Monday, July 18, 2011

Is it Okay to Switch Genres?

Almost forgot about the Inspiration Blogfest! You can scroll down to the bottom to see my entry.

At the writing biography panel, Margaret George mentioned she might write a book that takes place in this day and age. I raised my hand.
“I would like to switch back and forth between writing historical fiction and contemporary, and I was wondering if that’s considered acceptable. I know you would have to build two separate platforms because you have different audiences. Do agents frown on genre hopping, or do authors do this?”
Cecilia Holland said when you switch genres, you can’t take your union card with you; you have to get another one. The general consensus was that it’s difficult, but do what you feel is right.
Mary Sharratt said, “You can always use two pen names.”
I shook my head. “It’s hard enough to be one famous author. I can’t imagine being two.”
Jess Wells said an agent told her it was okay, but that doesn’t matter. You should focus on what you want to say and not what you think others want to hear.
“Just follow your heart,” said an audience member.
Personally, I always thought the whole “follow your heart” thing is bunk. I can’t remember how many times I’ve read a book and thought, “Wow. Your heart told you the wrong thing.”
If I was gripped by an idea, I like to think I’d write it regardless of what others thought. But publication is important to me. I want to know ahead of time if a book is doomed to failure.
Julie Caton said something that made me feel better: “What really matters is just writing a good book. If you write good books, people will want to read what you write regardless of whether it takes place today or yesterday.”

Now for the Inspiration Blogfest, where I must post an inspiring prompt. I'm going to post the picture I taped to my computer when I worked on Hunger for Nano (and all year since then because I love it).

You just can't look at this without feeling to urge to be romantic.


  1. That's great advice from Julie Caton.

    I think the problem is you said you want to know ahead of time if a book is doomed to failure. Can we ever know that? I wish we could, but I'm not sure it's true. I think that if you're gripped by an idea, the only thing you can do is write it to the best of your ability and wait and see.

  2. I am a genre hopper. I write both YA Contemporary and YA Speculative Fiction. My agent is okay with it, so I imagine others would be too. I think if the idea is strong and written well, then the genre is secondary. Plus, there are plenty of authors now writing in both the YA and the adult market with notable success.

  3. stopping by from the inspiration blogfest, I'll check back later for your entry. :)

  4. Oooh, I've been thinking about something similar. But I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there. ;) But thanks for asking the hard questions.

  5. Being several people would be trippy. I enjoy Margaret George a lot. I'd stil read her.

  6. Hi,

    I'm happy to write contemporary romance/romantic suspense/thrillers and historical romances under one name. Had no problems in the past with publication and none at present.

    Oooh, love the Inspirational image! ;)


  7. I suppose it's because I write more because I enjoy it than for publication that I don't consider genre-hopping to be much of an issue--but that's good advice from Julie Caton!

  8. That is great inspiration.

  9. It's good to know people have done it before, and with success! Hopefully I'll find success too.

    Francine: I saw your book "Her Favored Captain" just came out last month. That's exciting! It sounds like a fantastic read.

  10. Mmm, yummy. Now where's my husband? Darn, he's still at work. Thanks for the great prompt!

  11. Great picture - kind of reminds me of my novel and the lovers' reunion at the end. hehe

  12. I certainly genre hop. It keeps the mind fresh for new and exciting possibilities.

    The pic IS romantic.... Not enough romance these days, so it's nice to see young love.

  13. New to the blogging/writing world. Love your blog!

    I currently have only the first draft of a manuscript, but I can definitely see myself changing genera.

    I agree, if its a great book, people will read it.

  14. I've written in various genres and I say "Yes". Your fans will follow because they trust you.

  15. Your photo reminds me of younger days, the thrill of new love, and the joy of discovery.

  16. You're right. That photo makes me all tingly inside. Ah, romance. Thanks for sharing!


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