Shakespeare said it first, but was Romeo and Juliet’s dilemma any greater than the dilemma of a modern writer working in more than one genre? I don’t think so.
I’ve reach a kind of crossroads in my writing. After releasing five humorous paranormal mysteries under the Janni Nell name, I published three humorous chick lit mysteries—yep, you guessed it—under the same name. I can still see the look on horror on the face of a fellow writer, when I told her I’d published both paranormal and chick lit under the same name.
Of course I’d considered using a different name, but because the two series were similar in voice and humor, I decided they had enough in common to be published under the same name. With the benefit of hindsight that seems like a big mistake. The differences between the genres were too great. All I ended up doing was confusing readers and messing with my brand.
Now I’m a month or two away from publishing another paranormal. This is a more serious story and, although there is a mystery to solve, I wouldn’t place it in the mystery genre. So I’m considering a name change. Am I crazy? Maybe. If I do change my name, in some ways, it’ll mean starting from scratch. But…and it’s a big but, I won’t confuse readers further by publishing something that is different from what I’ve published in the past.
I’m interested in how other writers have handled this situation, but also how readers feel when their favorite authors switch genres.
So, what should I do? Change my name? Keep the same name? Or maybe hedge my bets with “Janni Nell writing as…”?
In the meantime you can see what all the fuss is about by checking out the Allegra Fairweather series of paranormal mysteries and the Sassy Chance series of chick lit mysteries.