I'm guilty of doing this. I have dozens of stories (actually I think it was 35 at last count) in a variety of genres. I pretty much jot down any and every story idea that passes through my mind. No, I don't always finish them, but I plan to. Don't give me that look.
Then I started wondering about what would happen when I became published. Would I be able to sell all those stories? Would a publisher/agent want to represent all these different genres?
So I hopped online and did some research. Asked around. And much to my disappointment--the answer was usually no. Talk about a killjoy. I know about half y'alls hearts just broke, and I'm right there with you. Believe me. But let's talk about WHY not.
Authors, especially new ones, should pick a genre--a niche--and stick with it. Build a career on it. There is a reason this advice is the one most widespread. Agents work hard to get you published and once that happens, the publisher will expect (if your book does well) more titles from you in the genre that agent sold them on. It won't go well with your agent if you send him/her another novel--in an entirely different genre. It doesn't matter how good it is.
Yes, you'd think agents would be thrilled to represent that talented of an author. That they'd go running to the biggest publisher and exclaim, "I've got gold!"
But the truth is they don't want that. And here's why.
Let's say Imma Writer writes a horror novel. It's perfect. Frightening, bloody, and just screams #1. She gets an agent (Heesah Agent) who agrees to represent her. He finds her a publisher and soon her books sells 30,000 copies. The people and publisher demand more. So Imma sends a brand new MS to her agent--an erotic thriller.
Hold the phone!
Heesah Agent is not happy. This is a problem.
What do you think those 30,000 copies sold mean? That her book was a hit? Well, yes. Duh. But it also means that she has 30,000 people who liked her book enough to buy it and are waiting for more. Another horror. If you switch genres after your first book, you are pretty much throwing away the audience you've already built.
This was disappointing to me because I have so many wonderful stories in all sorts of genres. So hearing that made me realize--I gotta pick just one. One!
But then there are authors who have managed to make successful careers in multiple genres. Of course, they are big time sellers like Nora Roberts...but it is possible.
So what do you think? Do you/have you written in multiple genres? Do you think it's possible or that it should/shouldn't be done?
Who knows. Maybe you don't agree with a word in this blog post. :)