Summer Series 2021: Writing in Multiple Genres Part 2
by Steph Beth Nickel
Last time we asked three questions:
- What does success mean to me?
- Do I care about becoming the “go-to” expert in my field or my readers’ favourite writer in a certain genre?
- Do I complete projects or do I have a virtual drawer full of unfinished manuscripts and other writing projects?
While your answers to these questions may lead you to believe that it’s best not to write in multiple genres and/or on multiple topics, there are several reasons you may choose to do so.
- If you haven’t yet settled on the genre and/or topic you want to focus on, it’s perfectly acceptable to try your hand at writing several different types of books. After all, if you end up churning out books you don’t enjoy writing, it’s going to lead to burnout—and will likely come through in your writing.
- If you’re just getting started on your writing journey, you may be surprised that you can actually write in a particular genre. I didn’t think I was clever enough—or committed enough to research and worldbuilding—to write fantasy or sci fi. However, I began a YA speculative fiction novel for NaNoWriMo last year and quite enjoy what I’ve written so far—at least most of it. You never know unless you try.
- If you’ve been writing on the same topic or in the same genre for a long time, you may be ready for a change. Nothing freshens up the process more than trying your hand at something new.
There are also a few ways to make it easier to write and publish in multiple genres.
- Choose variations of your name or pennames so readers can easily identify the books they’re looking for. Remember—if you use the same name for all your books, you risk losing readers because they will expect one thing but may end up with something completely different. Plus, since additional books sales can come from recommendations, you don’t want to disappoint your readers.
- If you’re publishing a certain type of book with a traditional publisher but also want to write something completely different—and have the capacity to do so while fulfilling the terms of your traditional contract—you may want to look into self-publishing/indie publishing. (For the purposes of this post, I define both self-publishing and indie publishing as a process by which authors hire a book cover designer and an editor and upload their books to Amazon [and possibly, other platforms] themselves or through an aggregator such as Draft2Digital. The authors also oversee the marketing of their books. I am not referring to signing an agreement with a company that requires payment for two or more of these services.)
- Be willing to become a lifelong learner. Whether you self-publish or sign with a traditional publisher, the writing industry is always changing. What sells well this year may be outdated by the time you complete your book. The level of connectedness readers want with their favourite authors has changed dramatically in the last few years. Facebook groups may be the perfect place to develop that connectedness with your readers. But who knows what’s just around the corner? Plus, genre expectations, “hot topics,” book cover design, available formats (print books, ebooks, audiobooks, etc.), and so much more evolve. While we shouldn’t let this discourage us, it does confirm that we must always seek to learn—and adapt when appropriate.
Have you dabbled in various genres or written about a number of topics? Do you write books? Short stories? Blog posts? Have you been writing for many years or are you just getting started?
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
join her Facebook group:
or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.