Monday, May 09, 2016

Is it a sound professional move to write in several genres and eras?

I know of several writers who are successful in a variety of genres but they all use a different pseudonym for each genre. I write Regency romance and World War II family sagas using the same name – my own.
I've now released the first of a two book series set in the Victorian era – also the same author name. This book was written eight years ago when I had an agent and Victorian books were the flavour of the year. It got as far as an acquisitions meeting at Orion but no further.
These are the only books that I've written that haven't been published. I'm known for my Regency and World War II books and I am concerned my readers won't enjoy something so different.
The heroine and hero in this book are brother and sister, rather than a romantic couple. Also, as you can see from the cover, they are not from the privileged class from which I usually take my characters.
I had the books edited and proofed and by the time "For Want of a Penny" was ready to go I had a further three stories in my head for Sarah and Alfie. It remains to be seen if I think it's viable to continue writing this series.
It would be interesting to know whether readers search more for a particular author rather than a genre. I certainly search author name first on Amazon and if I can't find anything new by one of my favourites then I look at the recommended list of similar books that are so helpfully provided. Christian Cameron has three series ongoing, all different eras, and I love them all.  Bernard Cornwall has done the same but writes one series at a time. I would try a new genre/era from an author I like and I hope my readers feel the same.

For Want of a Penny is the first part of a two book Victorian saga –The Nightingale Chronicles and is set in 1840s Colchester and the east end of London. A family tragedy means Sarah is forced to go into service at Grey Friars House as an under nursery-maid. Meanwhile her younger brother Alfie, to avoid being taken into the workhouse, runs away to London to seek his fortune.
£1.99 & $2.99
Although the situation wasn’t of her making Sarah thrives, but just as she is becoming established in the household her past returns to shatter her happy life and she is dismissed without references.
Alfie arrives in London but is tricked and sold to work as a slave on a coal barge. However, eventually he prospers and begins to make himself a better life.

'One Good Turn' the second and final part of this series will be published in July.



lynneconnolly said...

I write under three names - one of them a hidden pseudonym and the other two open, and variations on my own. I find it easier to do this, as I can target the books and create a better and more accurate "brand," ie make it easier for potential readers to find what they want. If you look at someone like Jayne Ann Krentz, this has been something authors have done for years.
When I wrote under one name, I found the message diluted and confused. Much better to separate them out!

Fenella J Miller said...

Interesting, Lynne. I think your approach makes sense for a writer backed by a publisher. Perhaps not for an indie-writer. It's too easy to get 'lost' on Amazon unless you already ahve a name that's known.