Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pigeon Holed

When I think of M. Night Shyamalan, I think of movies with a twist at the end.

When I think of Quentin Tarantino, I think of smart movies that are just a bit too violent and/or twisted for my own personal taste.

But you know what you're getting when you go to their movies. Because it's their brand, their style of film-making. You wouldn't go to a Quentin Tarantino movie if you wanted a heart-warming love flick.

What does that have to do with me?

Are you a romance writer? Are you a young adult writer? Are you a horror writer?

If you've written six horror novels, you may not have a great reception in the children's picture book community. Why? Because they will get used to viewing your material as horror, and not suitable for children.

If you've written young adult romance novels, you may have some resistance when writing an adult thriller.

That is one reason why many well-known authors have used pen names (think Nora Roberts vs J.D. Robb) They don't want to offend their existing fans by branching into other genres. Even if *wink wink* we all know who's really writing the novel, we know what to expect when we pick up the book using the pen name.

My point in this post (If I have one) is to think about your long-term writing career. Don't just write whatever is coming to you right now, write the kind of books you want to be writing five, ten, even fifteen years from now. If you want to write both YA and Adult novels, don't write five novels that are solely young adult. Mix it up so your audience won't pigeon-hole you into one genre.

What genres do you like to write?


Jill Kemerer said...

True. I always write romance, but there are subgenres, and I'm leaning more to romantic suspense. I also love historical romances but don't write them. It's important to focus--thanks for the reminder!

Robyn said...

MG and YA, but someday I want to write adult non-fiction. Maybe adult fiction. Great post, thanks for showing me, not to feel boxed in by what I'm writing now. :0)

Corey Schwartz said...

Easy for me. I'm not capable of writing for anyone above the age of four! :)

Jody Hedlund said...

I'm not sure that I'll ever branch away from writing historical since I love it so much.

Danyelle said...

Great advice. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the here and now that we forget to think of the future. Also a very good point about branding and when pen names are especially helpful. :D

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Great advice. I think I will always be a writer of romance with supernatural elements. It may teeter between YA and adult but I' okay with that. :)

Eden said...

This is an interesting post!

I'm currently writing a YA Urban Fantasy, but am in the process of switching it to adult.
Another project I've started is adult, as well.
Then, I have plans to make the former into a children's book--take out the scary parts and make it lighter. I feel kids would enjoy a sweet faery-tale.
But, I have also started a memoir.
The list goes on and on....

Point is, I have many projects on the table, and I thought I might have a problem with them all being so different.
I'd assumed I needed to stay in one genre to accumulate a following (if I'm so lucky as to get published one day ;))

It's refreshing and relieving to know that not only may I have been wrong, but that I might be doing a good thing by not pigeon-holing myself.

Thanks, Joyce!
I'm feeling a lot better now :D