Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pick a Genre, Any Genre

with guest  Sherry Kyle

Happy 7th Birthday, Seekerville!

How exciting to share birthday month with you! It’s been awhile since I’ve had the honor to guest post, and I’m thrilled to join you today, release day for my historical romance, Watercolor Dreams.

Wait! I thought you wrote contemporary novels! Aren’t you confusing your readers?

Historical romance is a new genre for me, but I stayed true to my brand, which is key. All my novels, contemporary and historical, are set in California and have a reconnecting theme.

Genre is a specific kind or style of writing. 

As a reminder, here are the basics of SEVEN common mainstream genres:

Action is similar to adventure. The protagonist gets himself in desperate situations (explosions, fight scenes, daring escapes, etc.) and risks his life to get what he wants. Many stories fall under both action and adventure genres, including: military fiction, spy fiction, and Western fiction, among others.

Fantasy stories are set in another world or reality. Magic or other supernatural phenomena is part of the primary plot element, theme, or setting, and symbolism is used to convey universal truths. Many times a “portal” is used to move between worlds.

Historical novels take place at least fifty years ago. Characters take part in actual historical events and may interact with real people in the past. Attention is paid to period detail, manners, and social conditions of the times presented in the story.

Mystery focuses on a crime, usually murder. The main character can be a civilian, but generally is an amateur detective, private eye, or police officer in search of “whodunit.” Real clues are mixed in with false ones. A good mystery is like a puzzle and must be solved by the end of the book. Reader expectation is to be able to solve the mystery along with the main character.

Romance centers on a relationship between the main female character and her male love interest. The pair usually meets in the first chapter. No other part of the plot can overshadow the romance and there must be seemingly impossible odds that the couple will get together. The book should end with an engagement or wedding, providing the reader with an optimistic and/or happy ending.

Suspense keeps the reader waiting for something, giving them an adrenaline rush. The protagonist’s job is usually to keep a catastrophe from happening. The goal of the writer is to make the reader a participant in the chase by identifying with the main character and the danger he or she faces.

Women’s Fiction borrows some elements of romance, but the woman’s life is the central focus. The relationships of the story are front and center. The story is often humorous, but can be deeply emotional. The main character can be single or married, and any age. There’s not always the standard ‘happy ending,’ but there’s a life-affirming resolution even if the story is somewhat tragic.

Are you an author that has considered changing or adding a new genre?

Maybe you started out writing suspense and discovered romance is the genre for you. Or you write action/adventure, but want to switch to fantasy. Or maybe you write contemporary women’s fiction and are interested in historical romance too. (I’m waving my hand here!)

People in the writing industry have strong opinions about authors who write multiple genres, such as:

• One prominent and successful author said, “It’s better to pick one genre and stick to it. Otherwise you need a pen name and two websites, which is difficult to keep up.”

• A male author and marketing professional said, “It’s better to land and stay put than flit here and there. Your readers will thank you.”

• On the other hand, an agent suggested writers try their hand at many genres to discover who they are as writers.

• A well-known author shared how she liked to write in multiple genres, but her audience chose her genre for her despite her desire to branch out.

Of course, whether you write one or more genres, all fiction includes these elements:

1. Characters—people facing hardship. The main character is the protagonist, and the person who opposes him or her is the antagonist. Characters can be flat (minor), or round characters (major). A flat or “two dimensional” character does not undergo substantial change or growth during the story, and plays a supportive role. A round or major character encounters conflict and is changed by it. Character is revealed by dialogue, through description, and how he or she responds to conflict.

2. Setting—the location and time period of a story. Setting can be a real place or from the author’s imagination. Many times the setting becomes a character of the story.

3. GMC—our characters need to want something (goal), have a reason (motivation), and struggle to get it (conflict). A goal should be measurable, urgent, and lead the character to action. Motivation comes from the character’s backstory. Both external and internal conflict tests the hero and keeps readers turning pages.

4. Dialogue—meaningful, natural conversation that moves the story forward. Remember, less is more. Real people use contractions, and leave out words. Use dialect sparingly and never use dialogue as info dump.

5. Plot—sequence of events that move the characters toward their goals. Plot is the foundation of the story in which the characters and setting is built around. There are 5 main elements: exposition (characters and setting established and conflict introduced), rising action (crisis is encountered and story conflict revealed), climax (highest point of interest and turning point of the story), falling action (events and complications begin to resolve), and resolution (outcome of the conflict revealed).

6. Theme—a main idea or universal message that relates to life and can be summed up in a single word (love, death, forgiveness, etc.). Often, novels can have more than one theme. A major theme is an idea that is repeated, while a minor theme is mentioned briefly. Three ways characters reveal theme are through thoughts, dialogue, and action.

7. Audience—the people reading our books and the reason we write. Authors need to create a world so real that reader can’t put the book down.

Before writing in a new genre, consider these ideas to keep your writing fresh:

• Spice up your story by “seasoning” your preferred genre with other genres, for example putting in a dash of suspense to contemporary women’s fiction or adding a touch of mystery to a historical.

• Write a few chapters outside your genre. The idea of writing a new genre may sound more appealing than it actually is.

• For fun, send a poem to a friend or write a short story for your children or grandchildren.

• Get a new hobby. Take a dance class, decorate your home, learn to knit, etc.

• Pamper yourself. Have lunch with a friend, go to a movie, or get a pedicure.

• Take a break. Go for a long walk, have a cup of coffee, write in a journal.

• Pray! Be still and listen. God will guide. And if He’s giving you the go ahead, write that new story!

Each published book, no matter the genre, is a reason to celebrate!

* * *
Sherry Kyle is an award-winning author, and writes books for tween girls, contemporary novels for women, including Delivered with Love, and The Heart Stone (Abingdon Press), and her newest historical romance, Watercolor Dreams (HopeSprings Books, October 2014). Sherry lives in California with her husband and four children, loves to decorate her beach home, and enjoys taking walks by the ocean. www.sherrykyle.com

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCL_DfuKldc
Blog: http://www.sherrykyle.com/category/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherryKyle
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sherrykyle
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sherrykylebooks/

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Watercolor Dreams. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition. US and Canada residents only.

For writers who write in multiple genres, any secrets to success you’d care to share?

Watercolor Dreams

He strolled into her painting . . . and into her heart.

It's 1910 and Anna Lewis is praying that God will help her become a premier watercolor artist of the lush beaches of Carmel, California. When a man strides down the beach and stops to face the ocean, Anna sketches him into her painting. Was it a mistake? Anna thinks so when he tells her he doesn't have spare change to purchase her work. Spare change indeed! But while she seeks God's leading for her art career, she'd better keep her day job as nursemaid to two rambunctious boys.

The minute Charles Jordan walks away, he regrets criticizing the woman's painting but as he told the artist, he's just been jilted at the altar.

How will a secret from Charles' past affect his chances of loving again? And how will Anna have the hope she needs when tragedy strikes and she must rely on the one man who crushed her spirit?


  1. Sherry, I loved how you detailed the different genres. I don't recognise any of your novels, but if you're on Seekerville, your novels are worth reading and re-reading! Thanks for being here, and now I'm off to find your books!

  2. Hi Marianne!

    Thank you! I appreciate your kind words, and that you want to check out my books. Which genre do you like to read and/or write?


  3. Okay, that's better. I updated my name and picture. :) (Ignore the deleted comment.)

  4. Thank you for the great post Sherry! It's a keeper. I like to read Christian Suspense, Christian Historicals and Christian Contemporary. But if I had to choose one to stick to it would be the Christian Suspense.

    Where do you live in California? I am a native Californian (born in Riverside and last home in Anaheim) transplanted to Indiana.

    Have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  5. I'm loving that you updated on the spot! And yes, the new pic is wonderful, love it!!!

    Delightful post! My years on both sides of this biz have taught me there are no absolutes. I started hearing about nothing but branding, and what are folks doing now? Branching out, left and right, LOL! But what I loved about your post is the encouragement to listen to God... and then step out! Thank you!

    Coffee is served! And breakfast cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven. Jump in and enjoy, friends!

  6. Good morning, Sherry. WELCOME BACK TO SEEKERVILLE!

    Some interesting thoughts on switching up genres.

    I had known you for romantic comedy.

    How did your switch come about??

  7. Cinnamon rolls. Heaven. Do you make from scratch. I use the tubes. Yes. Guilty.

  8. Hi Sherry, thanks for sharing and happy birthday to you. How fun to share the same month as Seekerville!

    Last year when meeting an agent she pushed me to pick one genre. I like both romance and romantic suspense, but I chose romance. (Still on unpublished island though.) Whenever I think about genres, I remember her words.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Well interesting, Jackie. And I had you pegged for romantic suspense.

    Don't toss those manuscripts. Once you get your foot in the door with one genre you can make your mark with the other as well.

  10. Welcome Sherry! I enjoyed your post, and Watercolor Dreams sounds like a delightful story.

    I enjoy reading/writing both historical and contemporary romance. Since I really do LOVE both genres, I have written manuscripts in both (although I've written more contemporary). Just need to keep editing and polishing my work, LOL.

    Ruthy brought cinnamon rolls and coffee---YUM!! My two favorites!

    Thanks again for visiting us today, Sherry. Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

    p.s. Can you actually see the ocean from your home? I think it would be lovely to look out my windows to a beach view!

  11. Interesting article, Sherry. Gives all writer's something to think about.

    Good luck with your current release.

  12. Jackie, Tina's right!

    Oh, how it pains me to say that!!!!

    Consider the out-of-genre manuscripts as money in the bank.

    I've now dipped my toes into historicals and single title indie books that are grittier romances and readers seem to be going back and forth with all of them, (Thank you so much for that, readers!!! I love you so much!!!!)

    But establishing yourself as an author and building a readership is never a bad idea! I'm a big believer in building a base for faith/family/business. A base station helps keep track of the Mother Ship!!!

  13. Tina, I use the tubes on school days for the kids because otherwise I interrupt writing time... but for those days when nothing but the best will do, it's Betty Crocker's white bread dough recipe, and then I stuff with cinnamon/butter/sugar.... and today I did the Cinnabon version, big, thick rolls with lots of doughy middle and cream cheese frosting.

    I'm just happy!!!!

  14. I want a handful of those cinnamon rolls! What's your recipe for the homemade ones?

    Sherry, thanks for the great post. I had never really thought about authors writing in different genres. I know they do, just never thought about it. Case in point: Charles G West writes Westerns. I found one of his medical thriller books, The Tenant. Great book! But he only wrote one and now spends all his time writing Westerns. I asked for another one like that one lol. When my kids were younger, I wrote short stories for them. They were kind of a mix between Nancy Drew and Goosebumps' R L Stine. I still have them and enjoy reading them, but I write romance now, hopefully one day will be published! But I still get ideas for those kids' stories...

  15. Sherry, welcome back! It's terrific having you here to celebrate release day of your newest novel.

    You mean to tell me there are other genres besides romance?? Oh, perish the thought, LOL! Your point of sprinkling in elements of other genres in your core work is well taken. I love that little added suspense and adventure in my romances. Great device for moving the plot forward most times.

    Congratulations on your newest novel release and a big congrats to adding another genre to your repertoire!

  16. Hi Cindy W,

    I like to read books in multiple genres too. You should see my nightstand right now—one historical, one contemporary, and a middle grade novel too.

    I live in Santa Cruz. It's nice to meet another Californian. :)


  17. Those cinnamon rolls are too warm and gooey to resist! Grabbing one on my way to work!!

  18. Oh, I still need a cup of coffee, so your offer of coffee and cinnamon rolls is perfect, Ruth!

    Yes, I've noticed authors branching out, too, especially now that authors are going indie.


  19. Hi Tina,

    Thanks for all your encouragement! I'm so glad you remembered me—and my first novel ("the one with the cute girl and VW bug on the front").

    I like to add humor (and pray it works!) to all my books, but they are listed under contemporary women's fiction, and sometimes contemporary romance. Isn't it funny how books can be placed differently on the bookshelf?


  20. Happy Birthday Seekers!!!

    Thanks for the chance to read Sherry's latest novel.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  21. Tina,

    Switching genres happened because after a pitch an editor said, "That would make a wonderful historical."


    All of a sudden I found myself writing a historical! Really, I started writing for tween girls, and an agent told me I should be writing novels. Either I'm very gullible or God was speaking to me. I do pray before I write, so I'm thinking it was the latter. :)

  22. Hi Jackie!

    So happy to see you here. And thank you! It's a big day. I agree with Tina. Keep that manuscript. I wrote Watercolor Dreams before The Heart Stone, which is my second novel in print, so you never know!

    And keep praying. :) God will show you. I have a friend who wanted to write romantic suspense, but received her first contract with romance. You can do it! :)

  23. Hi Patti Jo,

    It's nice to meet someone who loves reading both historical and contemporary! The editing and polishing never ends, so I'm right there with you.

    My husband and I live six houses in from the cliff, so yes we can see the ocean, but from our deck. We purchased the house two years ago and have been fixing it up ever since! It was a short sale and in desperate need of some TLC. What do you see when you look out your window?

  24. Thank you, Rose. So nice to be at Seekerville today.

    BTW, I like your profile picture. (Okay, that sounds like those creepy guys on Facebook...ugh, I hate that! Don't you?)

  25. Ruth,

    One thing I didn't do is build a base before branching out. I'm hoping and praying my contemporary readers won't be too surprised with this new historical.

    Okay, I'm feeling guilty. Lately I make my older kids fend for themselves before school. Right now they are living on goldfish (the crackers) and fruit snacks until they come home from school. Yes, I'm trying to teach them to get up earlier. :)

  26. Ruth, those cinnamon rolls sound so good!

  27. Hi Sally,

    It's nice to meet someone who loves children's stories! Right now I'm reading Doll Bones by Holly Black. My husband is a 6th grade teacher and has built an amazing library. You should see his classroom bookshelves!

    Have you ever thought about attending The Institute for Children's Literature? It's an online course. I took both the beginner's and advanced course. It was so much fun!

    Okay, I won't tempt you any longer. I love romance too. And historicals, and . . . and . . . we just love to read, don't we? :)

  28. Hi Audra,

    Thank you so much! October 7th has finally arrived! WOOT!

    I'm shaking in my boots (okay, I'm really wearing flip flops) about adding another genre. Hey, maybe I should try my hand at them all? No way! I won't be writing a suspense any time soon. But it's tempting!

    I find adding a new character halfway through keeps the story moving forward. What about you?

  29. Hey, KarenK,

    Thanks for the comment. :) Did you grab a cinnamon roll?

  30. I totally remember the book with the girl and the red car on the cover. We should all get memorable covers like that.

  31. Welcome back to Seekerville, Sherry! Jeff Gerke said in a workshop I attended at ACFW that when we have an idea for a story, we should consider what genre we can best tell it in. That idea took me by surprise as writers are normally adviced to stick to our brand. I like that you see brand more as the theme of your stories, than a genre.

    I'm fascinated by art and love the sound of Watercolor Dreams. Do you paint?


  32. Hi Janet!

    Thank you for the warm welcome. Was the workshop with Jeff Gerke from the most recent ACFW? Interesting.

    No, I'm not a painter, but I do love being crafty. (We've remodeled our house twice in the last two years.)

    My decision to make Anna an artist came from the history of Carmel. 60% of the community were artists and novelists in 1910.

  33. Sherry, thanks for sharing with us. I need all the help I can get.

    I've been torn between suspense and contemporary romance. Like Jackie, I've decided to focus on suspense. At least for now.

  34. Great thoughts here, Sherry. Thanks for sharing. My first two mss were women's fiction. My current one is contemporary romance. Not a big jump, but a small leap perhaps. :) I've enjoyed writing this genre, but it's harder than I realized to keep the romance front and central. :)

    Great idea to write a few chapters in a different genre to see if it's one you'll enjoy writing. Thanks for all the tips!

  35. Hi, Sherry! I just read your interview on "A Christian Writer's World". Congratulations on your book release!

  36. I'm a historical romance girl. My only deviation from this is writing the 1980s era which I love, but realize there is no market for. By industry definition, that is contemporary. Like Jackie, I will throw those in a drawer and maybe someday they will be old enough to classify as historical! I used to make homemade cinnamon rolls frequently (my husband won't allow tubes in the house) but since my insides went celiac, I stick to the virtual rolls. So thanks, Ruthy.

  37. HI SHERRY,
    Interesting post. I'm doing historical romance right now, but I've noticed that in my Oregon Trail stories, there is also a suspense element in that the bad guy is tracking the good guy, closes in on him/her and they have a showdown. I'd like to write Full Suspense or Mystery some day, but right now it's all I can do to plot the historicals. I'd also like to try contemporary women's fiction. I believe strongly in establishing a brand and then branching out and hoping the readers will follow me. I read a lot and I will follow a favorite author into a different genre, even if I like their original genre better. Case in point, Lauraine Snelling writes good contemporary women's fiction, I read it, I enjoy it, but for me she'll always be associated with Ingeborg and the Town of Blessing.
    I got a mediocre score in the Phoenix Rattler, but I deserved it -- the piece I submitted was not ready for public consumption. Got some good feedback, though.
    Am on vac this week so will be popping in again later today.
    Licking my wounds in NH (not really)


    Your blog today is timely for me because after establishing myself as a historical author with ten books, I am now venturing into contemporary, and WOW, what a shift!

    I thought it would be easier, but I'm finding that a 63-year-old Baby Boomer doesn't exactly talk like a 20-something, no matter how immature she is. :|

    But 2/3 of the way through, I think I'm getting the hang of it (I hope), and of course, there's always my 26-year-old daughter to consult. :)

    I tried your video, and it didn't work here, but I went to Youtube, and I thought it was great -- interesting premise!!


  39. Hi Terri,

    That in-between feeling is tough. Have you completed both novels? It's nice to make a decision, isn't it?

  40. Hey Jeanne,

    Yes, I agree that women's fiction and contemporary romance are not that far apart and often get confused.

    Oh, I need another cup of coffee! I'll resist the added cinnamon bun. No need to add to my backside. Writing does that! Sorry . . . off topic.

    My first two novels are definitely women's fiction, but are often categorized as contemporary romance. So, which to you like writing better?

  41. Hi Rebecca,

    Yes, I'm on several blogs today. Nice to see you here on Seekerville. I'm so grateful! These ladies are awesome. Hope you get a chance to read Watercolor Dreams. I'd love to know what you think. :)

  42. Sherry, thanks for joining us in Seekerville today!

    Yes, it can be scary stepping out of your comfort zone to try writing in a different genre. I certainly felt it after publishing seven (wow, just noticed the birthday connection!) contemporary novels before venturing into historical romance.

    I think what is key for me is that, when you peel off the genre layers, my stories still have the common threads of strong emotions and multifaceted characters with "issues."

  43. Hi Cindy R,

    The 1980's remind me of high school and college. Great music! Yay! I love historical romance too. I really enjoy the Edwardian era. I have a Pinterest page for Watercolor Dreams. So fun! Here's the link: http://www.pinterest.com/sherrykylebooks/novel-watercolor-dreams/

    What time period do you enjoy?

  44. Sally Shupe, here's a link to the cinnamon roll recipe, a combo of mine and Mary Connealy's mother Dorothy Moore of Lyons, Nebraska

    Homemade Cinnamon Rolls From Dorothy Moore

    They are amazing!!!

  45. Hey Kaybee,

    I love Lauraine Snelling! She's amazing.

    You have a great attitude! I love the line, "the piece I submitted was not ready for public consumption." That had me chuckling. I know all about that. I have some novels in my computer right now that I can say the same thing. :) Those critiques are invaluable, aren't they? Keep going! You can do it.

    See you in a bit . . .

  46. Have I mentioned how much I love the title "Watercolor Dreams"? Very Monet and beachy and inviting.

    Just plain wonderful!

  47. Sherry, I attended Jeff's workshop this year. Though the idea was interesting, I feel more at home in the historical genre so that's probably where I'll stay.

    Love that the history of Carmel was your inspiration for the heroine's goal. 60% artists and novelists is an intriguing stat! You've made me want to visit.


  48. Hey, Julie!

    63? No way!

    Thanks for taking a peek at my youtube video. I made it using Animoto. My characters are actually my editor's relatives! No joking. And the photo was taken in 1910, the year my novel takes place.

    So, what made you switch to contemporary? Curious minds want to know. How nice to have a 26-year-old to help!

  49. Hi Myra,

    Thank you for having me. It's nice to see another Abingdon author!

    Yes, like Janet mentioned, my books all have the same (reconnecting CA) theme. Like you, I think when you establish that, then you can take your readers to another genre. I wish I had 7 novels under my belt before I did the switch. Congratulations on 7 books/7th Birthday!

  50. Ruth,

    I came up with the title! :) I'm glad you like it. The cover is supposed to give the feeling of a watercolor painting.

  51. Ruth, thank you for the recipe! I can't wait to try it. Sherry, I love the cover of your book. Just seeing that man standing there, I've got to know more!

  52. Janet,

    Personally, I'm glad you're going to stick with historical. :)

    Another little tidbit . . .

    I took the beach picture for the book trailer on my anniversary trip to Carmel in July. I wanted to capture the same location as Anna on the cover, which is the first scene of Watercolor Dreams.

  53. Sally, you've made my day! That's exactly what I want readers to think about my cover. :) Thank you!

  54. Sherry, very interesting post. I like reading both historical and contemporary. Usually after I have read two or three of one era, I'm ready to switch. Since I live in Kearney, Nebraska, where the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails all meet, I enjoy reading historical fiction from that era and have thoughts of someday writing a historical set in this area. But for now I am working on a contemporary.

    Please enter me into the drawing for your book. I love the cover, too. My husband and I went to Carmel on our honeymoon and were back there two years ago, so I am familiar with the area. How fortunate you are to be able to see the ocean from your house!

  55. Congratulations on your release, Sherry! How exciting to have your first historical romance out. It sounds like a great story. I love historical romance, and stories set in my beloved state of California are high on my list, so Watercolor Dreams just made my Must Read list.

  56. Hi Sandy,

    My husband and I went to Carmel on our honeymoon too! We also enjoy the same genres. :)

    You can always return to Carmel by reading Watercolor Dreams! (Okay, that was a shameless plug.) Seriously, though, you'd have a totally different appreciation because you've been there. :)

  57. Hi Keli,

    So great to see you here. You are an writer/reader after my own heart! <3

    Have you ever switched genres or have you always written historical romance?

  58. Hi Sherry! Thank you for the run-down on genres. Sometimes a little reminder can help us know we're in the right place...or to nudge us to get to the right place. My first novel a few years ago was suspense, but it landed in a drawer. Three novels and two other genres later, I'm back to suspense and garnering some interest. I think I finally found my niche, and I'm actually glad those others weren't published. :-)

    Your cover is beautiful! So many ideas/life lessons/themes possible in the notion of watercolors.

  59. Going along with the #7 Birthday theme . . .

    I wrote a blog post about 7 Simple Steps to Create an Animoto Book Trailer, if anyone wants to know how I created the one for Watercolor Dreams. Here's the link: http://www.bloggingbistro.com/7-simple-steps-to-create-an-animoto-book-trailer-video/

  60. Hey Meghan,

    Yes, reminders are good. I learned a lot writing this post. That's great that you've found your niche! I imagine it feels great! I'm still navigating different genres and pray God opens a door wide and closes others. Writing in multiple genres is hard work!

    Thank you for the compliment on my cover. I'm super happy with it. It makes me want to drive down to Carmel and sit on the white sandy beach.

  61. JANET, good point from the Jeff Gerke workshop. I haven't done that yet because the stories that "come" to me are usually specific to the time period, such as the Oregon Trail. There really isn't a contemporary parallel to that. Is there? Or did I miss something? Probably.
    I think if I ever got my POV character FIRST, I could search for the right time and genre. But it usually comes to me intertwined.
    I would love to do a contemporary women's fiction story. Also want to do mystery and suspense, but not till I'm better at plotting.
    RUTH, these cinnamon rolls are divine, even virtually. You are killing me with this stuff.

  62. Hi Sherry:

    I just love the start of your book. It’s hard to come back from an insult at the start of a relationship. It makes me think of Darcy insulting the Bennett family with Elizabeth overhearing him at the country ball. That gets the reader immediately emotionally involved.

    Also I’d love to live in Carmel. We would go there every time we visited my mother in San Francisco. A native told me they don’t have house numbers but they rather name their houses so you’d have addresses like “The Eastwood Cottage” Maple street, Carmel or "Serenity Palace" Oak Street, Carmel. I did drive around the older areas of town and did see such names on the mailboxes so I think this may be true. That would be just like an artist colony should behave.

    I often buy books because of the setting. With “Watercolor Dreams” I like the setting, the theme, and the time period. I couldn’t wait. I got my copy just after midnight. I’m already reading it.

    Now as far as marketing goes, basically a marketer wants all your books to sell all your other books. It’s best not two have pen names.

    Marketing is far more complex than genre alone. I’d have no problem marketing your books in contemporary or historical if they were of the same tone and voice. I could deal with this on the cover by adding a graphic that said something like “A Historical Romance by Sherry Kyle” and for the Contemporary books, “A Contemporary Romance by Sherry Kyle”, and even “An Urban Fantasy by Sherry Kyle”.

    The problem comes when there is a clash in values or sensibilities. For example, if you write cozy mysteries, develop a following, and then write a ‘hot’ sensual mystery with obscene language and ‘on-screen’ violence, then marketing to both audiences suffers greatly.

    Even within the exact same genre there can be major marketing problems. Arthur Conan Doyle was forced by his fans to write only Sherlock Holmes stories. He become so frustrated that he killed Sherlock but was forced to bring him back to life when his other writings were rejected by fans. Look at Sue Grafton. Can see write outside her “ABC” series? Nevada Barr has been pretty much forced to write her national park, Anna Pigeon, mysteries.

    It is said in romance that fans want the same ‘but different’. Depending on your voice you can give them ‘the same’ in many different genres. A lot will also depend on how prolific you are. If you only write one book every two years and fans anxiously wait for it to come out (like Tony Hillerman’s books), then writing in alternate genres could very much aggravate your fans. If you write four books a year, it is probably a very good idea to have one or two addition genres working or at least more than one series.

    Right now I’m reading Debby Giusti’s, “The Agent’s Secret Past”, which is an Amish Military Suspense Mystery Inspirational Romance – that’s six themes that have to have interwoven story lines which conclude at the same time. If I wasn’t seeing this being done, I would say doing it would be impossible! If that’s possible, writing in more than one genre surely is. :)

    Make your voice your brand and you can carry that voice to many different genres with great success. Each book should act to sell every other book and each book should offer something to attract new readers to your work while satisfying you current fans.

    Lunch time! Now I can get back to the most sympathetic hero and heroine that I can remember reading from just the first two pages. I love the wind and the sound of the waves. I know just what it feels like to be on that beach with your hero and heroine.

  63. If I do have a major switch in genre, I already have my pseudonyms.
    1. "Melinda St. Botolph" for romance. Melinda has long blood-red fingernails, travels with her personal chef and yoga teacher, and has one of those little yapping dogs in a basket.
    2. "Ramsay W. Pond" for humorous nonfiction. Ramsay is your average Everyman who looks at life with a wry twist. Think Bill Cosby in his SECOND show. I need to run out and get a cardigan sweater for this one.
    3. "Telstar." For science fiction. An asexual, pure beam of light pointing us to the next century. Or something like that.
    Maybe it's better if I stick to one genre. There are serious multiple personality issues at risk.
    Kathy Bailey
    Conflicted in New Hampshire

  64. "Kaybee," Tina squeaked. "Seriously??"

  65. Amish Military Suspense Mystery Inspirational


  66. Sherry, I read and write historical fiction. I tried my hand at a contemporary romance once, and it was so bad I didn't even finish it. For some reason my young hero and heroine sounded like they'd stepped straight out of the 70s. I wonder why. LOL

  67. I think I've got a sequel to Rambo in me.

    need more time.

  68. The only trouble with branching out into a new genre is reader expectations.

    I said to my hair stylist once that I'd read some romance novel (you'd recognize the name) and when I got to the end.....no happily ever after.
    I've never read her again.

    I'll add I did the same this with John Grisham. I didn't read ... was it The Painted House? His hugely successful departure from his lawyer dramas. And I've never read him since.

    In the case of the non-romance it was a real betrayal.

    In the case of John Grisham (who does NOT need me) it was more just getting out of the habit of picking up each new book as it came out. I understand he's writing lawyer dramas again. But I haven't read them.

    My hair stylist (yes, I have a hair stylist, regardless of what your own eyes tell you!!!) sort of gasped a little and said, "I just realized I did that with ....big name author. I read something out of her brand and I've never read her since.

    Again, not hostile, just ... something. Hard to say what. Pulling back. Believing in an author. Knowing what you're getting when you reach for a book.

    So I take the whole 'branding' thing VERY SERIOUSLY, because it's been very good to me.

    Besides, I really do love cowboys. :)

  69. I wrote in many genres before I was published, that's where my pen name book Ten Plagues comes from.
    I loved doing that and the reviews are absolutely great for my book about a demon possessed serial killer.........all six of them.

  70. Hi Vince,

    Wow, I'm honored that you purchased Watercolor Dreams and have started reading it! Hope you enjoy. Yes, Charles has an uphill battle to climb.

    Words that have been used to describe my books are heartwarming, delightful, sweet story, humorous, etc. and that hasn't changed between genres. However, I don't produce 4 books a year! That's too prolific for me.

    I did have an editor suggest a pen name for my historical and I declined that idea (with my agent's help). I agree, it's best to use one name. I didn't want more than one website.

    Thank you for your encouragement! Enjoy your lunch. I'm sipping on a cafe mocha right now.

  71. Hi Mary,

    I was looking and hoping you'd chime in. :)

    True confession time. In my post, it was my first agent that encouraged me to try my hand at different genres. She said my readers will make it clear to me what to write. Now if I had a big following after MANY books, I wouldn't switch. (I can understand why you'd stick with your genre.) Right now, I'm praying for God to show me. (And for a three-book contract! Gotta dream big.)

    A demon possessed serial killer? YIKES!

  72. Oh, wow! Kaybee. :)

    Keli, if you want to try writing contemporary, you might have Julie Lessman's daughter read your work. Oh, wait! If I recall from FB, you have a twenty-something daughter too, don't you? Maybe just stick to historical. :)

  73. Hi Sherry,

    I'm going to rock the boat here with a question as follows:

    Why do we have a recognized genre titled: Women's Fiction? And why not Men's Fiction, (guess there would be no market). Would it be more politically correct to just call it adult fiction, and leave gender out of the designation?

    Just asking...

  74. Laughing with Vince at my multi-themed story.

    Yes, Tina, "The Agent's Secret Past" has Amish elements...and a buggy on the cover. My May 2015 release does as well.

  75. Sherry,

    Thanks for helping us celebrate our birthday!

    I baked German Chocolate Cake. May I cut you a slice?

    Sometimes I think of writing in a genre other than suspense...then I realize I wouldn't know how to structure a story if I didn't have a killer on the loose and my hero and heroine running for their lives. LOL!

  76. Great post, Sherry! The video fascinated me. Thanks for sharing the video instructions link. I noticed that the main images are watercolor paintings. I'm curious to know if you painted them.

    I've just recently gotten my watercolor supplies out of the basement and that's as far as I've gotten. Writing is consuming me now. But I find that my heroines often have my hobbies, lol.

  77. Sherry, kudos for nailing the details with a photo taken on location. You not only made me want to visit Carmel, you made me want to read Watercolor Dreams. I just uploaded it to my iPad.

    Another question: Are the olf fashioned trailer photos of Anna and Charles relatives?


  78. DEBBY, I want to read that. Only you could pull that off.
    Yes, thanks, I will have cake -- and skip supper.

  79. Hi Mark,

    Hope you didn't feel excluded.

    I did a presentation on Women's Fiction not long ago. Yes, it's definitely a set genre. Did you know that 40% of fiction sold today is Women's Fiction? If anyone wants the powerpoint presentation, send me an e-mail at sherry (at) sherrykyle (dot) com.

    There are actually more genres than the ones I listed, but I wanted to keep the number to seven since it's Seekerville's #7 birthday!

  80. This afternoon I am drinking Lapsang Souchong, brewed from loose tea, in a china teapot. The smoky flavor will go well with Debby's cake. It is raining off and on in NH and I am about to go through and check GMC in my WIP.

  81. IT'S OKAY about the contest. I still got 5s and 6s, but the story is definitely not ready for pub. What happened was, I had it critiqued by a professional, a multi-published author, at a Marlene Bagnull conference at least 10 years ago, and that writer said it was the best first chapter she'd read from a beginner. BUT the craft has changed over the ensuing years, and it needs work to bring it up to today's standards. I'm still glad I entered, but I deserved what I got.

  82. Yes, Debby, you can cut me a slice of German chocolate cake! Thanks for asking. (I had that exact kind a couple of weeks ago for my husband's birthday. That's his favorite cake.) I'll grab a glass of Almond milk to go with it.

    Sounds like suspense is the PERFECT genre for you! Your comments to Tina sound very intriguing!

  83. Hey Lyndee,

    I'm glad the video fascinated you! Yipee! No, I'm not a watercolor artist, but I had fun pretending while writing Watercolor Dreams!

    Anna, the artist on my cover, is thanks to Ken Raney. Check out his work here: http://kenraneyartandillustration.blogspot.com

    Maybe reading Watercolor Dreams will inspire you to paint again! If so, please let me know. :)

  84. SQUEE! Thank you, Janet!

    Finding royalty-free stock photos for a book trailer can be difficult, especially for a historical novel. So, I asked relatives, friends, and people on FB to send me photos from that time period.

    To answer your question . . .the characters in my book trailer are my editor's relatives! :) The picture is taken in 1910, the exact year my book takes place. How cool is that?

  85. Sherry, please enter me in drawing.

  86. Sherry, which do I like writing better? Um, both? :) Having just completed my first romance, I'll say it's been more challenging to balance the romantic aspect of the story with keeping the plot moving. So, that one is a little more challenging for me right now. I'd say the jury's still out on which I like best. I like them both right now. :)

  87. Hi, Sherry!!

    I enjoyed your interesting post and would love to read "Watercolor Dreams" - love the story-line!! Thank you!!

    Shared post!!

  88. Sending Kaybee a special hug along with the cake. :)

  89. Jeanne,

    I like writing both women's fiction and historical romance. In fact, my agent has a historical romance proposal on her desk right now, and I'm finishing up another contemporary women's fiction. (And I also enjoy writing books for tween girls! I have two in print and one more on the way.) I really like the freedom right now to do that. Of course, if a publisher wanted to offer me a series, I wouldn't object! :) I tried to close the door to one genre (which one, I'm not telling), but God kept it open.

    Come join the multi-genre group! I'd love company.

  90. Kaybee, that's an awesome compliment! Let that inspire you to keep going.

    It's amazing how much people say effects us. One best-selling author told me, "You've got what it takes, kid," and I've been holding onto that for years.

    On the flip side, negative words replay in our heads too. We've got to balance the positive with the negative, stay humble, and write for God's glory. :)

  91. I love to read multi genre.

    I hope everyone is doing well today.

  92. Hi Wilani,

    Love your name! Thanks for joining us. :)

    Things are slowing down. Is it time for dinner? I'm going out to celebrate my release in a little bit. Nothing fancy. It's been a fun and busy day, and I'm too tired to cook.

    A question to the Seekerville gals:

    It's been 7 years of faithful blogging. Besides sharing about writing, what is one of your favorite recipes you've shared? (I know there are always treats here!)

  93. I'd love for anyone that's read the blog for a long time to chime in.

    (I have a point to this question). :)

  94. I'll admit it. When I first read that list of things to do to freshen your writing, I thought it said "get a new 'hubby.' " It's way too late for coffee.

    Yes, I'm dealing with that genre issue right now. The elements of my story haven't changed. I'm just emphasizing a different set of elements than what I used to do.

  95. I am not a writer but until recently I read romance. Period. Since retiring I have discovered so many good books out there in so many other genres that I am enjoying them all!

  96. Hey Walt,

    'Get a new hubby' now that's funny! Think I'll keep mine. We've been married for twenty-six years, and have known each other for thirty!

    Reading the genre you want to write is key to understanding the different elements that make up that particular genre. It also helps to buy books on the craft, as well as attending workshops and conferences. As writers, we never stop learning!

  97. Hi Lilsis,

    Writers LOVE their readers. I know I do!

    How fun that you're branching out into different genres. It's always fun to try new authors.


  98. Sherry, I'm sorry I'm late visiting your post. Congrats on your new book and genre!

    I love your advice to stick to your brand, even in different genres. A great idea to keep to your most common themes and setting.

  99. Shery, this post wad so helpful! I'm currently writing a non-fiction but already thinking ahead to when it's finished. I'm thinking romance, but you never know where God will lead!

  100. Ah-h-h...caramel rolls, so tempting to top off my first apple of the day. And don't tell my Beloved he is reading "women's" books. He's into romance almost as deep as I am, only he has more time to read. My spare moments just HAVE to go into the writing of same. Watercolor Dreams sounds like one I'll have to make time for...like, indulge? Great post.

  101. Hi Sherry, Sorry I missed you yesterday, but just in case you check in today, I will thank you for joining us.

    What a great article and description of the different genres. I will refer writers and readers to this because I am often asked that question. Great going.

    Sure hope you had fun with us. Thanks again for sharing.

    Oh yes, I love to write in different genres. It keeps me interested.

  102. Hi Missy,

    Great to see you!

    It's always scary for an author to try a new genre. Thank you for the encouragement.

  103. Hi Edwina,

    My books for girls are nonfiction, so I know where you're coming from. As much as I love writing those books, fiction pulls at my heart as well. Whatever genre you decide, I know you'll have a blast!

  104. Sorry I missed this yesterday. I loved the breakdown of different genres. I love to write and read historical but do have some favorite authors in other genres.

  105. Hi Dee LeRoye,

    Shh! It's our secret. I love a man who can enjoy a romance. :) There's nothing wrong with that. I'd love to know what he thinks of Watercolor Dreams. (And there's even a man on the front cover!) Hope you get a chance to indulge.

  106. Hi Sandra,

    Yay! Thanks for having me here, especially during birthday month.

    You sound like me. Writing in different genres keeps me interested too. I put my whole heart into whatever I'm writing.

  107. Hi Jamie,

    It was a whirlwind day yesterday, and I enjoyed every minute! :)

    Historical is one of my top genres to read and write too.

    Thanks for joining in...

  108. Very interesting interview & the comments were interesting also , please enter me :)
    I'm going to heard over to check out that Cinnamon Roll recipe . . DK Stevens from Nebraska :)

  109. Any tips for an aspiring author who hopes to write in multiple genres? My target audience is always women, but I like to switch between fiction and non-fiction and write historical romance as well as romantic suspense.

  110. Hey Deanna,

    Good to see you here too! :) Did you try the cinnamon roll recipe?

  111. Hi Anne,

    Tips? Hmm... here's three:

    Now is a great time for you to try multiple genres! Does one pull at you more than the others? Complete the manuscripts and have fun!

    When you meet an editor, find out what they are looking for and only pitch one genre, otherwise their eyes may glaze over. :)

    To get published in nonfiction, you'll need a large enough platform for them to consider your book. Now's the time to build your platform through social media.


  112. Love your video! I can't believe you made it yourself on Animoto. I'm hoping to branch out to different genres (first book was women's fiction) by using interconnecting themes. I'm leaning towards using a pen name--well, my initials--but also keeping one website. Or would you recommend multiple websites for different styles?

  113. Hi Sherry, great articles, I really enjoyed it and appreciated the advice about targeting your genre. For anyone who reads my comment, I've read Sherry's book, Watercolor Dreams and it's good! I recommend you get a copy, you won't be sorry.

    Blessings, Miralee

  114. Hi Jennifer!

    Thanks for the compliment on my Animoto video. :) It was fun to make and inexpensive too!

    I thought about using a different name for my historical romance, but my agent suggested I keep my name. I think she's wise!

    I think it's hard to keep up ONE website, so I wouldn't recommend a website for each genre. That's too much work--at least for me!

    Happy writing!

  115. Hi Miralee,

    Great to hear from you! Thanks for the plug about Watercolor Dreams. :)

    I think the cover captures Anna and Charles (and Carmel) perfectly, don't you? BTW, if anyone needs a cover design, my editor hired Ken Raney. He's amazing!


  116. Thanks for being here and congratulations on your latest!

    After reading the various definitions, I need to rework what I tell people about my books. I've been saying adventure but I think adding suspense into the mix fits the description well.

    Printing this one off! Thank you, Sherry!