Is it a mistake to try to take your writing career in a different direction if you are already established in one certain genre? If you’ve been following my crazy writing life throughout the years, you know cowboys and Indians are my first love, but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing something in the horror genre, too. After eleven Historical Romances, I finally decided to give it a go. I spent (or wasted) three years completely obsessed with trying to write a paranormal contemporary romance about vampires. This project was in completely new territory for me. Everything I had written up to that point was about the Old West, a subject I had been enthusiastic about my entire life. I had a really hard time finding my ‘contemporary’ voice, but once I finally found it, creating my vampire fantasy world was the most fun I’ve ever had while writing a book. Unfortunately, I have been trying to find a publisher for this book for over a year, and that hasn’t been any fun at all. Excuse me for a second while I toot my own horn here, but I just don’t get it? In my humble opinion (and also in my daughter’s opinion) this vampire book is the best thing I’ve ever written. Okay, I know, we don’t really count.
My plan was to write a series of at least three vampire books about the ‘Blood Clan’ that I was introducing in the first paranormal contemporary romance. But whenever I try to work on the second book in this saga, I feel like I’m wasting my time…again. If the first book never sells, why should I be writing a second one?
I’ve tried to write a new historical. I keep wondering if it’s the genre I really should stick with because I’ve had a measure of success with my first eleven historical romances. But, every time I try to work on the historical I start to feel guilty about spending my limited writing time working on something other than the second paranormal. What if a publisher finally wants to buy the first one, and I’m not ready with the second book in the series?
In an attempt to try something entirely different and to get my mind off of my obsession with the paranormal book, I started writing a contemporary erotica, but after the first fifty or so pages I decided this genre just isn’t for me. Although, I loved writing the love scenes in my previous books, I’ve decided I’m just a bit too old fashioned to compete with the new and totally uninhibited writers of erotica, which by the way, I do love to read. Instead, I’ll just continue to write my mildly explicate and beautifully romantic love scenes, while being totally jealous of all those writers who can write really explicate (and sometimes really raunchy) sex scenes that make me quiver and sweat in all ‘those’ places. So, basically my attempt to venture into another unfamiliar genre was just another waste of my time and energy.
Rejection is the bane of a writer’s existence, but I have to admit, I was a bit spoiled. Until the past year and the four rejections I’ve received for the paranormal, my first eleven books were published without a single rejection. Of course I know how lucky I was, and perhaps now I’m paying my dues. As a writer I’ve learned I have no choice but to be patient, because everything in the publishing world takes an extremely long time to accomplish. But, it’s still hard to wait anywhere from four weeks to twelve weeks after sending out a query or the entire manuscript—no wait, it’s far worse than hard—it’s downright agonizing to wait so long just to get a form rejection email, or a quick reply from an editorial assistant that they are no longer reading vampire submissions. Speaking of long, I guess I have no one to blame but myself since it took me too long to write my vampire book and the market is no longer hot for books about this subject. But, I can’t help but ask myself, did I also make a drastic mistake by trying to switch genres when I was already an established author in another genre?
Now here I sit confused about what direction to take my writing career at this point in time. It’s been so long since I sold a book (four years) I’m beginning to feel like I’ve lost all my writing mojo. Every time I post something about writing on any of my social media sites I feel like a has-been who has no business even having a writing site anymore. I know I just need to keep writing, but should I keep working on another historical romance or the next paranormal contemporary romance in my series? I love both genres, but I can’t write two books at the same time. Of course, this wouldn’t even be an issue if I would just sell that darn vampire book, but until that happens (positive thinking here) I have to figure out which genre I can be the most passionate about writing right now, and I need to do it soon before the last of that mojo-thing is completely gone. Decisions…decisions…