It’s not unusual for romance writers to write several types (sub-genres) of romance—historical, paranormal, contemporary, erotica, sci-fi, futuristic, romantic suspense, YA, steampunk, etc. Is it a bad career choice?
And some manage to combine two or more of the above called mashups.
I’ve written in paranormal, sci-fi, futuristic with steampunk elements, and paranormal/shapeshifters, contemporary, romantic suspense, and vampires which may fit under fantasy or paranormal.
Why do authors write in different genres instead of sticking to one? Wouldn’t staying in one be the best way to build a loyal following of fans? Possibly, or maybe it doesn’t matter. There are several reasons why authors chose to genre hop.
The demands of readers, editors and agents change constantly. Tastes and favorites change. One moment paranormals are the hot item, months later, no one wants them. Contemporary or military is hot now! Then inspirationals are in demand. Like body surfing waves at the beach. Maybe you get lucky and ride the crest, or unlucky and end up swimming to shore without any momentum.
I started out writing paranormal/sci-fi. My true love. I read it voraciously as a kid, minus the romance, now I love writing it with the added romance and sexy parts.
My first published novel was paranormal with a small press. While I was submitting to NY publishers and agents, I submitted paranormals, until my rejections letters started saying, “Your writing is good, love the story, but we’re not signing any paranormal stories at this time.” So I tried contemporary, romantic suspense, etc., partly as a test of my writing skill, but also to follow or adapt to the market needs. The process was frustrating, but I don’t regret it.
There are benefits to writing in various subgenres
You develop fresh writing skills and techniques for the different genres.
You may find a creative outlet or strengths you didn’t know you had.
You may become a more effective storyteller, plotter, character developer, etc.
The new techniques and skills may open new opportunities for writing projects. Short stories, novellas, series, etc.
If you’re in a slump or hit writer’s block, writing something different might stir your creativity.
Now that I’m not actively pursuing a traditional publisher or agent at this time, I’m back to writing what I truly love – paranormals –vampires and shifters. As a writer, I feel you must try different types of writing to grow as a writer, improve your skills, but also keep your writing fresh. It’s also a good way to decide what you truly love to write. That’s what you should write, not what the market or an agent or editor says. The best stories will come from writing what gives you joy.
As a reader and/or writer, how do you feel about authors who write in multiple genres? Do you like to read in various genres? Or do you prefer authors who have huge series?