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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Switching Genres? 5 Signs You Should (Or Shouldn't!)

It can be a good idea to identify yourself with a single genre, learn the basic ins and outs and rise to the top while producing a line of increasingly well-knit tales and building a loyal fan base. Many authors make an entire career around mastering one genre and become go-to names for any readers who are drawn to it.

However, your loyalty to a single genre has no guarantee of paying off, and sometimes it’s better to step back and re-think. This might be because your starting genre was so obscure that there wasn’t enough of a starting fanbase to kickstart a career. Or it could be because, after writing a few books, you’ve learned that you don’t like the genre as much as you thought you did.

Either way, changing genres comes with inherent risks. You might alienate the audience who supported you from the start. You might decide to move to yet another genre and fail to establish a base anywhere, or you might find yourself unprepared for the different demands that come with a different genre.

Before you take the plunge and swap out your cowboys for aliens, here are a few things to consider.

1. Your Following Size

If you have a large and active following, handle your genre switch with care. You will lose some readers over this switch, and your continued growth might be smaller than you expect.

If your following is small or practically non-existent, you don’t have as much to lose. In this case, a genre switch could be the magical antidote. It’s entirely possible that your lack of an audience is because you’ve been writing in the wrong genre.

2. The Size of The Switch

Not all genre switches are as large as switching from literary poetry to alien romance. Most are smaller—and sometimes your switch will be just a simple tweak.

Maybe vampire romance is getting old, but your werewolf side characters keep you awake at night. A switch from vampire romance to werewolf romance will appeal to many of the same readers and won’t alienate anyone.

This is easily the “safest” switch and has the least risk involved, but make sure you stay familiar with any differences in expectation or any changes you need to make.

3. Your Branding

Some authors build a brand around a genre, and others around themselves. Either is fine, but if you’ve been focusing entirely on branding yourself on one specific genre, you’ll need to do some re-working to give yourself the flexibility you’ll need to pull it off.

Consider your graphics, color scheme, and the slang you use in newsletters and social media posts. A few tweaks might be all you need to make yourself more compatible with your new readers!

4. Market Trends

Don’t hop from one trainwreck to another.

Before you commit to writing a book (or worse, a series) in a new genre, do some basic research to make sure it’s not on the decline. I find that Publisher Rocket is a fantastic tool for checking the market and measure to see if a certain trend is going up or down.

You should also check your current genre. If the genre has taken a dip or looks unlikely to grow, changing directions can give you a boost you weren’t even looking for.

5. Your Passion

Some people don’t need to feel emotionally connected with their writing to throw together a fantastic story and derive satisfaction from the knowledge that readers love it. In that case, one genre is as good as another, and swapping is more a matter of marketing strategy than anything else.

For others, the emotional connection is essential. If you’re struggling to get excited about the genre you’ve been writing in, you might benefit from a change to something you’re more excited about.

Consider your own reading habits. Browse the Kindle store and take note of what books and genres catch your eye. Even if you think you don’t think you enjoy any standard marketable genre, you’ll be surprised at how many casual alternatives you can find.

And Lastly…

Sometimes a clean switch isn’t the best idea. It’s very possible to write in multiple genres, even if they’re completely different. It’s also possible to phase out your old genre slowly, alternating books for a while and then stopping.

Depending on your circumstance, you might find an in-between route that will give you the stability of staying with your old genre with the opportunities that come with a new one.

If this article helped you, please consider donating a coffee for me through the button below. Funds will go to more blog posts and research about self-publishing, and they’re hugely appreciated!


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