Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just In Case I Wasn't Neurotic Enough...

Last week I had conversations with two different agents. Each of them asked me, if I had to choose one of my romance subgenres to stick with, which would it be (i.e., straight contemporary, light paranormal, chick lit mystery). In other words, pick one subgenre and stick with it? I confess I was taken aback. My answer went something like, "Uh...I don't…gosh, contemporary? Uh, with a twist, er-umm, I never...hmm...duh..."

Brilliant. What a dork.

To complete my misery, I also ran across an agent blog that honed in on the issue and gave it a name. Genre-Hopping. Ouch. Just when I thought it was safe to sneak off and work on my young adult paranormal vampire princess novel, I discover I’m stepping into some potentially disastrous muck.

So what’s the deal? Genre-hopping? Yikes. But I’m unpublished! Don’t I have an excuse? First off, I write fast, so I’m always trying something new—still in the genre, but maybe adding a paranormal twist to this one or a bit of suspense to that one. It all depends on the story that comes into my head. I’ve been writing for a number of years so yes, I’ve experimented with different subgenres, trying to find the style of writing that best suits my voice and the stories I want to tell.

And when I DO get published, I hope I’ll continue to work in at least two of those subgenres, ideally with two different publishing houses, just as a number of my published friends do. I figure it’s a matter of survival, both creatively and monetarily.

So in a burst of optimism, I’m choosing to believe that I am not the problem. I am not a genre-hopper (sounds like an eight-legged freak, doesn’t it?). A genre-hopper jumps on a trend—say, urban fantasy—and writes the book, gets it sold, realizes she hates writing urban fantasy and goes back to writing historical romance (for instance), then wonders why her editor and agent are gnashing their teeth and why her readers have deserted her, then wonders why her career is in the toilet.

I swear, that’s so not me! Okay, young adult paranormal vampire princesses aside, I don’t jump on trends. In fact, I’m normally so far behind the latest trend it’s embarrassing. Take bell bottoms. Are they in or out? Platforms? Hell, I don’t know. Viking romance? I don’t know! I’m starting to sweat. Is this a test? I don't feel well...

Do you genre-hop? How’s that working for you?


Blogger Maureen Child said...

Nope, I don't get it. Genre hopping is exactly as you called it, running around in circles, writing EVERYTHING in the hopes something will hit. But writing in a couple or even three genres that you love, isn't hopping! That's just good sense!! Wider audience, more opportunities for sales, and keeping your writing strong by pushing yourself......I say cheers to the Vampire Princess!

8:57 AM  
Blogger Michele Cwiertny said...

Hi Kate!

Right now, I'm writing historicals, but that doesn't mean I want anyone telling me that I can ONLY write historicals. Uh, no. I know I've got a few paranormals and contemporary romances in me as well. Down the line, I want to be able to write those stories...Perhaps my voice is stronger in those genres. But how will I know unless I try?

You're so talented. I'm sure you'll have no problem focusing on more than just one. Besides, I'm dying to hear more about the Vampire Princess!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Dana Diamond said...

You crack me up!

And this was a great post. I've been thinking about this myself.

I don't know...*is* it genre-hopping to want to write humorous women's fiction and thrillers that may or may not have a paranormal/fantasy element for both adults and YAs?

Oh, and btw, platforms *are* back in. I saw it on GMA this morning.

:) d

8:40 PM  
Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Oh, no. I never genre hop. Like to read my Viking romances? They came out in Silhouette Special Edition. All five people who read them, adored them....

11:56 AM  
Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Hi guys! Hi, Maureen! I guess as long as you're loving the genre you're writing in, it shouldn't be a problem, right?

Michele, I think you're exactly right. You want to try to find your strongest voice so you keep experimenting. Plus, if the stories are in your head, you've gotta let them out!

Dana! LOL....thanks for that fashion update! You're too cute!

Hey, Chris, I read your Vikings!! I loved them!!


1:21 PM  
Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Okay, now I'm posting twice. I know I'll get the hang of this someday....

Kate (wearing the big "L" on forehead)

2:00 PM  

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