Don’t know ‘bout you, but I’m finding this happening more and more in recent years. An author who is doing quite well in one genre suddenly making the switch to an entirely different one. I understand the whole “genres run in cycles” aspect to this profession and where authors wish to make a living staying on top of the game, but we’re talkin’ successful and, quite often, best selling authors making the switch from … say historicals to contemporary suspense. Or, like our own MagicalMusings Cynthia Eden, writing a series of suspense when her main success in this business has been paranormals. (Both of which she does quite well, I’d like to add ).
Had this discussion last week with a member of my Wisconsin chapter of RWA. Liz (a different Liz than me, obviously) has written a couple of Young Adult novels and is now branching out to a whole new genre called “New Adults”. It’s my understanding that the fan base for Young Adult tends to run from 13 to 18 years old. New Adult is on that cusp of 16 to 21. Her publishing company wants her to write the New Adult novels under a new pseudonym to keep it separate from her Young Adult audience. There’s probably little doubt that fans of each genre will discover that Liz is the author to both genres, so I think building a new fan base on two names is sorta silly. Does the name Jayne Ann Krenze/Amanda Quick come to mind?
It’s a difficult decision to make … switching genres. Hopefully a lot of these authors are doing it for the right reason, in that it’s a genre that “calls” to them as opposed to just jumping the lucrative bandwagon. After all, whether it romantic suspense, historical, paranormal, or whatever, sooner or later there’s a good chance that that genre will tank as the next best thing cycles through. Just take a look at contemporary romantic comedy.
I confess that I’m in the midst of doing a genre switch, albeit not a drastic one. I’m going from Romantic Sci Fi to Urban Fantasy. But — I’m doing it because Urban Fantasy is a genre that “calls” to me. I enjoyed writing Romantic Sci Fi, but its Urban Fantasy that really excites me and has my imagination flaring. If just finished my first UF and am in the midst of revisions. Even though I’ve been working on it for far too long (lots of things got in the way), I’m still really excited about this story. And, personally speaking, I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done.
What are your thoughts on genre switching? Would you have preferred a favorite author to stick with the genre she (or he) initially captured you with? Or are you willing to give her (or him) a chance to wow you with a whole new genre?