I am writing today about something which has been on my mind for some time now. That is, "Should authors should stick to one genre?"
My opinion is no. Why do I say so? Obviously I am biased because I am an author. I will admit too that I have a desire to write about stories which fall into many different genres. But let's put my aspirations aside for a moment and look at some interesting facts.
We all recognise that we like a specific author for the books they usually write. But many of us do not only read books in one genre or of one author. We read many books in many genres of many different authors.
It thus stands to reason that an author can increase their following by writing books in more than one genre. They may very well be discovered by readers who did not even know they existed before reading their books in the alternate genre they write in.
I read an article that "The Casual Vacancy" was originally published by J K Rowling under a
pseudonym. It subsequently became a best seller after JK Rowling went
public and said that she had written it. It is now published as having
been written by JK Rowling and not under a pseudonym anymore.
Here is an example of loyal readers who bought an authors book in
an alternate genre because they enjoyed the author's writing so much.
What the reasons were for publishing the book under a pseudonym I
do not know. Perhaps it was an experiment to see if the book would be
successful if it was published under another name not associated with
JK Rowling. Even if it wasn't an experiement, it makes a clear case that
authors can write in mutliple genres and be successful.
James Patterson is another author who has crossed genres. He his now writing children's books
aside from his adult fiction. It's an entirely different market but those loyal readers of his
adult fiction who have children, will most likely buy his children's books for their children.
Stephen King is another author who has crossed genres. He diversified from horror to fantasy as well.
We all stand in admiration of entrepreneurs who have their hands in so many different businesses such as Richard Branson and Elon Musk. We need to recognise that authors businesses are their writing. And if they are talented enough to be able to write in multiple genre's they should be welcome to do so. If readers don't like the new genre which the author is writing in then they can simply stick to the genre they like. Each different genre in which an author writes is like a separate business for them.
It may be more difficult for an author who is starting out to write in multiple genres and and perhaps it should be recommended that they keep their genre's separate until they have published at least two or three novels in a specific genre.
I do not have the answer but I would be most interested to see the comments of other authors and readers regarding their opinion of authors crossing genres.