Switcheroo! (Or, Can an Author Switch Genres?)

The novel Back in the Real World, is a collaboration between Ed Turner, Cara Lopez Lee and Mark Graham Communications.

Congratulations! You’ve written and published a book. You’re talking up the book with everyone you know, checking your sales figures, and working hard to promote your work and reach new readers.

All of that is great – and you might, as we discussed last month, be considering a sequel or even a series. But what if, instead, you’re thinking of writing something completely different?

You wouldn’t be alone. Do the names Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, or Neil Gaiman ring a bell? All of these celebrated authors have written successful books in multiple genres. Other authors, prominent in one genre, have published in another genre under a pseudonym. For example, J.K. Rowling pens crime fiction under the name Robert Galbraith, and Anne Rice was also romance author A.N. Roquelaure.

So how do you do it? How do you switch from one genre to another – especially if you’re an author who wants to work with a ghostwriter?

There are several possible scenarios in which a ghostwriter can help you switch genres:

  • You wrote and published one or more previous books, but now you want to create a story in a genre in which you’re not as comfortable. Perhaps you’ve taken a stab at something new – you’re an educator who has written textbooks, for example, but you have a historical novel up your sleeve – and you’ve found that this new genre doesn’t come as easily as your previous writing did. A ghostwriter can help you get your ideas onto the page and create a strong, compelling narrative.
  • A ghostwriter assisted with your previous book(s), but you’re ready for a different type of story. In this case, either the same or a different ghostwriter might be appropriate. For example, if you’ve written true crime with the help of a ghostwriter but now want to write fantasy, a ghostwriter who has experience with fantasy is likely the best fit for you. That might be the ghostwriter you’ve already worked with, or it might be someone else. In either case, we can help. The writing team at Mark Graham Communications has a wide range of experience. We specialize in matching you with a writer who fits your project and working style.
  • You have two different projects in mind. Perhaps you haven’t written that first book yet, either with a ghostwriter or on your own. But you know you’re interested in working with a ghostwriter to tell stories in multiple, distinct genres. In this case, we can help you figure out where to start, which book to write first, and how to capitalize on your first book when you publish your second.

Speaking of that – once your second book hits the shelves, how do you promote it? Can your follow-up book ride the coattails of your debut, even if it’s in a different genre? This is a question without a single answer. If you’ve built a reputation in one area, readers might expect the same from you this time around. But with proper positioning and marketing, your previous fans are likely to come on board. For example, if you wrote a business book and you switch to memoir, you can market the “personal” aspects of how you built your business success – and thus draw your business book readers to your memoir.

We won’t mince words: switching genres isn’t easy. But as with any writing project, if it’s your passion and you’re willing to make the commitment, it can be done. And it absolutely can be successful.

If you need help, please get in touch. We’d love to talk with you about it!