Where Do You Fit?

Hitting the right genre is sometimes a difficult thing for an author to do. Genre fads change often, so by the time an author has finished a book in the current trend that was all the rage when s/he started, the genre has “gone out of fashion”.

Favourite genres can and do hang around for quite a while at times, though, so if an author can get a book written fast enough, they stand a chance of having their book purchased. The problem is, what if you don’t want to write the genre everyone apparently wants to read? And the question that arises from that is: But are you cutting your nose off to spite your face?

It’s a dilemma many authors face, whether to write what their heart tells them or write what the market/readers want. It’s all well and good if you can write “to order”, being able to switch styles and voices at the drop of a hat, but not everyone can do that. It’s a shame, because lots of writers are kind of left behind when the fads crop up. Conversely, if the fad you love writing the most just happens to be the “in thing”, you have a head start.

Lately, I’ve noticed ménage appears to be a top seller. I have yet to write one—not entirely sure I will either, but you never know—and also the more…hardcore erotic tales. It brought other questions to mind: Is the romance book a dying breed? Or does it just seem the more “out there” books are taking over? (I’d like to say I’m not against “out there” books. Just thinking out loud here.)

Surely not. I don’t believe every reader follows the trends and buys whatever they feel everyone else is reading. There are people out there who like romance without all the bells and whistles.

From my blog browsing and reading comments to various posts, I’ve noticed many people have admitted to skipping the sex so they can get along with the “real” part of the story. So my question is answered, really, in that people don’t always want rampant sex in their reading matter. That’s good to know, because I don’t always want to write books containing rampant sex either. But I have wondered: If people are skipping the sex scenes, are authors just wasting their time writing them?

No. Obviously, not everyone skips. Readers buy the books for the sex scenes too. I think what I’m struggling with at the moment is finding where I “fit” in this ever-growing e-book market. Every book I’ve written so far in this pen name is different (although two feature the 1800s), and I have no clear genre or voice I “belong” in. I wonder: Do I need to belong in one?

It is possible for an author to write in many voices, many genres, and still have a following, where their readers don’t expect a certain book from them, but look forward to whatever has been written. This is where I think I will always be, a bit of this, a bit of that, but I’m interested in other people’s opinions on this. Do you, as an author, have a definite style and genre you stick to? And readers, do you do the same, or are you open to trying anything and everything?