Writers struggle with the decision to write across genres. This is something I’ve found myself struggling with as well. Being committed to a particular genre doesn’t mean you don’t have material in other areas of writing as well. Recently I made the decision to write in a genre completely different from the one that has been my focus along this journey. This is not an abandonment of my genre but instead, it is an extension of my writing – an exploration of exactly who I am as a writer. Here’s why I decided to do it.
Income: Picture books are a costly venture. Most picture books do well in hardbound print, which is the most costly print option. This also means that printing would need to be in color (also more expensive than other alternatives). In my case, I have to pay my illustrator. When self-publishing, all of these expenses come at the self-publisher’s (the author’s) expense. Somehow, this has to be funded. Savings will only go so far. While there are several funding options available such as grants for writers, funding websites, etc., there is no guarantee these options will come through when you need them. Though it may be an option for many writers, getting a traditional job will neither benefit me nor my family given my current family structure. As a small business, finding multiple ways to support the business is essential. Perhaps uploading works in another (less expensive) genre could be a way of generating some light income to help fund the picture books.
Courage: This can be an excellent way to jump in, get wet, and expose my gift. First timers are scared – plain and simple. I am. The only way to get published is to publish. This is an opportunity to publish my work and force myself to face the good, the bad, and the ugly of writing. There are going to be readers that love it; there may be more that hate it. The only way to know and grow as a writer is to put the work out there. It may be painful, it may end up being everything I dreamed. Either way, get up the guts and do it.
It’s fun: Let’s face it. Writing more mature content is just fun. While writing for children is great, I have other content I get just as fulfilled writing. It’s more of a release than anything else. Writers are multi-dimensional, creative beings. Stuffing one’s skill and talent into a box can be suffocating. Writers write. It’s what we do. For some of us, we choose to write in one particular genre and are comfortable with that. Others like to spread our wings and write whenever and whatever we choose, regardless of genre. And that’s okay people. There are no rules. The only requirement is that you put your heart and passion into it, whatever it is. Readers can see through work that is done for financial gain versus work that was created from the heart. So whatever you’re writing, make sure you have fun doing it.
Why not?: The bottom line? – I’m doing it because I want to. I’m grown. This is my decision and something I’m choosing to do to test the waters and see what the outcome is. It really is that simple. Either it works or it doesn’t. The only way to know is to do it.
What are your thoughts on writing across genres? Do you find fulfillment in sticking with one genre or writing across many? Share your thoughts and write on!