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At What Point Can Authors Cross Over to Write Another Genre?

Hi Jessica, I had a quick question. Would you recommend an author stick to a specific genre (and get established in that genre) before even considering crossing over? I’m asking because, while I like reading (and writing) YA thrillers / mysteries, I’m also fond of YA contemporaries, especially those with romance in them. My WIP is a YA contemporary (diverse). And I have a couple of other fledgling projects that are YA mysteries, all diverse. Should I stick with one genre? Thanks.

This question came through on the blog comments last week. Since I know not everyone reads the comments I like to occasionally pull out a good question and create an entire post. That and it fills another day of posts for me 😉

If I were your agent the answer to this question would depend entirely on where you are with your career, what your plan is for your future as a writer, how fast you write and how different those genres are. In other words, the answer to this question is going to be different for every author.

If you have an interest in both contemporary YA and suspense/mystery YA I don’t think you’re necessarily treading in two different genres. I think maybe two different sub-genres of the same genre, but you are still generally getting the same audience and being shelved in the same section of the bookstore. In your case, I think you’re probably fine expanding into both areas and finding your strengths.

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3 comments

  1. I’ve been wondering the same thing, although I’m crossing from adult fantasy to upmarket. I’d like the fantasy to turn into a series. I figure since I’m not published yet, and still on the quest for an agent, I might as well write what I feel like. But I do worry that should I find an agent, he/she might not want to rep all my stuff.

  2. One of my favorite authors writes all over the place. I LOVE IT!!! Are we allowed to name drop? MEGAN HART!!!

    Okay sorry. I’m a huge fan girl of, uh, as if you couldn’t tell. Some of the best fun I’ve had is mixing genre’s in one story. I’m sure its a no-no, but its SO much fun!

    Love your posts. This industry seems to change each blink of an eye and when those in the know share their wisdom, its such a gift.

    Thanks!

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