When I first started on my writing journey, I was hesitant to send Charlotte Collins to agents and publishers because I feared being forever bound to the Austenesque genre. I have nothing against that genre in particular. I had the same fear about being tied permanently to any one genre.
In the traditional publishing world, once you make a name in one genre, you are encouraged to stay there. It makes sense. If you made a name for yourself as a romance writer, then readers expect your books to be romantic. And they are understandably disappointed if they aren’t. Changing to a different genre means you target new readers.
Essentially, you’re starting over from scratch. To a publisher, whose goal is to sell books and make money, which is cheaper? Selling to an existing audience or cultivating a new audience? Most savvy business people will tell you that it is less expensive to keep old clients than to make new ones.
From a business perspective, it makes sense to find a genre and stick to it.
If I stuck to one genre, I wouldn’t be true to my eclectic self. A look at my bookshelves will tell you that I’m an eclectic reader. I have nonfiction books on subjects like horses, psychology, self-defense, myth and legend, and homicide investigation. Novels by Jane Austen sit next to Charlaine Harris, Walter Farley, L. M. Montgomery, and Ayn Rand. I want to write what I love, and I love variety. I wouldn’t have been happy to write only Jane Austen-inspired novels and stories or only Southern murder mysteries.
But sticking with one would have been the safer bet.
Not a lot of my Austen readers made the leap to the Southern Fraud Thriller Series. It was just too different. And that’s okay. I enjoy writing both types of books. And as an indie publisher, I have the freedom to take more risks with my writing choices. I can write a book about overcoming horseback riding fear, modern and historical Austenesque tales, murder mysteries, and even a paranormal mystery.
It all seems so random.
But even though I have eclectic tastes, all my writing contains a common thread: living fear free. Every book I write has that single theme in common. No matter what genre, I want my readers to come away from a book feeling inspired to face the world without fear. I want to write heroes and heroines who overcome terrible odds. Maybe they don’t emerge completely unscathed, but they do emerge stronger and wiser. Every book I write–no matter what genre–starts with the hope that my words will inspire someone who is facing a difficult situation in their own life.
What genres do you like to read? What books–fiction or nonfiction–have inspired you along your journey in life?