Digger’s Tips for Indie Authors-2

Write what you write best—If you’re really good at writing romance novels, it’s probably not a good idea to venture too far into other genres. If you’re a technical writer or good at writing non-fiction, don’t think that you can write a successful romance novel the first time out of the gate. This is similar to the simple business concept of specialization.  If your business specializes in making widgets, don’t try to make bread.  Doctors who specialize in dermatology don’t practice birthing babies.  You specialize in what you know best.  Zane Grey wrote westerns, not legal or political thrillers.  John Grisham writes novels with a legal theme, not westerns.  There’s a bit of a steep learning curve to go from writing one genre to writing another.  Readers generally want to associate you with one genre, but that’s not to say that you can’t stray into other areas.  Four of my five novels are mysteries although they have different themes.  Murder at the Ocean Forest is a period piece.  The Versailles Conspiracy is a modern day political thriller.  The Maynwarings is set in the Old West.  The House of Dark Shadows is a psychological thriller.  There is certainly a mystery element to all of them.  My only foray into another genre was with Conversations on the Bench, which is a motivational or inspirational novel.  It was a total change of pace for me to write an inspirational novel, and it was a steep hill to climb to be able to do it.  First, I had to convince myself it was a project that I both wanted and felt capable of completing.  Second, I had to remind myself that it was based on real people and actual events—not what I made up with my vivid imagination.  Third, I had to do some research to see what elements went into writing a motivational or inspirational book.  Then, I had to actually write the book.

I’m not trying to discourage any indie author from trying different genres.  If you’re willing to climb that steep hill and accept responsibility for the outcome and any fan fallout of moving into a new genre, I would encourage you to go for it.  What you don’t want to happen is for readers to be unable to identify you with a particular genre.  If you’ve written a couple of romance novels then decide to try a mystery, for example, mystery readers may not be willing to give you a try because they associate you with being a romance writer.  The same goes for romance readers.  You don’t really want to lose your identity as an author of certain books and genres.  If you have a formula that’s working for you, it’s probably not a good idea to mess with it.  Remember what happened when Coke tried to change their formula?

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