Let's face the cold, hard facts. Writers want to be paid for their work. Most of us don't make a fortune doing what we do and few of us are lucky enough to be able to write full time. Many writers work day jobs, deal with family stuff and still manage to pound the keys every night in the vague hope that someday they might be able to make enough from writing to do it full time. With the accessability of ebook readers more and more are buying ebooks and loving them. One would think this would mean huge paychecks for writers out there but that's just not the case. New e-pubs are springing up every day and even most big New York publishing houses are getting into the act by releasing their titles in e-format along with traditional print.
So what happened to all that money we thought we'd make from this explosion? I figure the flooding of the market with ebooks is the culprit along with a sagging economy and other factors. This has been a topic of conversation on a number of loops lately with many writers wondering how to increase sales.
The discussion of 'genre jumping' is very interesting. Readers are loyal to particular authors knowing that when they pick up this writer's book they will get something specific. If you buy Nora Roberts you pretty much know you will get romantic suspense. Sherillyn Kenyon and JR Ward? You'll get paranormal. Readers have expectations. Let's face it. There is only one Nora and we aren't her. :-) We must build name recognition and a fan base and work hard doing it. I write paranormal/shifters and contemporary, almost all set in Texas. My readers expect that of me and I've been lucky to find a niche that works for me. The question is...if sales begin to slag in those genres is it the smart choice for a writer to go off the carefully plotted chart and write something totally different? Do readers get angry when their favorite writer of romantic suspense suddenly throws a paranormal into the mix?
Writing to market is seen as a big no no in many corners with the thought being loyal readers won't be quick to forgive such a thing. I tend to believe that if a reader likes my work, she'll buy whatever genre I choose to write unless she has a personal dislike of the genre. What do readers want from their favorite authors? A question for the ages. Do they want the safety and predictability of one particular thing or are they a little more adventurous than that? I tend to believe readers are adventurous. We all get in moods and search for particular things to fit. On rainy, chilly days I love to curl up with a regency set historical. Sunny, beach days call for something that makes me laugh and fits my 'sunny' mood. It varies from day to day.
In the end, I believe a writer should write the story that is currently whispering in her ear. Yes, I'll write out of my comfort zone. The book might not sell but still, it stretches me as a writer to do this from time to time. There are other times when I will write a genre that I don't particularly enjoy simply because I know the genre is a big seller. Why not? I like money and don't see it as a sell out to my art. I just don't. I mean, seriously, I'm not writing War And Peace. This isn't brain surgery. Experimentation keeps us creatively charged and that's a good thing.
As a writer, do you genre hop or do you stick with one genre? What about you as a reader? Does it make you angry to see your favorite paranormal author has suddenly whipped out a sassy, romantic comedy? Input requested.