|Kristen Wiig as Katie Lee Gifford from 'SNL'|
Three Reasons to Write to One Genre:
1. Established Framework
Face it, when you're staring at a blank Page One with little more than a glimmer of an idea, anything is possible. Sometimes, "anything" is paralyzing because of the excess of choice. Aiming for a specific genre can supply guidance for setting, POV(s), number of characters, plot beats, and overall length of the story.
2. Established Publishing & Distribution Markets
If you plan to self-publish, you will need to hire editors and artists who specialize in your genre--specialization makes a notable difference in the end product. Once the product is ready, you need to know the distributors with the most targeted reach among your ideal consumers. If you're squarely in a particular genre, then that information is readily available and accessible.
If you plan to run the gantlet of traditional publishing (of any size), your genre dictates the course you will run. Writing to a specific genre makes that course infinitely easier for you and everyone who has to re-sell your product up the food-chain to get your product to the right market.
3. Established Consumer Market
We all want sales. Great sales. Enough to buy barrels of wine kind of sales. Regardless of the path to market you took, you still need to sell the books. Thankfully, consumers readily self-identify as fans of specific genres. If you've written a book in their genre--a book that meets the Contract of Expectations between Author and Reader--then you can hop on the sales train that has been built and maintained by all those authors in your genre who came before you. You can tap into the networks of book reviewers, reader conferences, sales catalogs, bundled ad-spots, and more.
Seems like a no-brainer to write to a specific genre right? Not so fast.
Three Reasons to Blend Across Genres:
1. You Want To
2. It's What the Story Needs
3. Your Characters Said You Had To
As I've posted before, I don't know any author who doesn't blend genres. Yes, we need to choose which genre is going to be our primary target audience, but when it comes to sales, we're going to pursue those secondary genre markets too.
Barrels of wine are at stake.