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.