Since becoming an indie author and now a publisher, I’ve gotten a lot of flak about being multi genre. Frankly, it makes me laugh. There are those who say that multi genre can’t work and that, in their experience, readers don’t like it. I’ve had the opposite experience. I’m not sure if it’s that my brand is built around my crazy desire to try anything once or if my readers are as eclectic and gutsy as I am, but I know what works for me and what’s been working for Crazy Ink.
One of our slogans is that it takes all kinds. I believe it. While we all have our favorite genres, I think those who limit themselves to one genre in fear they will upset their readers are missing out. I like to give my readers more credit than that. People are not one dimensional. Some days, we are in the mood for something dark. But other days, we are looking for different. Just like moods, reading tastes can change from time to time and, for me, I have found that most of my readers are willing to follow me on my crazy ride.
I didn’t set out to be multi genre. I did set out to write books that touched people. When I write fiction or step outside my favorite genres, it’s because I’m either in the mood to try something different or want a challenge. One of my favorite things to do is to let readers pick what book I’m writing next and/or use them as sparks to shape a story. By getting readers involved, I’ve found they feel more vested in the work and are happy to help promote and share. But that’s me. And the rumor is that I’m crazy.
I’ve tried all genres. There are some I’m just not good at. Others come naturally. I don’t let that stop me. Instead, I pick up a book in the genres that are more challenging and try to figure out what authors are doing to make that genre work. Overall, I believe this stretches my writing and helps me improve.
At the same time, they say you should write what you know. I agree. Stories based on real-life clients are easiest for me. They practically write themselves and I’ve been told my passion for the work I do translates to the page. I don’t get that kind of feedback in genres I have to work harder at. However, in taking risks and playing with new genres, I’m also finding that I have new favorites. My readers are experiencing this too.
I believe writing is art. It gets messy and it’s all subjective. One day, I might be attracted to something abstract and another day something more realistic. I don’t think there are really any wrong answers. Part of life is trying new things and going where the moment takes you.
From a publishing point of view, by taking submissions in all genres, I’m creating a bigger pool of readers to draw from. One author’s readers will soon become another’s. Because of the support and networking our authors do, they tend to share readers. I’ve watched horror authors pick up paranormal readers and visa versa through readers being brave enough to try something new. I think this is a beautiful thing.
So for those who think multi genre can’t work, well, I disagree and would encourage you to stretch your wings. Give readers and yourself more credit than that. No one I know lives their life in one mood all day every day. Don’t be afraid to play with the words on the page. Like paint on a canvas, you might be surprised what comes up if you just let your imagination run and throw THE CRITIC away…
Happy writing guys. Stay crazy and try new things!