Aug 5, 2011

New Genre, New Identity

by Tanya Parker Mills

So I'm sliding sideways into another genre. The story I had begun, set in 1970's Beirut, has stymied me for now. After 3-4 false starts, I decided now must not be the time to write it and so, for the past few weeks, I've been casting around for another character, another plot. When I finally hit upon it, I was both surprised and nervous. First, it's geared to younger readers. Second, it leaves the comfortable, safe world of reality and delves into half-fantasy.

Having recently read of an author friend's journey to success, I recalled sharply one of his sage bits of counsel: Don't change on your audience...stick to one genre. So I fought the drive to write this new saga. I'd always written for adults with an adult voice, firmly grounded in reality. I may not have a big, loyal base of readers just yet, but what if I get lucky and this new fantasy tale takes hold? Do I want to write fantasy the rest of my life? Yes...and no. I don't want to be tied to only one genre.

So there's only one option: Write the fantasy tales under a pseudonym. Any suggestions?


  1. Absolutely write under a pseudonym. Because believe me if Tom Clancy suddenly wrote a fantasy, I would NOT consider reading it.

  2. That's not the only option. Author Vickie Hinze has changed her genre numerous times using her own name. She's been very successful in every one. Though she's not LDS, I think her latest genre is Christian romance. Nancy Springer has done almost as much genre changing, but in her case she's done it all under that one pseudonym. I think most of your adult readers will be thrilled to see you adding a new dimension to your work, especially those who have children. That's a ready made new audience. Last but not least, Rick Riordan found some success with his previous detective novels but the Percy Jackson series really launched his career. Yet I love pen names if they have a real purpose. Piers Anthony omitted his last name partly for the alphabetical prominence, but his pen name is also a pun name. Say it fast and you'll hear Xanth in the middle, his fantasy world Xanth. And I'm using part of my real name, Sher A. Hart, for the sound of it. My pun name is a better fit for my books than my real one, Sheryl A. Hartwell. So if you use a pen name, use one with meaning. You can visit my website at, and follow my blog I just found out about ANWA today from Dierda Eden-Coppel. Wow! I'm not alone anymore.

  3. Follow your heart. Pen names can be awefully fun, and if you want, you can link them back to your name.

  4. Write what you like. I have heard it is best to put different genres under different names but some people don't so just do what you like.

  5. Thanks for all the suggestions! And the link to your site, Sher! I'll let you all know when I've settled on my course, whether it's a new name or not.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.