Let’s look at the benefits and consequences to genre-hopping.
-Your writing won’t get stagnant. If you’re bored with one genre, you can hop to the other.
-Genre-hopping keeps your mind active. You have to focus more on the story you’re writing to ensure you’re following the rules and expectations for that genre and not confusing them with those of the other genre or genres you write.
-Freedom. You write what you want to write. The market doesn’t dictate which genre you’ll write in next.
-You can experiment with different genres to see which suit you best.
-You can increase your reader base. Not all readers will make the jump with you from one genre to the next, but there’s a possibility that many will if the genres are similar like mystery and romantic suspense or YA and new adult.
-There’s a possibility of more frequent releases. If you’ve signed with more than one publisher, you can release more novels than you’d most likely release with one publisher. You’ll have additional income from royalty checks (and possibly advances) if you release more than one book a year. (Of course, if you self-publish, you have the freedom to release as many titles as you want, regardless of the genre, but that’s a whole other post.)
-You could have better career security if you snag two publishers, or one for each genre.
-You may dilute your audience. Let’s say you’re able to write two books a year. If you release one mystery and one romance, that means the readers of these genres will have to wait a year to read the next installment for that genre. This isn’t too bad, considering some authors only release one book a year. Ah. But, what if you are that author? If you release a mystery this year, and a romance next year, that means, your mystery readers will have to wait until 2015 for your next mystery release. Would they have forgotten you by then or moved on to a writer who releases titles more often?
-Your marketing budget could double. We’ll talk more about this in my next post.
-Agents and publishers might be reluctant to work with you because they won’t know how to brand you. We’ll talk about this in my next post, too.
-Legally, you can get into a lot of hot water if you don’t understand the Option Clause in your contract. Make sure you can legally release books in more than one genre and/or with more than one publisher.
-You may not be able to handle the workload and deadlines.
-Can you keep the two (or more) genres and stories separate? Or will your YA voice show up in the thriller you’re now writing?
-Branding yourself as an author may be hard, especially if one genre is so different from the other that you probably won’t have crossover readers. For example, if you write historical romances and science fiction, you may find your readers will read one or the other. We’ll talk more about author branding and how to handle this in my next post.
-Readers might not take you seriously, especially if you write in more than two genres. It could appear that you’re trying to find yourself. And, if they like to read in a particular genre, they may not want to wait until you “get around” to that genre again.
Do you write in multiple genres? Have you found any other consequences or benefits to genre-hopping? As a reader, how do you feel about an author who genre-hops?
Schedule Update: I have one opening for a 75K-88K manuscript for developmental copyediting. The manuscript would need to be handed in February 3, 2014. For a 75,000-word manuscript, the deadline/end date would be: April 7. For an 88,000-word manuscript, the deadline/end date would be: April 15. If you’re interested in this slot, contact me at: email@example.com, and we’ll go from there. Thank you to everyone who contacted me about this slot, but it has now been filled.