1. Lili.A.Pemberton

    Lili.A.Pemberton Active Member

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    How important is staying to one genre?

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Lili.A.Pemberton, Oct 1, 2022.

    So sorry, I didn't know whether to put this under self-publishing or marketing so I put it here. So I like writing romance. I also like writing fantasy without any hard focus on romance. And I like writing just plain suspense. I know I'm going to use a pen name in general for all the books I will write just because I don't want my real name out there, but I don't know if I want separate pen names for each genre I want to write in, 'cause that seems tedious to keep track of.

    So I guess what I'm asking is: in your opinion how important is it for a pen name to stick to one genre? I know most traditional authors uses a different pen name if they write in a different genre but do you think the same should go for self-published authors? Do you imagine that the sales would be negatively affected if I would pile all my books under one pen name?
     
  2. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Word Painter

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    Hello. Yes — the eclecticism may confuse your audience(s).
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    But then what do you do when you write a fantasy thriller with an element of romance? In a sci-fi setting? Genres are frequently stacked like this. A Western war comedy for instance. Do you say it's a collaborative effort between several of your pen names? :D
     
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  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It’s not necessary, imo. It’s a common practice, as you say, but there are authors who do not use different names for different genres and I doubt there has been a lot of reader confusion resulting from it. Readers tend to be fairly smart. I wouldn’t worry about using separate pen names unless you have a strong personal feeling in favor of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2022
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  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I think Stephen King only did it because he didn't want to taint his reputation with the material he wrote under the pen name Richard Stark. I'm not sure what it was exactly, but something he didn't want associated with his persona as Stephen King. So, unless what you write in one genre would demolish your reputation for the others I wouldn't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2022
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yeah. Or, if you write children’s books and erotica it’s probably a good idea.
     
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  7. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Contributor Contributor

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    Very close: Richard Bachman. For me his Bachman novellas were his most memorable stories. Running Man (nothing like the Arnie movie with that John Parr song), Rage, and my absolute favourite was The Long Walk.

    The story goes (at least initially) was he was too prolific to publish just one book per year, and his publisher was worried about oversaturating the market with 'King' books.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2022
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  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Huh. Weird. Where did I get Stark from? Even weirder, I just found this on Wikipedia:

    The first name Richard in King's pen name Richard Bachman is "a tribute to crime author Donald E. Westlake's long-running pseudonym Richard Stark. (The surname Stark was later used in King's novel The Dark Half, in which an author's malevolent pseudonym, "George Stark", comes to life.)"

    Also: "Bachman was inspired by Bachman–Turner Overdrive, a rock and roll band to which King was listening at the time his publisher asked him to choose a pseudonym on the spot."​
     
  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin My get up and go must have got up and went... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm. Seems like they needn't have worried.
     
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  10. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    On the other hand, you had Isaac Asimov, who wrote pretty much everything under his own name: science fiction, popular science books, Shakespearean analysis, Biblical analysis, dirty limericks, mysteries...

    I think he might have written science fiction for children under a different name. Or am I confusing him with Robert Heinlein?
     
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  11. Rad Scribbler

    Rad Scribbler Contributor Contributor

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    Joanne Rowling uses J. K. Rowling for her Harry Potter series and writes Crime Fiction under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith.
     
  12. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Word Painter

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    ‘Wrote’ being the operative word perhaps. Times change. Indeed, there’s much hypothesising among marketing academia that the rate of change within markets – the incidence of environmental turbulence – is itself speeding up; the nature of change is changing.

    For @Lili.A.Pemberton the concern is one of brand. The name is a consideration of course but consider also the resources needed to position one brand across multiple markets vs. positioning one brand in each market. What might it take to manage the reputation of multiple identities… multiple websites and social accounts… multiple promotional initiatives? Your brand strategy is a big decision with many implications.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    James Rollins used to write fantasy under the name James Clemens. Recently, he published a fantasy duology and I noticed he uses the name James Rollins on his fantasy work now, as well as his thrillers.
     
  14. Lili.A.Pemberton

    Lili.A.Pemberton Active Member

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    These are really interesting perspectives. Thank you so much for the responses and the tidbits about author pen names. Now I kind of want your guys' opinion on whether or not to use pen names for multi-medium works. Say I'm a horror novelist who wants to make a quiet/fun game like Stardew Valley--should I create the game under a different pen name? Should I host it on another website? Or even if their the same genre, but just different creative field like romance novels and music that's about romance?

    Obviously, it'd be a hassle to create so many fake names, but what are your thoughts on a situation like this; different genre, but also different creative field? or same genre/feel but still different creative field?
     
  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I would seriously think about sticking to one name for everything. It's unlikely that you will get a rush of fans after self publishing your first book or even the second. And it's even more unlikely that anyone would get upset that you're switching genres or pursuing other creative interests. I think it looks better to have multiple books or achievements connected to one name rather than what could appear as one offs under several different names.
     
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I thunk it depends on how different your genres are... if they;re wildly different with not much cross over of readers then two names maybe wise (as with JK Rowling and Robert Galbraith)

    If they're fairly close together like fantasy, fantasy romance, paranormal suspense then you could probably get away with one name

    what we're trying to avoid is old mrs miggins who loved your cosy romance series picks up another book expecting more of the same and is scared for life by your erotic slasher werewolves
     
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  17. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    As others have pointed out you are not locked into any one genre, and you can mix genres.

    Another item to consider is, if you build a solid fan base, especially if you mix genres in your stories. Fans will follow you when you switch genres.

    Look at Scott Sigler, He has done horror and sports genres with a huge fan base.
     
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  18. w. bogart

    w. bogart Member

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    The image didn't come over, but you can see it here https://storygrid.com/genres-of-writing/
    Here is the 5 leaf clover from the story grid methodology. Each leaf helps define the Genre, and sub genres of a story. The system was developed by a publisher to help him evaluate his slush pile. more info at: www.storygrid.com I stumbled on this when I started looking into how to write.
     

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