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Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

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Offline JMac Reading
05 Oct 2014, 04:54 PM | Post: #11

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

(05 Oct 2014 02:46 PM)Scribbler Wrote: Wrote:  Do you think a change of title may help, Julie? A 'chicken' to me is a quirky, egg-laying, wildfowl thingy, but if you have a look at 'chicken' in the Urban Dictionary you'll see it can mean something entirely different.  Undecided
Oh dear, I'm so out of touch! I had no idea! I chose the title because of the layers of meaning - the real chickens in the story (they are rescue hens and kind of symbolic because of that), the idea of chicken meaning cowardly and because of the expression 'chickens coming home to roost.' The main character's past catches up with him at the end of the book. I didn't know it also had drug and other meanings. Do you think a large number of my potential readership would know that and be put off because of it? Nobody I know has said anything, and that includes quite a lot of people younger than me, but maybe they didn't know either. I could change the title, but I actually had the title before I started the book, which is unusual for me!
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Offline Kath Middleton Reading Hell, yes!
05 Oct 2014, 04:59 PM | Post: #12

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

'Layers' of meaning! Hehe! I can't see it putting anyone off. The blurb says what it's about. I've occasionally started with a title too!
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Offline JMac Reading
05 Oct 2014, 05:01 PM | Post: #13

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

Thanks for all those responses. I agree I am not going to write anything remotely worth reading if I don't like it myself, and I wasn't thinking of going down that route. I will probably carry on doing what I've done so far, and writing the stories I want to write. I suppose I'm just trying to tease out how it all works, partly because I think Chickens is actually a better book than Deceiving Ellie, but maybe it's something so complex nobody will ever really understand it.
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Offline JMac Reading
05 Oct 2014, 05:02 PM | Post: #14

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

(05 Oct 2014 04:59 PM)Ignite Wrote: Wrote:  'Layers' of meaning!  Hehe! I can't see it putting anyone off. The blurb says what it's about. I've occasionally started with a title too!
Oh Kath! I didn't even see that! Must be having a bad day!
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Offline Scribbler Reading TBR list - I hate you!
05 Oct 2014, 10:07 PM | Post: #15

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

(05 Oct 2014 04:54 PM)JMac Wrote:  Oh dear, I'm so out of touch! I had no idea! I chose the title because of the layers of meaning - the real chickens in the story (they are rescue hens and kind of symbolic because of that), the idea of chicken meaning cowardly and because of the expression 'chickens coming home to roost.' The main character's past catches up with him at the end of the book. I didn't know it also had drug and other meanings. Do you think a large number of my potential readership would know that and be put off because of it?
As Kath said, probably not, they'll read the blurb to get an idea of the story.
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Offline Jennie Lee Reading Course notes for Pilates Teacher Training
05 Oct 2014, 11:57 PM | Post: #16

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

Those who say you should write first and foremost for yourself give sound advice. It's imperative that the love for your work shines through to have a subliminal effect on your readers.

I write in various genres, which was never an intention but just the way it happens. My books seem to take turns at getting themselves sold, so I can't claim to know the rights and wrongs of mixing it up, if indeed there are any.
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Offline Tim_A Reading strictly murder by Lynda Wilcox
06 Oct 2014, 07:08 AM | Post: #17

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

I think if you wrote lots of books in one genre and then switched, there could be a case for using a different pen name (maybe just a matter of changing "Julie" for "J", or adding another initial -- Iain Banks / Iain M Banks is a classic example. But with only a few books, you can probably label yourself as 'eclectic' and people will accept it.
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Offline Ray Kingfisher Reading No, Writing.
06 Oct 2014, 07:16 AM | Post: #18

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

This is a great thread, and a subject I've put a lot of thought into.

Like quite a few kuffers, I write in different genres with the same penname. In the conservative world of traditional publishing that’s seen as a no-no. However, there are precedents in the other arts.

In the film industry there was once fairly strict typecasting. Then Henry Fonda broke down that barrier in ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ and many more examples followed. Now it’s no big deal for a tough guy to do a comedy or a comedian to play a serious role. The Beatles were under pressure early on to keep writing more ‘She Loves you Love me Do’ type songs, but they experimented to great critical and commercial success. Bruno Mars has released different sorts of singles, and they’re all just ‘hits’.

I think (or like to think) the same thing is happening in fiction writing right now, trailblazed by Indies (the fastest growing market segment and almost a genre in itself). Against conventional advice, many of us are just concentrating on writing ‘good stories’, only later thinking about what genre they fit into, as though it’s a secondary concern. The theory is if it’s a good yarn, readers will come. While not completely true, it’s not a bad philosophy, and if enough of us do it, at least some readers will be tempted to ‘cross-read’, and get used to it.

As for brand dilution, it’s possible, but for me the evidence is to the contrary. I know we’re talking big guns here, but Did Clint Eastwood or Arnold Schwotsisnameger have their ‘brands diluted’ when they played comic roles for the first time? Did Beatles fans go off them because Eleanor Rigby wasn’t boppy?

These ‘market rules’ change over time in tune with the requirements of consumers. Let’s play our part in changing them.
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Offline JMac Reading
06 Oct 2014, 07:16 AM | Post: #19

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

Thanks, Tim. I like that word and will use it next time I update my author profile!
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Offline JMac Reading
06 Oct 2014, 07:21 AM | Post: #20

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RE: Is it commercial suicide to write in different genres?

(06 Oct 2014 07:16 AM)Ray Kingfisher Wrote: Wrote:  This is a great thread, and a subject I've put a lot of thought into.

Like quite a few kuffers, I write in different genres with the same penname. In the conservative world of traditional publishing that’s seen as a no-no. However, there are precedents in the other arts.

In the film industry there was once fairly strict typecasting. Then Henry Fonda broke down that barrier in ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ and many more examples followed. Now it’s no big deal for a tough guy to do a comedy or a comedian to play a serious role. The Beatles were under pressure early on to keep writing more ‘She Loves you Love me Do’ type songs, but they experimented to great critical and commercial success. Bruno Mars has released different sorts of singles, and they’re all just ‘hits’.

I think (or like to think) the same thing is happening in fiction writing right now, trailblazed by Indies (the fastest growing market segment and almost a genre in itself). Against conventional advice, many of us are just concentrating on writing ‘good stories’, only later thinking about what genre they fit into, as though it’s a secondary concern. The theory is if it’s a good yarn, readers will come. While not completely true, it’s not a bad philosophy, and if enough of us do it, at least some readers will be tempted to ‘cross-read’, and get used to it.

As for brand dilution, it’s possible, but for me the evidence is to the contrary. I know we’re talking big guns here, but Did Clint Eastwood or Arnold Schwotsisnameger have their ‘brands diluted’ when they played comic roles for the first time? Did Beatles fans go off them because Eleanor Rigby wasn’t boppy?

These ‘market rules’ change over time in tune with the requirements of consumers. Let’s play our part in changing them.
I hope you are right, Ray, as I think readers probably miss out if they only go for the same kind of book, and I can't see any point in writing in a single genre unless all your stories fit into it. In a way, I wish mine did, but there you go.
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