Should I or shouldn’t I?

Should I or shouldn’t I?
Should I or shouldn’t I?  Now, there is a question we have all faced from time to time.  So, here I am again, on the horns of a dilemma; what to do.  You see, it works like this.  I’m a writer, and I mainly write fantasy / urban fantasy / sci-fi, etc. So far so good.
Now here’s the rub.  A number of years ago a young friend of mine asked me to write a self improvement book outlining my own personal philosophy of life and how to make it all work.  I gave it a shot, but soon realized this was never going to happen.  I just couldn’t churn out another of these things when so many great teachers had already written a better book on the subject than I could. 
So, I asked her why she was so keen.  She said that she wanted her relationship to work out as beautifully as my own appeared to be.  Wow, what do you say to that?  I thought about it for a long time, then it hit me.  I wrote a lesbian romance novel for her that contained much of what I deemed essential to a full and loving relationship.  She loved it and wanted more.  I complied, after all, I was having fun with it, and it was breaking down a bad case of writer’s block for me.  Twenty-one of these stories later, I was still enjoying myself, and the block was gone.
Now to the current dilemma.  I started to publish these romances, but was informed that it was my death knell as a writer.  Do one thing and one thing only, the experts say.  Pick your genre and stick with it, and only with that so your readers know what to expect from you.  If you jump around, no one will know what the hell is going on and they will all abandon you.
Ok, there we are, should I publish these romances aimed at lesbians? (actually there are several that are about straight folks too, as well as trans, and gays, and,  well, everybody, all humans) Or should I just stick with the fantasy genre?
Well, here’s my thought.  Readers, all readers, (not just mine) are pretty intelligent folks, and have a good idea what they like and don’t.  I’d also like to think they will test different waters from time to time.  I also believe most readers would prefer to make these decisions for themselves.  So, I guess that’s my decision right there.  I will publish the romances, and let the readers decide if they like them or not.
So, there are three published on Smashwords so far, with about seventeen or so to go.  Here’s the latest, check it out; let me know what you think.


3 thoughts on “Should I or shouldn’t I?

  1. While I'd love to give the reading public the same credit you do, I'd probably lean towards the advice you were given, to a point. At the risk of diluting your recognition, you could follow the example of certain other prolific authors and publish your works of different genres under different pseudonyms. Limits the disappointment of the closed-minded.

    (In my experience elsewhere in life and the Internet, those who dislike something because of something as trivial as not being what they're used to are the most likely to become vocal critics).

  2. It is an interesting dilemma, and I know of different authors who have taken different approaches to this. One option is using a pseudonym for different types of books – Megan Lindholm did this when she started writing a different style of fantasy as Robin Hobb; Jennifer Rowe writes adult crime thrillers under her own name and children's fantasy as Emily Rodda. Holly Lisle uses a completely opposite approach and writes everything under one name, but connects her work with common themes and values, which she believes her readers share and follow her whatever genre she writes.

    Personally, I also lean towards the pseudonym option "just in case".

    Elsa Neal
    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

  3. Not a bad dilemma … as dilemma's go … mine are usually more along the lines of eat breakfast or pay the light bill … anyway, always follow your heart … it is usually right.

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.