Becoming a Cross-Genre Author: What You Need to Know
I’ve encountered some authors that are cross-genre, meaning that they write and self-publish books in multiple genres. While this certainly is a testament to the breadth and flexibility of their writing skills, it can present a host of challenges for their book promotion and sales efforts.
Different Genres, Different Markets
One of the biggest issues is that the markets for each book genre could be completely different. It’s not like publishing multiple books to the same market. It could easily double marketing costs since the marketing is completely separate for each. Authors may also not be equipped or experienced to do marketing for both, even if they have the writing skills for both.
Another issue that arises is that cross-genre authors may not want people to know they also write in another genre. This is especially the case for taboo or controversial topics such as erotica, politics, or religion. If their main fan base objects to this alternate genre, it could alienate readers.
Some deal with the issue by using pseudonyms, or pen names, for the alternate genre. But there’s always a possibility that their identity could be revealed.
Another question comes up regarding copyright registration. A copyright can be registered under a pseudonym. But there are pros and cons to doing that. Authors should discuss their options with an attorney to protect their identity and their work.
One thing that authors who use a pen name can do to help separate their markets on Amazon is to set up multiple author pages through Author Central, one for each pseudonym. Separate websites, domain names, and social media profiles for each genre’s books also help keep the genres separated, even if these do increase costs.
Assessing Your Potential of Self-Publishing Alternate Genre Books
Before diving into the wonderful world of whatever alternative writing and publishing adventure intrigues you, here are some questions to determine if you’re ready for it.
What would it cost to market to multiple markets?
Should your multiple genres be dramatically different, you could anticipate at least doubling your marketing spend in dollars, time, and effort.
How skilled and experienced are you to both write and market for an alternate genre?
Inexperienced authors can get disillusioned and disappointed when an alternate genre’s market doesn’t respond positively and immediately to their work. It could be due to lack of talent and marketing expertise for the other genre. Take time to gain knowledge of the other genre’s market before making a book writing and publishing commitment to it.
Are you just sick of your primary genre?
Even if successful, after writing one type of book for a very long time, boredom can set in, making a dramatic shift in writing focus appealing. Take a moment before you pivot to consider that you just might need a writing break. Or you might just need to explore other paths within your primary genre.
Is the appeal of the secondary genre purely financial?
Seeing other authors who are successful in another genre can make you wonder if you could be successful there, too. But those other authors may have superior talent and extensive experience in this arena and a well-established following that has led to their success. Starting out from point zero could take years to achieve what they have. Quick financial success from self-publishing anything is rare.
How would it impact your life and your work if your pseudonymous cover was blown? Is it worth the risk?
Public, or even private, embarrassment could result from a reveal of your identity for writing and publishing a taboo or controversial book under a pen name. Friends, family, and followers could also feel that you’ve lied to them, and they may wonder what else you might be doing or hiding. Regardless of how careful you might be, there’s always the possibility that this could happen. Prepare yourself for that eventuality.
All this may sound like advice to stick with your primary genre even if it’s no longer satisfying. It’s not! It is, however, a call to make thoughtful decisions about your self-publishing career and investments.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2019 Heidi Thorne