In the traditional publishing community, publishers usually expect their authors to write exclusively within a single genre in order to to develop an easy-to-market, strong author brand. But at Self-Publishing Relief, we know that this dusty old rule doesn’t have to apply to the independent, self-publishing author. In fact, indie authors can jump from genre to genre anytime they like! But just because you CAN self-publish under multiple reading categories—should you? Is it worth it to switch willy-nilly between genres?
The Pros And Cons Of Writing In Multiple Genres When Self-Publishing
Pro: Keep Your Writing Fresh
If you write in one genre, you may find that you eventually run out of ideas. Perhaps you sense that you’re repeating yourself, or suspect that your work is becoming stale. Repetition can cause burnout, but variety will spark your muse. Creating different stories in different genres is a great way to keep your writing fresh!
Pro: Improve Your Craft
Every book genre has different conventions, tropes, and expectations. Writing to these new parameters stretches your creative muscles. You may even discover the emergence of a different, distinct voice when you venture into a new genre, or unexpected new talents in dialogue, plotting, and pacing.
Pro: Find New Audiences
You may be doing quite well self-publishing in a certain genre—but audiences are capricious, and publishing trends change swiftly. By self-publishing other types of stories, you may connect with a completely new and different audience, expand your overall reach, and guard yourself from the risk of waning popularity in your primary genre.
Con: Uncertain Audience Crossover
Genre readers are loyal to their book categories. While there may be some crossover between women’s fiction and chick-lit, there’s likely to be less crossover between Amish romance and serial-killer suspense. The mailing list subscribers you’ve attracted over years of writing spy thrillers are unlikely to buy great numbers of your new sci-fi series.
Con: Dilution Of Author Brand
Because the readers of your current genre may not pick up your new books, venturing into a new genre may dilute your author brand. Even an author who writes lightning-fast can only pen so many books a year. Reducing how many books you’re self-publishing in a given genre will reduce your exposure. You may be weakening your position in your original genre and perhaps not getting enough of a push in the new.
Con: Double The Labor
Depending on how diverse the genres, you may have to start new social media accounts focused on the new book genre. In some cases, you may want to use a pseudonym for your new venture, especially if the audiences have to be kept absolutely separate, as with children’s books vs. erotica. Promoting two different genres means doubling your labor and splitting your marketing budget.
The successful self-published authors who write in diverse genres have one characteristic in common: They write and self-publish very fast. Frequent publication helps mitigate the problem of dilution of an author brand and keeps an author’s creative juices flowing. These authors are also very educated about how to attract a new audience to their email subscriber list. They also know how to effectively segment their followers so that the right audience gets the right marketing messages at just the right time. So consider all the pros and cons when deciding if self-publishing in more than one genre is right for you.
Question: What genres do you currently write in, and what are your plans, if any, to venture into a new book category?