Friday, May 15, 2009

A Multiple-Genre Success Story?

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how we, as authors, should brand ourselves. This means writing in one genre and one genre only. That’s the way to become successful. Oh, yeah? Well, check out this interview at Query Tracker. Author Lauren Baratz Logsted has done very well for herself as a multiple-genre writer.

Here’s a quote taken from yesterday’s post at Query Tracker. Author Lauren Baratz Logsted said: “My first novel was published in July 2003. By the end of 2009, I will have seen 15 books published with my name on the spine: five contemporary comedies for adults, The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, Baby Needs a New Pair of Choos; one literary Victorian suspense novel, Vertigo; one anthology I edited and contributed to, This Is Chick-Lit; two serious YA novels, Angel’s Choice and Crazy Beautiful; one more humorous YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life; one tween novel, Me, In Between; and four books for younger readers, the first four in a projected nine-book series called The Sisters Eight, co-written with my husband Greg Logsted and our daughter Jackie. Plus assorted short stories, essays, blogging and guestblogging.”

That kind of goes against anything I’ve ever been told and makes me feel a lot better about my situation. I write light and dark romantic suspense as well as light paranormal (non-creature type stories). When I was told I would have to choose between these, I was disappointed. Now, I feel like there’s hope. Heck, maybe I’ll even go back and finish that YA series I stared a few years ago… Hummm….

What do you think? Are you going to play it safe and stick to one genre or not?


  1. I write memoir and personal essays, and am working on a non-fiction book, but one day I am going to try writing a novel. So, no, I won't stick with one genre.


  2. Maybe Ms. LBL started out when the "rules" weren't so strict and before the word "branding" meant something other than marking a cow's rump. :) She was a proven success story when she crossed genres, therefore little risk to her agent.

    Maybe different pen names for diff. genres would work today?

    My first book is inspirational (co-authored) and the WIP is womens fic., so genre-swapping shouldn't be a problem. LOL

  3. I don't WANT to stick to the same genre, but right now I feel it's pretty important. I do, however put a bit of suspense, romance and humor in all of my books but still call them mainstream so I think that gives me some leeway. I'd like to try YA and maybe even fantasy one day, though, and those would be completely new genres. I would much rather have myself established and (hopefully) secure in my first genre before that happens.

  4. I plan on sticking to the brand that my first novel places on me for quite awhile. After I've become established (providing I do) I may consider branching out. I love my genre though.

    Also, I awarded you an award (or two) on my blog if you wanna check it out.

  5. I'd be interested to see what order she published all those in, the books that were full-length hers anyway.

    I think multi-genre is like having a second job. You need your main job... aka genre... to be stable. You focus most of your time on that, you build that first. But... you can eventually add a second night job to help pay the bills or as a hobby *grin* As long as you still have your main job and that's your focus, your second job can complement it, but only after the first is established, and as long as they are kept seperate and distinct.

    A lot of people jump from historical to contemp. romance to wf, serious to comedic. But their focus, their passion, is usually one or the other.

    This is just little ol' me's opinion for what it's worth. I write contemp romance with humor, and plan to stay firmly planted there. BUT, someday I wouldn't mind doing more of a serious, dramatic romance that is a little less light-hearted. But that's wayyyyyyy far down the road!

  6. I haven't figured out what brand I am yet, really. So I think I'll be writing in multiple genres for awhile. That's a great article over on the QT blog. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Some people just write good. LOL

    Most of my favorite authors cross genre, but I love their voice and can take it any way. Dodd is like that. she does historical, RS and paranormal.

    I'm working on my writing style and getting an agent and publisher. I would definitely consider crossing over if the market or mood inspired me. :) Great post, Lynnette. Thanks for sharing.

  8. How about Anne Rice for a genre shift?!

    I think multi-genre is a try-it-and-see kind of deal. For example, William Kent Krueger told us that when he tried to write something other than his Cork O'Connor series (which was The Devil's Bed), his fans categorically booed.

    Another exampl: I absolutely, hands-down, love Margaret Atwood, but did not care for her children's book,Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes. (I was very sad about this.)

    BUT, on the other side, John Grisham did some genre hopping, and I didn't mind at all. And my favorite Stephen King books are actually the Gunslinger series, which aren't horror at all.

  9. I was also disappointed to hear I should stick to the same genre, so thank you for sharing this article! It gives me hope. I'm writing middle grade right now but I know I'd like to write YA in the future. My current WIP is fantasy but I don't know if I want to always write fantasy. I hope it's possible for all of us to branch out and try something new!

  10. There are plenty of success stories like that (Robert Ludlum, Louis L'Amour, Michael Crichton), and even some early wunderkinds.

    I recently wrestled with this question because I have submittable short stories in virtually every genre, and have novels at least conceived in about six genres.

    What I realized is that it's not impossible to cross genres, even early in your career. But it's a whole lot easier to make a mark if you have a strong brand.

    At this point in my life, as I try to approach writing as not just an art but a profession, I decided that taking the most marketable approach was wisest for me, and that meant branding.

    Play time can come later on.

  11. I don't want to stick to one genre. :-( Sheesh...isn't that whiney. I think I'm just overly tired. LOL

  12. If I had to I'd say I was chicklit more than anything. But I tend to just write what I want to write. Some of my short stories have been very dark. If I thing an idea is good I go with it.

  13. There are several cross-genre authors who have succeeded. Tami Hoag started out writing romances and moved onto suspense. Jayne Ann Krentz has great success under the Amanda Quick name. Sandra Brown and Julie Garwood also made the jump. But all of these ladies were established in their original genre before they moved on.

    I also see successful authors "jump" into the hot genre. When paranormal romance started selling like hot cakes, lots of authors established in other genres started writing paranormal. I don't think it had anything to do with love of the genre but more about making money.

    I started out writing historical romance. I plan to go back to it. However, urban fantasy is where I have had success. So I'm focusing on that genre for now. Most writers I know have more than one genre in them, but I think it is important to stick to one thing until you have some success.

  14. Thanks for the shout-out! I hope that you, and any writer with talent who's willing to work hard, achieve the writing career they dream of.

  15. I am very good at keeping rules that make sense. Limiting yourself to one genre doesn't really make any sense. There's no good reason to. I thought I would stay in the YA fantasy genre completely because those are the types of stories bouncing around in my cranium. No I have an idea for a series that I have no idea how to even classify. My advice would simply be to write the story that comes over demanding you write it. Everything else will take care of itself.

  16. Probably. Romance is my thing. :-) I can't imagine writing anything else.

  17. It worked and BTW I love all your side links.

  18. I'll probably still to my genre for a while because it's the language of my heart. The things that I create in my head are native to that genre and for me, it works. I'm admire those who can cross genres and write all things--I'm just not too great at that.

  19. Yes! Love this post! I write Inspirational romantic suspense and Inspirational romance. I alternate between each book. It really keeps my creativity fresh.

    I do realize many of my books may either never get published or they may have to wait, but I write them regardless. It's good for me.

    Thanks Lynnette!

  20. Thanks everyone for your comments (and Casey for the award). It seems we have a mixed bunch here. Some will stick to one genre, others won't. I'm still undecided... I'd like to do more than one type of genre and since mine still fall under romantic suspense, I might be able to get away with it. We'll see what my agent says... once I get one... after I've completed my ms. LOL

    Lynnette Labelle