Is Genre-Hopping for You?

Contemplating genre-hopping, are we? Is that a good idea or sudden death for your writing career? That depends.

Genre-hopping can be tricky. Not all authors should write in more than one genre, but not all authors should stick to one genre either. So, how do you know whether or not you should genre-hop? Let’s look at a few factors that could help you decide whether or not to pursue genre-hopping.

You could genre-hop IF:

-You can WRITE in more than one genre. Just because you want to write in more than one genre doesn’t mean you were meant to do so. Be honest with your ability. Can you really pull this off?

-You have flexible deadlines. Obviously, if you’re self-publishing or if you aren’t in a contract with a publisher, you have the freedom to write at your own pace. But, if you have deadlines with a publisher, will you be able to meet those deadlines and still produce at least one book a year for the other genre or subgenre? This could mean one deadline for a publisher and one deadline for yourself if you self-publish the other book. Or, it could mean two publishers and two deadlines. Be realistic with what you can handle.

-Your Option Clause (in your publisher’s contract) states that the publisher has a right of first refusal for your next book in the same subgenre you’re already writing for them. For example, if you write 90,000-word romantic suspense novels with a particular publishing house, and the contract states they have first refusal for your next 90,000-word romantic suspense novel, you can sell that paranormal romance you just finished to another publisher. If the clause is general or open-ended, stating they have first refusal on “the author’s next work”, you may not be able to shop your story elsewhere unless they refuse it.

-Your agent represents both genres. If not, will your contract with her allow you to find another agent to represent the other genre? Will you want to work with two agents, or would it be better to have one who’ll represent both genres?

-You want to write in more than one genre. Sometimes, when an author’s sales are down, a publisher will “strongly encourage” the author to write in another genre. That might look good on paper, but if writing YA is all you know and all you want to do, making a switch to adult fiction of any kind might not be the right fit for you.

-You have a marketing plan and budget that will fit both genres (marketing both genres together as one brand or as two brands). We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post.

Have you considered genre-hopping? Are you already doing it? As a reader, what has your experience been when it comes to an author genre-hopping? As a writer, do you like to genre-hop? Why or why not?

Lynnette Labelle

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