out of that demand.
The speed with which tastes change means that if you choose to write to market like this, you need to be able to switch genres without hesitation while still producing a good book.
I personally don’t like the idea of writing to market, purely because I believe in writing stories that you want to tell rather than ones you think people want to read.
But you may feel differently, and if you do, there’s good money to be made.
The only downsides…
There are only two downsides to writing across genres:
- If you go the traditional route of publishing, your publisher may require you to stick to one genre. Although many authors have proven that their publishers are open to them changing genre, these tend to be the big-name bestsellers. Other, smaller authors often need to change publisher to change genre.
- Publishing across genres will mean extra marketing. Your fantasy readership won’t be hanging out in the same places as your crime readership. You’ll need to put in the extra work to make sure your stories get noticed.
To be honest, those aren’t huge downsides. They might not even be downsides at all for you.
So, next time you start wondering if you should write that romance story despite all your other horror stories, the answer is yes!
Write whatever genre you want to, when you want to.
Explore, experiment, learn and have fun.