Diversify to Survive

I often wonder why so many new authors put all their eggs into one basket. They are either writing a novel or they are writing short stories. They are either self-publishing or they are submitting to traditional publishers. They are either writing romance or writing speculative fiction.

Why? Where was it decreed that it had to be either or? And why do so many people limit themselves in this way?

Well, I know partly why it  happens, because when you are submitting to traditional publishers they usually want to fit you neatly into a particular section of the bookshop. But what’s to stop you writing another genre under a pen name? I do.

I mainly write short stories, but those short stories aren’t all in the same genre. I write my speculative fiction under my own name, but I also write women’s fiction for magazines under a pen name. But I don’t restrict myself to short stories either – I am currently also writing a non-fiction book and a novel.

I do this primarily because I enjoy the variety – and it helps a lot with any hint of writer’s block because I can chop and change very easily – and also because I believe that diversification is the key to success. If I were only to write horror stories, for example, and overnight the horror genre went into a complete slump sales-wise, where would I be? Scrabbling around to find something else to write and not having a clue where to start, that’s where.

So, my advice would be, don’t get stuck in a rut. Try something new. You never know where that next success might come from.


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