Indie Life: I’m Still A New Author…In Two Genres

Welcome to Indie Life! This is a chance for indie authors to post about being an independent author, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints. We’re posting the second Wednesday of every month. To join us, go here.

This month I’d like to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of publishing in multiple genres, as well as my general sense of author “newness,” though I’m coming up on two years since publishing my first book. 
One major benefit of being an indie author is that there’s nothing tying you to producing work in a single genre. You make that decision. For myself, I’ve published two novellas in my Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, and the first book in my Foulweather Twins fantasy series. I made the decision to publish simultaneously in both genres. (I was of sound mind at the time, if you’re wondering. Ha!) I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I think it’s important to realize both how far I’ve come, and how far I have left to go to be the author I want to be.

I’m truly in love with both of the series I’ve introduced. Sequels are in the works in both cases. It just happens that my series are in different genres. In my mind, that’s both good and not so good. It’s good because I’m showing my versatility. I don’t read just one type of fiction. I read pretty much anything that includes a touch of fantasy, and even non-fantasy fiction (on occasion). Why would I write just one type of fantasy? Over time, I’ll build a library of both paranormal romance and fantasy…and I’ll probably sneak in other odd-ball works.

So, why is it bad to be in multiple genres? Well — I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s bad. Look back, I didn’t say bad. I said “not so good.” Fine distinction, that. 🙂

Writing in multiple genres can be a negative when you’re unknown. There. I said it. I believe over time it will become far more positive than negative. But for now I have to work on building, fostering, networking; with two distinct audiences. There’s probably going to be some crossover, but I’m not sure how much. In the meantime, it takes me longer to get books out in each genre because of my work in the other genre, and with only three books out I can’t keep a reader engaged for very long to build that relationship that will keep them coming back. For readers who are only looking for PNR, I have two titles (three, very soon!). For fantasy readers, or young readers, I have exactly one title.

A few months ago, I would have said that in ten years I’ll have more fantasy titles than paranormal romance. I’m not so sure now. Why would I want to predict what all of those years will bring? That’s the joy of this ride — figuring it out as we go. One thing that made me question that assumption, that I’m more of a fantasy author than a paranormal romance author, is that I’ve conceptualized a new PNR series. No groaning, people! I’m not writing it yet. I won’t start until both the Children of the Sidhe series and the Foulweather Twin series are DONE. I’m not that crazy. But the point is, I have new ideas for PNR. Exciting ideas!

Some questions for you, fellow indies: Where do you stand on publishing in multiple genres (mostly positive, or mostly negative)? When does the newbie shine start to rub off an author? Is this a real condition, or is it all about perception? In ten years, will I actually feel experienced, or is that even possible with the constantly morphing landscape of publishing (and life)?

Remember to check out the other Indie Life posts; this is a blog hop!

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

8 comments on “Indie Life: I’m Still A New Author…In Two Genres

  1. I also write in multiple genres. I have several paranormal romances, one fantasy romance, and one horror. And my current WIP is horror. I don’t think fantasy and paranormal are that far apart as genres, so I think your readers will embrace both if they like your writing. It’s not like it’s Lord of the Rings type fantasy. LOL. I wondered about using a different pen name for horror, but then decided that was too much trouble and horror isn’t THAT far removed from paranormal, especially if the paranormal romance has elements of horror. There are such fine lines sometimes. And that’s the beauty of being an indie. You can cross ALL of the lines if you want to.

    I also keep telling myself that Michael Crichton wrote in several different genres that were completely unrelated, and he was very successful. 🙂

  2. I think it’s important to establish that you’re not a one trick pony early on. Many authors establish themselves in just one genre and, then, their audience won’t accept a switch later on once they’re established. (It happens in movies and music and, well, everything.) It’s good to show up front that you can do more than one kind of thing.

  3. Great post! I’m all for publishing in multiple genres. (I should be, I have books in suspense, mystery, New Adult, Young Adult sci-fi and fantasy.) I think it gives you more of an opportunity to REACH any kind of audience. I published my YA sci-fi first and then my Romantic Suspense. It was my Romantic Suspense that “hit” first. Then I wrote a YA urban fantasy (Snow White becomes a vampire) and THAT ONE really took off. One thing I do have in all my books ~ and it’s what I use for branding ~ is romance. My branding tagline is: Love is always the answer.

    So if you like writing is both genres find a common thread between them, whether it’s magic or they’re sexy, steamy, or mysterious, and brand your books that way. =)

  4. Hi, J.R.,
    I say do what works for you. I write Romantic Suspense, Women’s Fiction and middle grade novels. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but I think if you keep adding to your books in each category things will work out great. People who read one of my romance novels tend to read everything I write anyway.

  5. Write all the genres! Then you will get all the readers! And probably cake!

    I have to agree that paranormal and fantasy aren’t that far apart. Plus, if someone likes your writing, they like it no matter what genre it’s in. So plenty of crossover.

    I’ve got no solution for you on the newness issue. I’m still neck deep in newness. Maybe use it to your advantage because it means you’re highly adaptable and can do crazy things like bust old-fashioned rules about sticking to one genre. And then steal all their cake and run.

  6. I’m also in multiple genres, so I say write whatever stories want OUT! I have for sale now: a duology (two books) of paranormal, which I don’t tag PNR because the romantic elements are only one sub-plot, several short classic fantasy works, a short SF piece, and an anthology of SF and Fantasy. I have a YA contemporary fantasy trilogy plotted out, but I might have to start writing full-time before I can get to it, and a zombie story in the works. (Everyone has to do at least one zombie story, right?)

    If I’m primarily a Fantasy writer, though, it’s only because I’ve had the most response (i.e. sales) there. 😉

  7. Oh! I’m so glad I read this post. I’m about to do exactly what you have done. I’ve already got a PNR full length novel, plus a novella in the same series out, but I’m in the process of polishing off and publishing a fantasy novel. Maybe I’m digging my own grave, but I hope not! Like you, I love pretty much anything with a fantasy element. Good luck to both of us I say. I’m off to check out your books 🙂

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