Thursday, March 8, 2018

Writing in More Than One Genre

As I mentioned two posts ago, I will be moderating a panel at The Left Coast Crime Conference this month titled, What Kind of Fool Am I? Writing in More Than One Genre. I imagine I was selected to moderate this panel because my published books include seven geezer-lit mysteries, two paranormal mysteries, a theater mystery, a historical mystery, a sports mystery, a thriller and a non-fiction biography of a World War II prisoner of war.

I have had discussions with other others about writing multiple genres. The basic issue is one of branding, and there are two dimensions to the branding topic. One is if you write a book that includes multiple genres, how do you brand the book? As an example, one of the authors on the panel has a book that includes mystery, history, time travel and romance. On the panel we will explore the question of where this book should be on a shelf in a library or bookstore. For me, my geezer-lit mysteries include romance. I was a member of Romance Writers of America for a time as well as Mystery Writers of America. I classify these books as mysteries with romantic elements.

The other dimension is writing books that represent different genres. Then the question becomes branding the author. One of the other authors on the panel writes romance novels and suspense novels. Some authors tackle this difference by writing under different pen names. British thriller author, John Creasy, wrote crime, science fiction, western and romance novels. He wrote his romance novels under his wife’s name. Another author on the panel writes cozy mysteries and suspense. She writes some of her cozies and suspense under her real name. Does this cause confusion for the reader? My contention is that readers are smart and don’t need to see two different author names for different genres. Just as long as the information about the book is clear, readers will chose authors they like or genres they like.

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