It’s time again for my contribution to this month’s #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop where dozens of experienced writers share their experiences. I encourage you to check out their thoughts by clicking on the icon at the end of this post. This month I ask the question: Can an author write across multiple genres and develop a following?
My latest book, At the River’s Edge, is a murder mystery set current-day near my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Prior to this novel, I’d written the Miles Stevens investigative suspense series. This three-book series is based on a CIA agent from a couple decades in the future sent back in time to stop global terrorism: Cyber One (cyber-attacks), Melting Sand (nuclear flare-up), and Gone Viral (viral contamination). I’ve also written three short story collections of eclectic tales and two additional crime/suspense novels set a few years into the future: Better Late Than Ever and Corrupt Connection.
If there’s a common thread in all my novels, it’s suspense. I attempt to build tension early in each novel and then dedicate the rest of the story to disclosing and resolving the conflict. I also include a male and female protagonist in each novel working as a team to thwart evil.
I’ve recently decided I prefer writing murder mysteries, and have already started my second, putting the Miles Stevens series temporarily “on hold.” But can an author write across genres and still build an identity and following with readers?
My short answer is probably not.
It’s tough enough for indie authors to develop a following when they focus on a single genre. Most big-time authors narrow on a niche, and if they ever decide to divert course, they sometimes write under another name. Witness J.K. Rowling’s efforts to step away from YA/Fantasy as Robert Galbraith, crime novelist.
Admittedly, I’m no J.K. Rowling. My following numbers in the hundreds, not hundreds of thousands. Nonetheless, my readers have expectations. And if I ever want to get to thousands of dedicated book buyers, I doubt I can do it writing in multiple genres.
So, where do I go from here?
My plan is to continue to market the Miles Stevens series. I may even add to it if there’s continued interest, but my writing focus going forward will be on suspenseful mystery novels. This is for several reasons:
- At the River’s Edge has sold more copies in the first two months than any of my other titles.
- I also believe mystery and suspense has a wider appeal to both men and women, whereas my Miles Stevens series leans more toward men.
- And most of all, if I were to pick a genre in which to write, it would be mystery novels, and specifically murder mysteries.
Keep a lookout for Butcher Road, the next in what I hope to be a long line of murder mysteries.
To enjoy other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click HERE. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for facilitating this year’s blog. I look forward to 2019. Happy blog hopping!