Successful Multi-Genre Author: Nora Roberts
If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I call BS on the “you’ll only be successful if you stick to a niche” advice. Somewhere, some time, some influential people decided that for a business to be successful, you had to have a small niche. This might work for brick and mortar businesses, but in the digital age, that’s simply no longer true.
Don’t get me wrong: hyper-specialists who are deeply passionate about a single subject will do extremely well if they only ever write in one niche. But for most writers who are writers first and marketers second, a single niche or genre is not usually their go-to choice. Most writers became writers because they want to share ideas, and the majority of writers want to share ideas on multiple topics. That’s where research comes in.
If you need encouragement in knowing that you’re not the only person who wants to write in more than one niche, there are plenty of examples of both nonfiction and fiction authors who dabble in multiple subjects. Stephen King is one example; Neil Gaiman is another. Here’s another successful multi-genre author: Nora Roberts.
What? Nora Roberts? She only writes romance, you say. Yes, you are partly right. Nora Roberts only writers romance—as Nora Roberts. As JD Rob, she writers mysteries. Roberts is a prolific writer, having written upwards of 220 books since starting her career in 1971.
The Use of a Pen Name in Multi-Genre Writing
Some authors who dabble in various genres prefer to write under their legal name for their “money-maker genre” and to write under a pseudonym or multiple pseudonyms for manuscripts that stray from that genre.
In the case of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, they have been successful writing in various categories without using a pseudonym. Roberts and other authors have chosen to separate their books by writing under different names for each category. There are advantages and disadvantages to going either route—stay tuned for a post that’ll discuss this in more detail.
If you’re driven to write in widely different niches, genres, categories, subjects… do it. You can certainly sell books if you’re a MultiTalented Writer, and you don’t need to tie yourself to one topic for the rest of your life. Your commercial success as a writer likely has very little to do with how many niches you write in, and much more to do with how much you actually write. You’ll notice something about the multi-genre fiction writers that have been featured on this website so far: they’re very prolific.
Perhaps the secret to being a successful multi-niche writer has nothing to do with picking a single niche: it just has to do with actually doing your work. So get off this website and go write. In any niche. Or in many.