Linda O. Johnston has been one of my Sisters in Crime buddies since I got active with the group a few years ago. Today, she’s writing about how being flexible has helped her career.
I’m a fiction writer. I’ve been a fiction writer for a long time, and I’m almost entirely traditionally published, although that’s changing somewhat and may change even more.
In fact, a lot about my writing is subject to change, depending on which publisher is interested in what.
I’ve had fifty novels published so far, with more to come. My genres are generally mystery or romantic suspense, and no matter what the main genre is, nearly all of them contain elements of romance and suspense or mystery. That’s what I love to read. That’s what I love to write.
Oh, and I nearly always include dogs, too.
But what I want to talk about here is flexibility in writing… mine, and yours.
Of course there are writers who prefer choosing one genre or subgenre and sticking with it, using it as their entire writing career. And for some writers, that works out fine, whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. But that’s not me. Is it you?
I started out with mystery short stories (and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for best first mystery short story of the year with the first one!), then added time travel romances, then moved into romantic suspense, mysteries and paranormal romance. That has worked out well over time since my time travel romance publisher, Dorchester, went out of business long ago, one of my mystery publishers, Midnight Ink, is no longer going to be publishing mysteries after this year, and the publisher of my paranormal romances, Harlequin, stopped publishing the Nocturne paranormal romance line.
Is that going to happen to every traditionally published writer? Hopefully not, but one never knows. And flexibility in what I write has allowed me to continue on.
Does a writer have to be that flexible? Nope. If there’s a particular genre you love above all others and want to write only in it, go for it. Especially these days. There are a lot of publishers out there now, both large and small. If you get something published by one of them, you’ll hopefully develop a relationship with them that will result in your publishing a lot of books in the same genre with them. Or not. But if you like that genre above all others, you can hopefully find a different publisher if that first one doesn’t continue to buy from you.
Or you can write in multiple genres as I do, and therefore write for different publishers at the same time, if that’s what you choose.
And then there’s self-publishing! When I started out, editors and writers looked down their noses at self-published authors, as if they turned to that because they weren’t good enough for traditional publishing. Not today! Today, self-publishing is respected and revered, and it’s a different form of successful publishing. Plus, those who are self-published can certainly earn a lot more per book than those who are traditionally published.
Oh, and by the way. I mentioned that my self-publishing is changing now, and that’s mostly because I got my rights back to my first two mystery series, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and its spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries, and I’m currently working on having them published again as bundled e-books.
So–should you be flexible in your writing? Only if you choose to. But there are a lot of options out there for writing in one genre only, or in multiple genres–whatever works best for each author.
Me? At the moment romantic suspense and I are best friends… and in the future I hope to branch out yet again, particularly into mystery. But for right now–well, I’m celebrating the May release of my fifth and last Barkery & Biscuits Mystery for Midnight Ink: For A Good Paws. It’s obviously a mystery, and the whole series features dogs and baking. And yes, romance is included, too–my protagonist Carrie Kennersly has been developing a romantic interest throughout the series.
I’m somewhat remiss in other social media, though I do blog elsewhere. Maybe that will change one day, too.
Do check out Linda’s website. Frankly, I’m impressed. I thought I was prolific!