Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear O'Abby: What do I do if I want to write horror as a romance author?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm a fairly successful romance author with 14 published novels.  My publisher wants more because my books sell reasonably well, but the new book I'm working on does not fit with my/their brand - it's a horror and I'm absolutely loving writing it!  

I do plan to write more romance in the future, but right now I'm really enjoying writing something that almost certainly won't have a happy-ever-after ending, and I'm pretty sure I'll write more like this in the future.

Do you have any advice for how to manage my writing career while writing in two very different genres?



Dear Horrified,

I think you'd be surprised how many writers juggle books across a variety of genres.  The reason you may not know about them is because they write each genre under a different name.

Yes, this is a situation where you may want to think about using a pseudonym.  You obviously have a dedicated fan base for your romance novels, and these readers are probably not also avid readers of horror (although some may be).  It is probably not desirable for your current fans to pick up your new book expecting a delightful, frothy romance only to discover something very, very different.

It's also possible (or probable) that your publisher doesn't handle horror either, unless they are large and have a number of different imprints across genres. You don't mention if you have an agent, but if you do, and they have been successfully selling your romances, they may not have the contacts or experience to sell your horror.

Which is another reason to use a pseudonym. You can query agents that specialise in horror without your reputation as a romance writer hanging over you.  Obviously once you accept representation your new agent will need to know your true identity, but while querying, you can do so with a fresh slate and no expectations.

But talk to your existing agent first (if you have one). It's possible they do have the experience and contacts to handle both genres now, even if they didn't at the time you signed with them.  Or if they are part of a larger agency, there may be an agent there who handles horror and will work alongside your current agent to manage this new strand of your career.

Hopefully this helps.  And good luck!  Do let us know how everything goes, and where we can get our hands on your new book.

X O'Abby

1 comment:

  1. A pseudonym definitely comes in useful for this sort of thing! This is especially if your publisher or agent doesn't deal with the genre. Very good advice O'Abby!


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