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 But I’m unpublished!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?