5.03.2008

Thoughts On Multi-Genre

I just shared a lot of the following over at Sexpressions as a comment to today's Post by Rusty Wicks...who posted that he wasn't sure what he wanted to write about today...read the post here...to understand my comment...

But before I get to my comment, I want to explain why I commented the way I did...

I went to a Agent/Writer's Conference over the winter with Xandra Gregory and met with an agent, as did she, we pitched our books...and compared notes on the drive home because we were very "green" and car-pooled. She was understandably upset because the agent told her to pick a genre...she writes several...I have my own VERY STRONG opinion on what she writes best, but usually she's stubborn and insists on focusing on another genre...even though she beats her head against the desk more days than not. She is wonderful at that second genre as well. I'm not saying that it is less, she just seems to struggle more. But, then she has a third genre that she writes and although I don't see it very often...it is astounding...probably better even than the first...but because I rarely see it...I'll never know...

But here's the thing...like Rusty struggling to pick a starting point...and Xandra trying to market herself to an agent and what the agent was trying to tell her. It's easier to market an author once their target audience can be identified...the side benefit is that once a writer picks "their genre" they quickly rise to the occasion and their focus, no longer distracted by other choices, becomes fine-tuned, taking them to excellence...think Hamilton, King, Clancy...they have a target audience.

Not that authors don't write under several, they do...but usually they establish themselves as an author of "X" before they try to also market themselves as an author of "Y".

I know...long post...
Here's my comment that I posted on Sexpression's that led to this post...and please remember it is merely my opinion...

I understand the dilemma...I've had paranormal, vampire, time-travel, and bdsm all brewing at the same time...

then I met with a wonderful editor (St Martin's Press) and tried to pitch myself as a multi-genred author. I was told very kindly to decide who I am as a writer, and to focus on that. A year later I submitted Unholy Promises...and she loved it...she felt it would be a good fit with them...if I changed it to third person. Yikes, ever try to switch a first person, alternating pov to third? I did it. It took a year. I sat down and read it, then immediately trashed it and emailed a "thanks but..." letter. I wanted to market Unholy Promises in its original first person form. I walked away from a brilliant opportunity at St Martins because I believed enough in who I was as a writer to want my work to stand out for what it was, not what someone else wanted it to be.

So, what I'm saying is this...
She gave me the best advice in the world. Pick a genre, fine tune it, market it and most of all believe in it.

Now, when I sit down, I know my genre...and I know the genre that I am the very best at writing...and the stories pour out. Sure, every once in a while, my muse sends me a vampire but I tell her...go find Laurell K Hamilton...she's the vampire girl...I write BDSM Erotica...(sexpressions comment ends here)...

As an aside, the book I decided to not release through St. Martin's... Unholy Promises... will soon be released through Liquid Silver Books and I am very excited about that. You may have noticed the cover art from a previous post...but if not...here it is...just because I like looking at it;)

1 comment:

Xandra Gregory said...

I'm coming to think that it's got everything to do with where a writer is in her journey through understanding storytelling. I look at what I write now and what I wrote then and think, "there's just still so much I don't know about writing" and it's humbling. Sometimes we might be too quick to define ourselves early on. Right now, writing in different genres is giving me an education as to the deeper, more universal story I'm trying to tell, that goes beyond (or underpins) genre.

It's painful, but educational...which is why I see you laughing your butt off all the way from down here. :P