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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't Box Me In!

Part of my goal in my self-publishing experiment is to try to write outside my area of comfort and expertise. This is not something that traditional publishing supports in their authors.

This is the reason that many have for years been forced to write under pseudonyms, which I always found ridiculous because generally fans knew that a writer was writing under so many names.

It has become vogue to write for a YA audience and some authors may dive into children’s books from time to time. On the whole, unless they venture from fiction to memoirs, few authors are allowed to – or even try to – write outside their niche.

I think that is limiting.

So far I have tackled cookbooks, fiction (crime), memoirs, and short stories. Next I will release a sci-fi (steampunk) novel.

Will this turn some readers off? I can’t see why that would even be relevant. People who do not cook or are not interested in food as a topic will simply ignore the Food Goddess volumes, just as they shun the stacks of cookbooks at a brick and mortar bookstore.

My opinion is that if the theme and general plot of the book seems interesting enough, people might be inclined to try it out and maybe even purchase it.

I may have a graphic novel in me, historical fiction, humorous essays, or even a treatise in comparative religion. I feel a fable coming on… Not all my readers will share the same interests but I do not see this as a disincentive to try.

Will any of my efforts will be considered a mayor success? That remains to be seen as we are nowhere near the end of this journey. Musicians are rarely allowed to venture outside the genre that made them famous, though some refuse to be limited by the industry or market pressures. Wynton Marsalis and Elvis Costello immediately come to mind.

I say that if you want to dream, dream big. Why not be a polymath of self-publishing? I may have more than one poem in me too!

The way I see it, readers may reject it and they have the right to do so, but I will not be boxed in by convention. Not in this brave new world!


  1. So far the three books I have published are all different. I have a children's book, a contemporary political novel, and a collection of science fiction (-ish) short stories available for sale. And if some law had decreed that I must choose one and only one genre, it would be fantasy (i.e., not something I've published yet). I don't have any grand success by which I can demonstrate that the diversity of my current titles is a positive thing, but I'm certainly skeptical that I'll eventually regret it as having had a negative impact. I would not consider writing under a pseudonym unless I was going to tackle something that might specifically discourage sales of something else (for example, if I were to start writing erotica, it wouldn't mesh well with my children's book and in that case a pen name would be warranted). I think sticking with one genre, like building a book series, can help with sales, but in most cases straying shouldn't hurt.

  2. Thanks for your input, Stuart. Glad to know that there are like minds out there willing to experiment creatIvely!