It’s a pleasure to welcome back Staci Troilo to Author Wednesday. Today Staci is taking over the blog with a post on writing in multiple genres. I’ve read all of her books to date, and she switches from mystery to mainstream to romantic suspense with ease. Here’s her take on why it might be helpful or harmful to an author. Read on to find out which one she prefers!
Pros and Cons of Writers Crossing Genres
By Staci Troilo
Hi, P.C. It’s an honor for me to be here today. Thanks for inviting me. And to your readers, hello! I’m glad to be here and appreciate the chance to chat with you for a bit.
While many writers have backgrounds in the sciences, mathematics, and law, one constant remains—
Writers are creative.
That can mean different things to different people. For me, it means I can’t be pigeonholed. I have too many interests, too many ideas that appeal to me, too many stories to tell.
Many successful authors have branded themselves by their genres. I say horror; you say Stephen King. I say romance; you say Nora Roberts. I say thriller; you say James Patterson.
And that’s proven quite lucrative for them.
The problem with me is this. You say horror; I say I have an idea for a story. You say romance; I say I have an idea for a story. You say thriller; I say… well, you get the idea.
So which way is right? Specialized niche or multi-genre?
The Pros of Writing Multi-Genre
- Creative Freedom—You have all these great premises and concepts bouncing around in your brain. There’s no reason to squelch them. Write them. Write them all.
- Audience Overlap—Some readers are fans of a genre, but some are fans of a writer. If you write two or more genres, a reader who found you and loved you because of one story could try to cross over to your other genre work. A sci-fi writer can’t usually attract a western reader, but if that western reader loved your historical, he might try your space opera because he likes your style. He may even tell his friends.
- Earning Potential—If you write only in one genre, you’ve limited your sales to what that genre can generate. Expanding to other genres opens you to a higher potential revenue.
*Note: I am not advocating writing solely to earn money. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the art. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, I am not suggesting writers pick a genre that offers a high sales potential and writing for it. If you aren’t interested in a genre, it will be obvious in your writing, and your numbers will suffer for it. Write what you love, love what you write, and write only for the love of writing. (If you agree, Tweet it.)
The Cons of Writing Multi-Genre
- Branding—It’s difficult to brand yourself when, for lack of a better term, you’re inconsistent. There’s a reason Stephen King is synonymous with horror. That’s what he built his reputation on. If he began by writing three novels a year, but each in a different genre, he may have taken longer to gain traction with his fans.
- Organization—If you’re only focusing on one genre, your mindset doesn’t need to change. But when writing more than one style of novel, you may be in development in one genre, writing in a second style, and editing yet a third. It can take time and focus to deal with these changes. And if you’re working with an agent and/or publisher, you could find meeting their deadlines and expectations difficult.
- Time—If you write vastly different genres (say, Christian inspirational and erotica), you not only know there won’t be cross-over in your audience, you know that publishing one of these genres could cost you readers in the other. In cases like these, creating a pen name/new persona and marketing each genre separately would be the best solution for the respective works. It will also take roughly twice the time.
Which path you choose is up to you. I couldn’t commit, so I chose multi-genre. So far, I have seen crossovers in my readership, and I’m pleased to reach more people.
My Cathedral Lake Series is mainstream fiction focusing on dysfunctional family dynamics. The relationships in these novels are critical to plot development. My Medici Protectorate Series is romantic suspense with paranormal elements. But, as in my other novels, the relationships drive the plot. So, despite the two different genres, there is one constant—my writing.
I love to tell stories. I get inspired by things every day, so my idea list is constantly growing. I don’t think I’ll ever find myself without fodder for a new work. How many genres will I ultimately try? Who knows? But I am certain of two things:
- My loyal fans will test out my other works.
- My stories will always be driven by strong character relationships.
So, yes, I do write in multiple genres. And I love it. But I am consistent in what I provide my readers.
Maybe the genre doesn’t matter so much. Maybe it’s all in the delivery. I’d love to know what you think. Leave a comment and let’s discuss it.
About Staci: Staci Troilo writes multi-genre fiction focusing on flawed relationships. Her series and standalone titles span mystery, contemporary, and romance genres and several sub-genres, including suspense, paranormal, and medical dramas. Her short fiction has won many regional awards. Find her at http://stacitroilo.com.
Bleeding Heart—Franki, secret legacy of the Medici, is prophesied to return Italy to its former glory. Targeted for assassination and ignorant of her enemy’s identity, she is protected by Gianni, the warrior destined to defend her. He must conquer her fears and his demons to save them both. Available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
Connect with Staci:
Read other posts about Staci and her books:
Author Wednesday – October 9, 2013
Author Wednesday – February 11, 2015
Book Review Friday – Type and Cross