Genre Loyalty?

Over the summer, Rob Cornell, a writer I very much enjoy, posed a question to his followers on FB and Twitter. He wanted to know if readers would read anything a favorite author wrote, or if they only read a specific genre by that specific author. According to responses, followers prefer an author to stick to one genre or if they need to write something different, that they use a different name. Cornell himself wrote under a pen name in a different genre (the name and title of which I can’t find for the life of me, sorry) last year, and from what I understand it was received rather well.

As a reader, if I find an author I like I will read everything and anything they have written. Know why? Simply because the quality of writing is there regardless of the genre. Michael Edward writes primarily in supernatural fiction, but he published a non-supernatural fiction book (Lost Within Many) and it was amazing. It felt and read the same – which is what I look for in an author who writes in multiple genres. If I like what you write in one genre, I’ll give you a shot in another.

The writer in me hopes readers will overlook the genre-jumping and enjoy whatever I write. Timing and The Lady and Her Lord are relationship-based fiction pieces but with decidedly different twists. EQ and Rising also have romantic tones, but that isn’t the primary focus. And Cravings? Well, Cravings is totally different. As is Hello. Those 2 were mostly inspired by my experiences, some more prevalent and on the surface than others. The voices in them will be varied, simply because they come from a different place than the “real” fiction pieces. If anything, the personality in them should be more appealing. 

There is a dilemma with Cravings, since I brought it up. There are roughly 20 pieces designated to be in it, but not all are the deep, dark psychological mess I intended. Some are about love, need and desire. It’s like I have 2 cake mixes: chocolate and yellow. Dark and light. I could make 2 cakes, or go wild and make a large marble cake. Maybe add some frosting. That’s why I’m dragging my heels with it. I’m confuzzled.

Just had a realization hit me, so I’m going to share it with you. There’s an ultra short in Cravings which reads incredibly similar to Shaun Allan‘s The House on the Moor (part of the Dark Places collection).  It’s all of maybe 50 words out of 1,000, but it’s enough to bother me. I need to fix that or I wouldn’t feel right about publishing it.

Ok. Back to the original topic. What do you guys and gals think? Do you prefer a writer stick to one genre, or does it really matter? If so, why?

*Currently reading: Mary Elizabeth Coen’s Love & the Goddess and Michael R Hicks’ In Her Name: First Contact.

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6 Responses to Genre Loyalty?

  1. Bailey Jackson says:

    As a reader, I expect authors to stick to one genre, but I don’t get offended if they don’t. I might not read their writings in another genre, especially if it’s one I don’t particularly enjoy, but I don’t feel betrayed or anything haha.

  2. MainerChick says:

    I’ll read anything by a writer I like. Diversity is the spice of life & literature. 🙂
    I’d opt for the marble cake. 🙂 Keep people guessing on what part they’re going to get on the next page.

  3. dcardiff says:

    I’m reading, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. Concerning genre he has written horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. He says, “I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.”

    He has also written under the name Richard Bachman. “I did that because back in the early days of my career there was a feeling in the publishing business that one book a year was all the public would accept.” ~ Dennis

    • jmlibby says:

      Huge King fan, over here. He does a damn good job melding genres and the public doesn’t seem to mind. I’ve read a lot of his work, mostly the horror stuff, but I don’t mind if he veers off that path. If he decided to write a romance novel I’d probably read it simply because the man can WRITE. Going to pick up this memoir to learn more – thank you for sharing it!

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