Nov 18, 2011

Labels

Here's the deal.  I am writing a book that, after reading the first 7-10 pages, I have heard people qualify as a fantasy or romance or women's lit. 

Right now, even as I'm NaNoing it and working through, I really love what I'm writing. 

But I also have some pretty solid ideas ruminating for YA. 

One of those will have a teen male 1st person narrator. 

I am seriously months away from feeling like I'm back in high school during lunch with a tray full of food and no where to sit querying, stressing, over-eating and blowing up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Balloon advancing my writing career, but I can't help wonder.

Are labels good?  Are they constricting?  If you have success with one particular genre, does that mean you can't then launch into another?  What if you are labeled as an age-group writer?  

What if J.K. Rowling woke up this morning and decided she wanted to write an adult medical thriller? 

What if Stephen King decided to write a chick lit? 

Would they still get representation? Would they be allowed to even consider this as a serious project?  I suppose they would still write within the parameters of their marketability with a plot that satisfied the craving to write something different - kind of like people who eat sugar-free candy.  Yes, it's candy, but it's still not the same.

So tell me, what do you think?  Is there a danger in getting labeled?

8 comments :

E.R. King said...

I just switched genres, but I feel I'm being more true to myself, so I'm okay with that. Still, I'm not Stephen King. What it takes is knowing who you are as a writer and picking the genre that best suits you. You create your own label!

Jenilyn Tolley said...

From what I've seen, most authors that decide to switch genres write under a pen name for at least one of them. That seems to be the most common thing.

Donna K. Weaver said...

For those two, they wouldn't need representation. I know some authors use pseudonyms to write different genres.

J. A. Bennett said...

I was going to say what Donna just did. :)

RaShelle Workman said...

I seriously giggling at the idea of Stephen King writing a chick lit - not that he COULDN'T do it, only that it'd be weird. LOL

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

If the writing is good, people will take it seriously. Especially in kids books there are lots of authors who write a wide range of ages, from PBs to YA. Write the best story you can write and people will want to read it.

Sangu Mandanna said...

I think it's hard switching genres - not necessarily for you as a writer, but for your career. I think there can be a danger of readers' expectations holding you back. Still. I believe we HAVE to write what feels right to us, otherwise what's the point?

Lydia Kang said...

I wondered about that when I was querying a YA historical. I was afraid it wouldn't sell, and then I'd be pegged as a YA historical writer, which I'm not--I write lots of different types.

I think it's different for famous authors. I think they'd sell more books if they kept their names, but sometimes they want their new material to be appreciated without the bias of their other successes. AND they might not need the money as much!