Changing genres has its problems

Picture of cover of Black TigerMy latest novel, Black Tiger, was released early this month and I don’t mind admitting I expected to make a few sales. My space opera, Morgan’s Choice, had been in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon for three months and my other SF romance titles, Iron Admiral: Conspiracy, Iron Admiral: Deception and Starheart (along with the shorts) were doing fairly well, dragged along in the slipstream. Surely the people who bought those books would buy this new one?

I’d trumpeted my intentions on my usual venues – Twitter, the blog, Facebook author page. I wrote a number of articles about the new book, showed off the cover. What else was I going to do?

Blog tour? I decided against it. I’ve done them before, with limited outcomes. I think they’re overdone and I’m not at all sure they attract too many new people, so you’re just preaching to the converted.

Kindle select? No. I’d done that with Starheart and although the results were reasonable, several people had asked for formats other than Kindle.

Giveaways? I figured I’d given away enough books to prove I produce a quality product. I’ve given away plenty of copies of my earlier books on blog tours, discounts and the like. I’d had limited success from Goodreads giveaways, in terms of increased sales. Putting a book on the ‘to be read’ list on Goodreads doesn’t necessarily mean much at all, in my experience – and I’ve done the Goodreads giveaways four times. Besides, all profits from Black Tiger will go to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to help support tiger conservation. Giving the book away defeats the purpose.

Online book launch via Facebook? Again, I’m not at all sure how successful these are. I’ve been to quite a few, and really, the usual choir turns up. I don’t think Facebook was ever a great place to market. The entreaties to ‘buy my book’ are so common, and getting worse. Everbody sells but I wonder how many buy?

Advertising? Yes, I had to get the message out somehow, and this book was a different genre. So I bought a big ad on The Romance Reviews and an advertising spot on The Cheap. I haven’t noticed a surge in sales. The ads are pointed at Amazon, but maybe buyers are going to Omnilit or Smashwords.

What else? Buy reviews? (I have my tongue in my cheek, given the recent furore on that subject) I don’t think so. I’ll wait to see what readers have to say. That said, I have sent copies to a couple of reviewers and I’m waiting in hope for the results.

The book has only been out for a very short time. Still, my experience so far underlines the message that writing in a different genre can be a dangerous endeavour. I did consider releasing the book under a different name but if I’d done that, I would have had to build an audience from scratch. At least by publishing under my own name I thought some of my SF or hist fic readers would try the book. Without a doubt, I was right.

Ah, well. It’s early days. Patience (as they say) is a virtue. Any ideas, people? Do you disagree with my assessment?


About Greta van der Rol

I'm an author of fast-paced, action-adventure novels, mainly space opera - although I've been known to write in other genres. I live not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoy photography and cooking when I'm not bent over the computer. I have a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping me in my writing endeavours.

Posted on 11 October 2012, in Black Tiger, On writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I have to agree, unfortunately. And you are not the first one who has encountered this particular dilemma. Readers tend to be set in their ways. However, as you siad, it is still early days. At least you have that proverbial foot in the door.

  2. It IS hard to build an audience. To switch mid-stream to a different genre is hard on your readers – you’re having to reach out to a new group. I feel for you! I, too am writing in multiple genres but so far only have paranormal romance out. I’m hoping a publisher takes me under their wing to help with the other genres (my paranormal publisher doesn’t take anything except paranormal, sigh). I may be behind the times, but I’ll stick it out a couple more books. We shall see. Good luck!

    • I don’t think it’s hard on my readers -they can take it or leave it, of course. But the romance is there, as it was with the SF, and it’s still action-packed adventure. Thatnks for reading and taking the time to comment – and I wish you all the best in getting a publisher to take on your work.

  3. Hi Greta! I would just treat it like your other books with regard to promotion, and give it time to catch on. If it were your only book out, you wouldn’t expect it to take off immediately. Since it’s your only book in that genre, think of it that way. It will find its niche, I’m sure. 🙂

  4. I’ve read and enjoyed Black Tiger. Genre-wise it is different but your voice shines through. Give it time I think you’ll be happy with the results

  5. I’m in the process of doing something similar, Greta, with a book I published under a pseudonym and which got 3 5-star reviews but had barely noticeable sales. I’m now redoing it and will publish under my own name – but it’s a satirical fantasy and, as you know, my others are all crime novels. But even there, sales of the 5 police procedurals are far better than those for my crime spoof and my historical crime novel. I understand readers preferring a specific genre but my own inclination, if I enjoy a book, is to try other works by the same author. For example, I loved Die a Dry Death and read your space romances because of that, even though it’s not a genre I’ve ever read before. Quality will out. Your brand is good.

  6. I’m actually in the process of trying this right now. The novel I’ve spent 12 years on-and-off working on is finally done, and I’m querying agents for it, and while I wait for responses I’m working on something totally out of my comfort zone. Will it ever get published? Can I even pull this off? Who knows, but right now I need the challenge. Twelve years, even on-and-off is a LONG time to be married to the same project, and I really need to take a deep breath, dive into something new, and just see…

  7. Greta,

    I totally sympathize. I wrote a very successful sci fi futuristic series, and then decided I just had to write a series set in Hawaii (my favorite vacation spot). Hawaiian Heroes is still erotic romance, still paranormal, still full of action and a bit of humor, getting great reviews …. and not selling well.

    Meanwhile I have readers asking ‘When are you writing more space opera?’ So guess where I’m going? Back into space to write a paraquel series to my Orion Series.

    Would I have missed writing my Hawaiian Heroes? Emphatically, no! Loved every minute of pretending I was on the island instead of in another cold, rainy western Washington winter.

    But this cold, snowy Montana winter I’ll be on another planet. I think I’ll pick a warm spot on it, lol.

    And as a writer friend said to me recently, your new story will always be available, and you don’t know when readers may suddenly ‘discover’ it and sales will go hogwild.

    PS. What are you writing now? More of your best sellers?


  8. Hey Greta,
    I just changed genres too. I had a nice following with erotic romance but I had this science fiction/historical novel inside me, screaming to get out! But you’re right, it’s like starting over. You can’t rely on crossover fans from your former genre. I wish you well. Thanks for the article.

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