Writing Outside Your Genre: What You Need to Know

A Little Background

You always hear at writers’ conferences to write what you love, or to choose your genre based on what you enjoy writing. If you’re writing purely for pleasure, this is a great idea. But if you’re interested in selling books in a crowded marketplace, you have to write about what you know. Writing a book within a genre where you have either credentials or expertise is one of the best ways to cut through the noise, because consumers have a good reason to put stock in what you’re saying. As a first time author, start writing where you have an audience. Are you a business owner? Write about entrepreneurship, company culture, or how to start a small business. Are you a life coach or speaker? Address a topic that you encounter or speak on frequently. Medical professional? Tackle health topics pertaining to your field. And the list goes on.

Changing Genres

So what happens when you’re ready to write your second book, and it’s in a genre divergent from your original book? This happens frequently when an established author decides to write a fiction book after a nonfiction release, or vice versa. Before you put pen to paper, there are a few things you might want to consider to give your new book its best chance of success.

Leverage the audience you already have. If you’ve already developed a strong readership through your online presence, such as a loyal blog following or large base of newsletter subscribers, you don’t want to lose those folks just because you’re changing genres. The best way to do this is figure out a way to tie your new book to your previous book in your marketing and branding. If your readers loved your self-help book, play up the struggle and achievements of the protagonist in your new novel in a way that relates to your self-help message. If your first book was chick lit, your second book could be a how-to on developing relationships with men or cultivating meaningful friendships, depending on the plot and characters of the first book.

Be Strategic

The main point here is to be strategic in transitioning to new genres. Reach out to your current audience with your new title and make sure to tie it to a title they are familiar with. Consistent branding and marketing will also help guide readers to consecutive releases. Choosing what you write about based on your readership, credentials, and previous titles will afford your greater success in book sales. Who wants to read teen paranormal romance by a finance-writing CPA