Perks & Challenges of Writing in Multiple Genres

Today I want to talk about the challenges and perks of authors who write for more than one age group. I’ve written for three so far: middle grade, young adult and now in new adult, which is the 18 to 26 year-old set. This seems a natural segue from Julie's post on genre confusions and mash-ups.

Why write in more than one genre or level? The proverbial writing advice is to find your “natural” voice, not only the lyrical/syntax aspect but also the age of the voice. Call me a multiple, but the fact is that my truest expression falls into three categories.

Part of me is that active, prankster-ish ten-year old tomboy, ripping holes in my jeans from roller-skating down crazy steep hills, or making my hamsters ride in plastic jeeps. Another part is definitely lodged in my teens—about 17, where one’s sense of impending freedom is heady and the ability to carve out both an identity and a love relationship explodes in a creative omega point.

Now, a third part has emerged: my twenty-something girl. Maybe it’s about graduating to the next age, expanding the YA self I know so well into the phase of leaving home, setting up an apartment, getting that first crap (or amazing) job or live-in lover. But I don’t think so. It’s that author’s expression, demanding passage.

What about branding? Sure, it’s probably not a wise thing to be all over the map before you build a comprehensive brand. In my case, that would be my YA novels (Refugees, Fireseed One, Ruby’s Fire). But after you have a clear author identity there’s no harm in extending it.
For me, the YA audience is a natural feed-in to my new adult reads. Kids don’t stay 17 forever, right? But there are challenges. New adult lit is steamier; it’s 18+. So, I had a thorny decision to make—keep all my work under one author name and run the risk of having my books banned by high-school librarians. Or create a pen name. Which is what I did. So for NA I’m using the pen name Kitsy Clare (Model Position).

Do you write for more than one age group? Do you have a pen name? Share your experience here.


Genre Confusion

Source: Wikimedia

When people ask what genre I write in, I never really know how to answer the question. The question brings more than a little anxiety, as the honest answer is simply “I don’t know.”

My first book Polar Night is a detective story that features a vampire as its antagonist. My second, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, includes a ghost, but it’s really more of a mystery combined with a love story than a paranormal novel. I would classify both of my books as mash-ups of different genres. But “mixed bag” isn't exactly the answer people are looking for when they ask about genre.

I understand the importance of genre and can’t deny I have sometimes been envious of authors who write in clear-cut genres like science fiction, suspense, romance, or “chick lit.” I've seen authors do brilliant marketing work in creating their brand and platform based around their genre of choice. If I had to pick a brand for myself I suppose something involving a very confused person would be most accurate at this point.

But I also can’t deny that sometimes I wonder why the answer to the genre question can’t simply be “fiction.” When it comes to reading, I've never thought much about genre. If I see or hear about a book that sounds good to me I read it. And I can think of tons of books I've read over the years that don’t seem to fall into any one genre.

One of the things I enjoy about being part of Untethered Realms is that I love that the designation of speculative fiction provides such a big umbrella. I think I have a better answer for the genre question now.

As readers, how important is genre to you? Does it bother you if books fall into more than one category?


How I Got the Local Paper to Run a Story on Me

My local newspaper interviewed me and ran a story on me this past weekend. Here's the link: http://www.bendbulletin.com/home/1762504-151/bend-author-makes-sci-fi-waves

The reporter didn't pick me at random. We met at a meeting of Central Oregon Writers Guild, my local writing group. He was the guest speaker at the meeting, and we ended up having a very intense discussion on publishing. Eight months later, he contacted me about an article.

As any self-respecting author, I jumped at the chance for exposure and publicity.

Was it luck we ended up having that conversation? No. He asked a question and I asserted myself. I love talking about writing and publishing and anything related to it. I don't regret that I did. If we don't become advocates for ourselves, well, no one else is going to do it.

Once I had the interview, I shared the limelight with two of my lovely fans and my local critique group. I won't ever forget that I won't make it anywhere alone. I'm ever so grateful for the wonderful folks I've met along the way - fellow writers and fans.

So get out there and network. Talk to people. Talk to your fans. You never know when opportunity will come along...

What steps have you taken to get out there?

Coming March 2014

Worlds on Edge

War is coming. A horde of merciless aliens poise just beyond the Edge. In a matter of weeks they will devour the worlds.
Racing ahead of the apocalypse, Craze returns to the Backworlds to warn them and plan a defense. Only he can’t go home. Banned from Pardeep Station, he must wage a more urgent battle. His moon is under siege, and his friends are dying.
Bad things come in threes, and the galaxy is no exception. An old enemy returns, attacking moons and defenseless globes, leaving a wake of destruction. Worse than that, they threaten to join forces with the alien horde.
Defeat seems inevitable. Craze may not be able to stop it. Yet home is worth the fight.

 Support a Great Cause - Beyond the Binding

All proceeds of the Composers for Relief album and Beyond the Binding companion ebook will go to Gawad Kalinga (“give care”) and GVSP (Gualandi Volunteer Service Program), to support the relief efforts for victims of the deadliest natural disaster in Philippines’ history, Super Typhoon Yolanda.

 Embark on an exciting journey “Beyond the Binding” of the imagination with 29 authors from across the globe, in a groundbreaking collaboration where music meets fiction. Surrender to soaring compositions as they surge through the veins of every story, capturing the triumphant pulse of the notes in heart pounding sci fi, enchanting fantasy and gripping slices of realism.


Welcome to Did I Price That Right?

Sometimes pricing our work would be easier if we could simply reach up toward the sky and chant some little incantation like, "Dollar sign, cent symbol of ease. Tell me what this ebook should be priced at please." If anyone actually tries this and it works, circle back to me :-)

In reality, pricing takes a great number of things to consider. For example, when I first released Neverlove, I priced it at $2.99. I was a newbie in the industry and didn't want to price it too high. The amount invested for the cover alone could have warranted an initial price of $3.99. Not to mention the time invested in producing a very professional product that could stand toe-to-toe with a traditionally published book (multiple rewrites/revisions, editing, and formatting). Then I heard about the first-in-series strategy. With this option, the author prices the intro book as free or as a 99cent bargain then prices the rest of the series higher. This is dependent, of course, on readers enjoying the first book then wanting and willing to pay more for the next books in the series.


Does this hurt or help? To some readers, setting the price at 99cents may be a detriment because it then falls into the ever-growing pit of 99centers. Also, quality is often linked to price. Being 99cents may be a deterrent instead of the lure to give me a try as a new author.

The price debate is ongoing. $2.99 is referred to as the sweet spot in more instances, $3.99 in others. So what are your thoughts on the higher/lower price = higher/lower quality of the product?

*** I'm still in the process of figuring out if this is working for me. I lowered Neverlove to 99cents and am pricing upward in one dollar increments. Time and a bit of effort will tell the tale. ***