Hi. My name is Tim. I’m a writer with a problem.
My problem may seem simple to some, irrelevant to others, and overwhelming to one or two of you. You see, I can’t pick just one genre to write in. So far I have published novels in Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Fantasy; and I have finished novels in the Psychological Thriller, Cozy Mystery, and Science Fiction genres, and am half-way through the first draft of a romantic comedy. I am also researching a dark historical thriller, a historical mystery, and an alternate universe urban fantasy. My short story collection even adds horror and humor into the mix.
I can’t pick just one! There are overlapping elements in many of them, including thrilling chases or fights or murders or love, but because the publishing industry adores their labels (or else the heads of their Marketing Teams explode), a book without a label is a book without a market.
Many authors write in multiple genres, but they use pen names. Nora Roberts is J.D. Robb. David B. Coe is D. B. Jackson, just for two simple examples. The problem with pen names is if your readers don’t clue in quickly (like they did with J. K. Rowling) then you have to build your readership back up, which can take years. Or you can create that pen name more as a signpost that this isn’t your usual stuff, and they make it much less than a secret that you are both authors.
That’s the stage I’m at now. I have a couple of pen names I will run past my agent when the need arises, but the issue still exists that I am writing in multiple genres. I suppose the problem exists because, despite my age, I am a “young writer” in terms of how long I have been in the industry, and I’m still trying to find the genre that not only I can write the best, but that my readers want the most.
If my cozy mystery novel sold in a three-book deal, then I would put aside all other genres and plow ahead with those. The same with my sci-fi novel with series potential. What the market wants, I will give them. And if I have time, I will write what thrills my own heart on the side, and give the credit (but not the cheques) to one of my alter egos.
I guess my problem isn’t even a blip on the writerly radar when other novelists face writer’s block or illness or simply struggle to find time to write while balancing life responsibilities.
In the meantime, I will simply write the best stories I can and let my wonderful agent, Naomi Davis at Bookends Literary, find homes for them all.
Ciao for now,