I'm sitting here, day after day telling my lovely readers about the books I have for sale (Unfolding Life and Melody of Love, if you have forgotten) and about my upcoming project (Seeing What Develops). But I can tell you that my mind is miles ahead of all these things. I'm already editing, revising and working up the marketing for more projects to come. That's where I'm running into the most common problem a writer can have: staying in a single category or branching out to a new genre.
Right now, my work falls into the categories of romance and chick-lit, which often go hand in hand when it comes to sales and the type of reader interested in it. I like writing in these genres. They are fun and light. Personally, I like to read this stuff right after a heavy literary novel or a long biography to break things up on my reading list. But this isn't all I write. I have suspense novels in various stages of completion. I have also started something I still can't categorize but may end up in literary fiction, though it seems to have elements of an alternate world--just not alternate enough to be categorized as fantasy.
Like my reading list, I don't think my writing should have too much of one genre back to back. That, and I'm having a difficult time realizing I'm in a writing rut when it comes to assigning characters professions--I seem to use the same three in all of my romance/chick-lit. While I'm working that out, I'm going to get my first suspense novel ready.
Writers approaching a change in genre can do two things: they can hide it or they can embrace it. I'm choosing to embrace this change, even if it means having to build a whole new readership. I think the readers who like my romance would still enjoy my suspense trilogy, though they have to wait longer for the romantic payoff. Some writers hide a genre change behind a pseudonym and never mix their marketing between different types of readers. This is often the advice for readers who don't have a huge fan base in either category.
Nope. Not going to hide. I'm going to make that turn into suspense and hope my readers will follow me there. Of course, I'm also looking forward to picking up more readers along the way.