Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Publishing Survivor

I've been thinking about what Eileen's agent told her to put Eileen's fears of seeming unfocused as a writer to rest. Jumping genres is what publishing survivors do. I really like that. I've been looking at all the romantic suspence, historical and contemporary authors jump from the genre that made them famous into YA and paranormal - and admitedly I've been thinking that they did it either for the cash grab, or because thier numbers were down. And perhaps all of that is true - but in reality, I imagine those authors looked at the chance to try something new with a giant sigh of relief. Or they had an idea that just wouldn't go away and didn't fit into what had given them legions of fans.

How many crime scenes can one person have in them? How many ballroom scenes? After so many years of writing serial killer books I imagine anyone would look to clear their brains and write zombie books for kids or something similar.

We often talk about writing book and then should it sell having to write a bunch more - the same but different. And perhaps we can think down the road for a series and perhaps another series, but I have no idea of what it's like to sit down to book 30 and try to think of a new way for two people to have a conversation about how terrible thier mother's are. That just made me sick to my stomach.

So, maybe people are jumping to YA and Paranormal to make some money or because thier numbers were slipping or maybe they just wanted to do something different. Something all of us take for granted - not that I ever do anything different. But I'm going to. Someday.

So what about you? Have you jumped around? Stayed in the same genre you started? Where do you see yourself jumping?

14 comments:

Eileen said...

I've jumped for so many reasons. I jumped because chick lit died a tragic public death. I jumped because I had an idea I wanted to explore. I'm jumping now because I feel like I might have something important to show people.

I think jumping into paranormal or YA at this point probably wouldn't necessarily be lucrative (unless you already have a big following). My guess is that those genres are getting crowded.

So where to jump? I think you really have to look inside yourself rather than externally.

Kathy Holmes said...

I was kinda surprised to hear about people jumping to YA and paranormal now. Are they still that hot? Anyway, neither are for me, but I tend to write cross-genre - a chick lit heroine with a romance and a bit of mystery thrown in - lol! So, yes, I've tried quite a few things, in search of my genre, but not because they were hot. Maybe I should have. :)

Sinead M said...

Hopping only works if you really get the genre and your voice works for it.

There were a few authors trying to fit into a genre that didn't really work for them and the books read really flat.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I agree. I think Jayne Ann Krentz always explains this best when she talked about switching from paranormal/fantasy (which almost killed her career) to historical romance.

Her "story" was marriage of convenience. All she did was change the setting of it.

I try to think the same way. I write "reluctant heroines".

Really doesn't matter where they are set. But as I get into editing my WIP - I might start worrying if my voice is a good fit for the period I'm writing in.

Eileen said...

Oooh, I think Sinead and Steph are really hitting the proverbial nails on their pointy little heads.

Our voices can fit in a variety of genres, but probably not all of them. I can NOT imagine me writing anything historical. My voice is too slangy, too contemporary. But within contemporary? I have lots of places I can go.

Eileen said...

Oh, and could we have a Gloria Gaynor shout out in here somehwere?

At first I as afraid. I was petrified . . .

Maureen McGowan said...

I've already jumped so much, it's like my so-called career has been on a trampoline...

But I do think that to survive in publishing you need to be flexible. I don't think that means writing in a genre you don't enjoy reading or blindly following trends... But understanding the market and being willing to adapt, is important. At least I hope.

(Says the girl who has written two a young-skewing YA fantasies and an erotica short story in the past year...)

Maureen McGowan said...

Kathy and Eileen, I think you're right that YA and paranormal are getting crowded... (it's the terror I live with daily) but they're both still very hot.

And both Sinead and I are praying that YA editors keep buying for a while.

Eileen said...

For a little while, I was trying to figure out what the Next Big Thing would be. I was convinced it was going to be angels. Now I'm not so sure.

Regardless I've given it up. Even if I could figure it out, I don't think I'm fast enough to write to a trend. We have to write what's inside us, what feels true to us. I love the idea that Steph is always writing the reluctant heroine, but putting her in different environments and times. I write healing stories. Can't seem to get away from it.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, even JR Ward's angel books don't seem to be hitting lists like her vampire books...

But I recently learned of a debut author who sold a new series that features winged vampires...

Donna Cummings said...

I've written in different subgenres, starting in historical romance and moving into contemporaries, and back again. :) I never really PLANNED to write in certain subgenres, but the idea came to me as that particular one.

I'm intrigued by the thought of writing a particular "story" and just changing the setting. I'm going to go analyze my stories now to see if I have a recurring theme I didn't know about!

Molly O'Keefe said...

You guys are right - the key to jumping is core story and voice - but the key to jumping successfully was also in Krentz's talk - knowing, understanding and appreciating the rules and expectations of where you're jumping too.

Sinead's flat comment can be explained by a failure of jumping without understanding... and voice.

Kwana said...

Though I have not sold I've jumped around mainly because I have many ideas and they jump. I can't seem to hold keep my mind in one genre.

Clarissa Southwick said...

Great blog. I do jump around just to keep myself interested. I suppose someday I may have to settle down and "marry" a genre, but for now I'm having fun playing the field.

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