Being a Multi-Genre Author
By CP Bialois
Being a multi-genre author is a topic that’s been one of the most discussed topics in the writing groups I’m in, so I thought I’d throw my two cents in and share my thoughts.
As many of you know, I’m a multi-genre author. For me, it’s a simple choice since I have an interest in just about everything and anything. I love sci-fi and fantasy, action adventure and horror, so it’s easy for me to have ideas and stories in all of those that I want to explore and share.
Sounds simple, right? Not so fast.
There are many arguments against being multi-genre and some of the most vocalized cons of doing so I’ve heard are: “Your readers won’t know what to expect from you”, “You need to make it easy for your readers to find you”, and “It’s easier to brand your books if they’re in the same genre”.
Now, those are all good arguments to a certain extent. Let’s take the first one about our readers not knowing what to expect.
At first, this is a scary thought. I mean, we are all creatures of habit and stepping into the unknown can be scary and not everyone is up to taking such a step. But let me ask you this, if you’ve read other books by an author and enjoyed them and his/her style, what is there to be really scared about?
Think about it. The author is trusting in their readers to be comfortable enough with them to join them on a different adventure. We go to different places with our friends without too much quibbling, isn’t this really the same thing but on another level?
I’m one that enjoys discovering the unknown, but not everyone is and that’s fine. To each their own.
The second one is one I really dislike as it sounds like a hollow excuse to me. Let me explain.
I admit, when I first heard that the image of me standing on a vast emptiness came to mind. The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like the old, “My dog ate my homework” excuse rather than a legitimate reason. If our readers like our work, they’ll usually know our names and with a few keystrokes they can find a list of our books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc.
Another part of the reasoning I don’t care for is it makes it sound like we have to talk down to our readers. That’s something I refused to do a long time ago and I’m not going to change that now.
I trust my readers to be able to choose which stories of mine they like and which they don’t. Trust me, there’s nothing greater than trying something new and having someone message you telling you how much they enjoyed it. The real kicker is when they also ask when something in another genre you write is coming out and that’s one of the many reasons I love to interact with my readers. They’re honest and always have their favorites.
The final argument I want to touch on is it’s easier to brand your books if they’re in the same genre.
I’m not going to lie, it is easier if you can sit there and say, “I write horror, erotic, fantasy, comedy,” and so on. Right away people know what to expect from you. It’s also why many authors choose to use different names when they write other genres. If it works for them, great. I’m glad and wish them nothing but the best. Now here is my concern with that…
If you write in three or four genres, that’s three or four names you have to manage. The same goes for twitter accounts, Facebook pages (and maybe even profiles), Google + profiles, and on and on. That’s an incredible amount of work for one person to do. Just think about how hard it is to build a following under one name, much less multiple ones.
Honestly, as much as I’d love to make myself sound like a genius here, I don’t know if I made branding me, CP Bialois, consciously or if I happened to do it just because. The funny thing is, many social networking experts are saying this is the way to do it. Is it? That’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves. I just know I kill myself on branding and growing one name that I couldn’t imagine if I had to do it for so many others.
Well, that’s it in an awfully large nutshell. We all have our opinions and thoughts, as well as what works for each of us. The one thing I can tell you with certainty is not everything that works for some or most will work for one. Take your time when deciding if you want to be a multi-genre author or not. In the end the decision is yours to make, not someone else’s.
I’d love to hear any of your thoughts or opinions on this topic so please, feel free to comment or track me down at cpbialois.webs.com. I’m always around somewhere. Have a great one and let your imagination fly!