Switching Genres

As an author you're always told to build a platform and a readership, and some will tell you that you need to write in the same genre (as your first book) to do that. My debut The Other Life and its sequel The Life Beyond are, of course, dystopian or I wouldn't be part of this wonderful blog, and I absolutely love dystopian literature but I have many ideas for books in other genres.
Today my new book deal was announced in Publishers Marketplace:

Susanne Winnacker's IMPOSTOR, the story of a girl who uses her shape-shifting ability to assume the identity of a teenage murder victim and solve the mystery of a small-town serial killer, pitched as X-Men meets The Zodiac Killer, to Caroline Donofrio at Razorbill, in a two-book deal, by Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management (World English).
And as you might have guessed: it isn't dystopian or post-apocalyptic. It's a YA thriller. When I started writing it several months ago, I wondered briefly if I was making the wrong choice to work on something that's so different from my debut but I never considered giving up on the book because I loved the main character Tessa and needed to get her story down on paper (well, in my word doc). It's important to write the book you're passionate about, the book that speaks to you and keeps you awake at night. Of course I'm aware of the hard realities of this industry. If you write a vampire-werewolf dystopian book right now, you might have a harder time finding an agent or a publisher. Because if you pay attention to agents/editor tweets and blogs, paranormal and dystopian seem to be a hard sell at the moment. And yet books in those genres still get deals. I assume it's because their writers didn't give up and just wrote the book they needed to write (a bit of luck might be involved too). I think a book you love and want to write will always be better than a book you're forcing yourself to write.
That's all for today. I hope this post makes sense.
Btw, I'm having a celebration giveaway on my blog if you want to win books!
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Angie Smibert said...

Congrats on the sale!

Stephsco said...

Given that there's fatigue over dystopian and it's becoming a harder sell (so I hear in the blogsphere & at conferences) then I think it makes sense as a writer to push beyond what's trendy and write what you want. I don't think a thriller is that much of a stretch from dystopian, especially if you are still writing for a YA audience. If changed from YA dystopian to Christian inspiration, then I would say it's a jarring move and probably not recommended unless you used a pen name.

More power to the authors who write different subgenres. Look at Libba Bray! YA historical fantasy to surrealist contemporary satire.

Anonymous said...

I write adult dystopian fic and I am hoping that the Hunger Games movies will ignite the adult dystopian market. Although publishers appear hesitant to buy YA dystopians right now because the market is saturated, I think the audience is still there for sure.

Writing/publishing in other genres or subgenres is an excellent idea. It expands our own creativity and also broadens our reader's horizons, should they want to cross genres and follow their favorite authors.

Good luck with the books!

Susanne Winnacker said...

Thanks, Angie!

Stephsco - I LOVE Libba Bray. And you're right it would be harder to make the switch to adult, though many writers use pseudonyms in that case.

Suzan - I really hope that the Hunger Games movie will give the dystopian market a new push.

K M Kelly said...

Congratulations Suzanne - that's wonderful news!