The self-indulgent writer: Label me not!

Brad Meltzer. “When you’re more creatively fulfilled, you’re going to produce better work across the board. And you might find more crossover in your readerships than you might think.”

Writers, just like the stories they tell, don’t always fall neatly into one category. For me, the joy of writing is in the imagining, discovery and creation of narrative. Whether it be a short story, a short or feature screenplay, right through to a full-on novel, it is all about the process of actually pulling together all of the components that make for an interesting, entertaining yarn. The genre of the work is something that happens organically. If it is forced, it fails.

The more traditional road, particularly from a publishing and marketing point of view, seems to be that a writer pick a niche and stick with it. So much easier to market a writer of romance, or horror or crime or fantasy, or westerns or whatever! However, I think I would find it difficult to restrain myself to write in one particular genre. I like to create supernatural worlds, but I also like to write straight drama, and children’s fantasy – and – I like to write for film. So why label me one way or another? Do I have to compartmentalise each of the areas of my creative work? Can’t I be all these things? And if I can, what should I call myself? Something that is inclusive of all the crossovers?

Yes, I could consider launching pseudonyms for different genres. Successful authors seem to manage this quite well, (J.K. Rowling aka Robert Galbraith, Anne Rice aka A.N. Roquelaure, John Banville aka Benjamin Black, Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb) but without the massive spin machine of a major publisher/agent at the helm, that would seem exhaustive – writers are already marketing themselves more and more – managing those multiple creative personality platforms might be taking it too far for most of us!

In the separate and yet converging worlds of traditional publishing, indie-publishing, self-publishing and assisted-publishing, building an online [and off ] platform for your work is quite the humungous task – and finding your audience is just as gargantuan as the discerning Reader – thank goodness – has more choice and access than ever about what genre and format they choose to spend their hard-earned cash.

So, can I be a self-indulgent writer, writing what I love, and still expect to find a place in an already swamped marketplace? Or do I need a niche/label to succeed?

Answers on a postcard…or a poem…or an essay…or a short story…or…I think you get the drift.


Caroline’s debut novel, Arkyne, Story of a Vampire is available as an ebook and in paperback format. Her new novel, LADY BETH will be released shortly, and she is currently working on a children’s book.

16 thoughts on “The self-indulgent writer: Label me not!

  1. mrsmmr says:

    Isn’t there a quote from a famous philosopher that states”once you label me you negate me” ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindsayjsedgwick says:

    I had that very issue with my first meeting with my first agent: I said I loved to write tv series, features, for kids, books, plays, radio plays – in short everything but short stories. He needed to market me and so I pigeon-holed myself for him into screenwriter, film & TV so he could sell me; but kept writing everything else on the side. I think it was to do with the perception of showing how seriously you wanted to write – for that to be believed, you had to be focussed.


    • There is a certain amount of discipline required to keep focused alright. Could be all too easy to flit from one project to another and finish none of them! I like the idea of having varied projects to look forward to as I think I could get very bored if I just wrote in the same style/genre all the time. Go to wherever the muse is beckoning, I say!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindsayjsedgwick says:

        I’m the same but then every so often, you just have to put everything aside to finish one of the larger projects. My muse gets easily distracted though by new and shiny things. Touch of the magpie about her. Just setting up a website on here, finally. Scary and fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Congrats with the website – can’t wait to see it! And, because of the richness and diversity of your work, Lindsay – your website will be super interesting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindsayjsedgwick says:

        Too kind. I used wordpress but I don’t seem to be able to update the pages sometime so need to put a bit of effort into that. Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway are going to do a launch of The Angelica Touch on Feb 8th, in case you need an excuse to go West!? x

        Liked by 1 person

  3. debbiejinks says:

    I definitely see where you’re coming from with this, but being very new to fictional writing, I’m playing it safe and sticking to one genre for now. I enjoyed reading your post though.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lindsayjsedgwick says:

    Just realised I was logged in under a different name – Lindsayjauthor – so now I have to re-follow you methinks!


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