Last Updated on August 16, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
I published a new piece for Wattpad last night in the horror category. As I completed the story, I found myself more drawn to horror and the supernatural. I started thinking, does everyone have a specific genre they prefer to write in, or is it a marketing ploy to engage a certain kind of reader? For myself, I enjoy writing in different genres. But do I have to focus on one style if I want to be successful as an author?
Enjoying What You Write
I love to read and write a wide range of genres. The only thing I really can’t get into is reading chicklit. However, I did write a piece the girls at Job Corp loved back in the ’90s. I suppose what started me thinking about focusing on a single genre is the success mainstream authors have by sticking to a specific style. For instance, what would the world of special ops and government control be like without Tom Clancy? If Stephen King wrote more outside of horror would he still be as successful?
I suppose what I am really worried about is will I still be able to develop a loyal following if I diversify my work? I mean, those who like to read fantasy novels will probably walk past the Stephen King section at a book store. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing myself to the greats in pop literature. But it does make me wonder if being eclectic in my writing style will help my future or hinder it.
Personally, I love writing in a different genre. It’s kind of like breaking up a routine and letting me expand into several interests. In real life, I am the same way. I am a Jack of All Trades, meaning I can do just about anything well. But I am not a master in any one thing. It’s kept me alive and some of the bills paid for this long, but would being a master boost my overall success? Should I focus more on one particular genre and keep those fans coming back for more? I suppose I should build a fan-base before I really put too much thought into it.
From a Marketing Perspective
From the perspective of marketing, maintaining a specific genre may be in one’s best interest. Catering to specific types of fans by delivering work they enjoy reading the most can create a great deal of loyalty. For instance, I can rely on certain authors to develop engaging work in specific categories. Would switching back and forth create confusion among those who are looking for a certain type of reading material? Take these two stories I have created, for example:
These two are completely different formats. One is horror and the other is science fanfiction. If those who follow me because of science fiction only read that genre, would they care to read the horror piece? Personally, I would – but I’m also eclectic. I like good stories themselves, not necessarily specific genres.
Not everyone is like me when it comes to reading, though. Should I focus on one style of reading and create a strong following or diversify myself in hopes to stretch out into other categories? Since I am relatively new to the whole personal publishing thing, I’m just not sure that I have what it takes to carry a diverse audience. I’m not saying this out of self-doubt, but more of whether it’s ideal from a marketing perspective.
Is Diversity Worth the Effort as an Author?
As a ghostwriter, it’s ideal if you diversify your work. If you’re able to complete jobs for clients in different industries, you expand your potential to make money as well as knowledge. Is it the same when your an author? Unlike a ghostwriter, you rely on the fans to keep you successful. It’s your name that is out there, not your client’s.
What if Tom Clancy decided to create pure romance novels? What if Nora Roberts jumped right into science fiction? Those fans might become a bit upset, but it would allow these two authors to reach out into separate cultures. There’s no doubt that sticking to what you know will affect your success. But in the world of writing, does that mean what you know is centered on a target audience?
I know. I have a ton of questions that need answering. In reality, it’s going to be personal experience that winds up helping me discover all of these points. Not everyone will have the same set of circumstances to base their knowledge on. I just hope that maybe I can collect a diverse audience who enjoys reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it.
Letting the Chips Fall Where they May
For now, I am just going to keep writing. I am too new at this to really start worrying about such things. After all, no one really knows who I am yet. So, I really can’t base my future success on what I’ve created over the past couple of weeks. On the other hand, it would be nice to know if I am taking the best course of action as a new author. I would hate to find out later that I should have started out a different way.
Things seem much easier as a ghostwriter. When writing for a client, your success is dependent on writing a short piece that follows his or her guidelines. You don’t necessarily need a great deal of experience in the category as long as you can cover what is required. Perhaps being diverse is what I’ll be remembered for in the grand scheme of things. Still a Jack of All Trades regardless of what I do.
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