A while ago I wrote a post about the importance of sticking to one genre when writing. READ POST HERE. I don't write in one genre. I also don't read in one genre. I read a variety of books and I want to be able to write a variety of stories.
But in this post I pointed out how switching genres can disappoint readers who signed up to your newsletter while you wrote young adult fantasy, then a few years later you send them an email to announce your new science fiction novel, then send an email to announce your latest supernatural thriller.
That post highlighted to me that I really needed a pen name for some of my books. So I created Jonette Blake, who writes suspenseful mysteries and thrillers, and I moved my supernatural thrillers over to her. It does mean I've had to build up a totally new audience.
The other pro for sticking to the one genre is that I would be able to release more books by the same author and target the same audience and build on the sales over a series of books. That has been he model for quite some time, and an author who genre hops can find it difficult to finish a series or release books in a timely manner. Often there might not even be a release strategy. Books are written when we're in the mood to write that genre, and they come out when they're finished.
But this post is going to be about the Importance of Not sticking to one genre in writing.
Here's why: 2020.
I don't think I need to say anymore. But I will. 2020 has been a topsy turvy year. Nothing has gone to plan. And I have seen a lot of authors who are writing a series in one genre suffering from a steep decline in sales. Suddenly that genre isn't selling (mostly post-apoc because we only need to turn on the TV to see that!).
Whereas, someone like me who genre hops and has three pen names has seen no decline in sales. In fact, my sales have gone up.
Diversity was a strategy I've utilized at SupaNova and ComicCon over the past years. I took all my published books - sci-fi, dystopian, YA fantasy, supernatural thrillers, plus I took along t-shirts and book bags. And each time, I have been lucky that I'd taken a mix of things to sell, because, without the sales of t-shirts or book bags, I wouldn't have made my money back.
My best sellers for 2020 have been my YA fantasy book "The Bird with the Broken Wing", my kid's book "Dog Town", my word search books written as Louise Jean Wray, and my murder mystery written as Jonette Blake. Certainly, nothing apocalyptic is selling, although my space series is starting to gather some interest.
This year it has been vitally important for me to have a diverse catalog. It isn't easy juggling 3 pen names, 3 social media profiles, and 3 websites, but it seems as if it's paying off.