The Multi-Genre Author

Since I signed my first publishing contract, I’ve been placed into certain categories. Most of my short stories were young adult coming of age. Some were simply entertaining tales of adventure. Others were romantic suspense, a mystery, or even a psychological thriller. Then I moved from shorts to novels, maintaining the same genres, and adding sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, historical, westerns, and military.

I never thought anything about jumping genres, or even combining them. I write the story as it demands to be written. To my amazement, I soon found that some individuals didn’t believe an author should write outside their genre. That stupefied me because prior to writing fiction, most of my writing was technical, during my years in the Air Force. So, one has to ask, exactly what type of writer was I?

To most publishers, I was non-classifiable. They don’t understand an author who can write in multiple genres, or even combine genres in the same book. They want you to stick true to a single genre, no matter what the story demands.

Did that type of bias stop me?

Absolutely not. I forged forward, seeking a publisher who recognized that a multi-genre author is to their benefit. Multi-genre authors often have a wider perspective on their worlds. They aren’t afraid to add a bit of action and adventure to sci-fi. Their military based tale will have a strong romance element. A young adult coming of age story can also be a convincing romance. The same can be said for a western that incorporates elements of action/adventure, history, military, and a bit of romance.

What can multi-genre authors bring to a publisher? They are more diverse. We see the story from so many angles that we work harder to make them work. We’re open to trying new things, refreshing our fan base with more people who will seek out our other novels.

The biggest thing a multi-genre author is not is confused. I’ve never once been baffled by my books. The only problem I’ve ever had is getting the characters to quiet down long enough to work in those new elements and then to tweak them so they work. 


Marie Lavender said…
Thank you for this inspiring take on tackling mulitple genres, K.C.! I often feel that I cross so many genres in my writing, that no one can keep me straight. One only has to look at the 'projects' page on my website to see how nutty I am.

I had one professor who told me not to limit myself to romance. Oddly, I've found that I haven't. And the genre is evolving constantly so we can pick up other elements within it. The same can be said for thrillers. I see more paranormal thrillers on the market now than there used to be, and I find that encouraging.

Yeah, some publishers may be annoyed by authors who dance around in different genres, but I see nothing wrong with it. Our versatility is a good thing.
KC Sprayberry said…
Exactly. We're told to be ourselves, to write what we feel. I can't help jumping genres. It adds so much to the story.