Genre Neutral

On his lively blog, Ed Gorman tackles  the pros and cons of being a writer who isn’t pidgeon-holed in any one genre.

Well, as I said at a conference where I was one of the speakers: "My
name is Ed Gorman and I’m a nobody in three genres." I’m sure working
under my own name in three genres, especially ones so distinct from
each other, has hurt me. Some of this is financial. I work where I can
sell. But the greater problem is that I’m genuinely fond of suspense,
horror and westerns. I’m not slumming or writing down as I shift from
genre to genre.

He says that every time he’s tried to write something specifically to capitalize on whatever was selling big in the marketplace, he’s failed.

I was once with an agent who said he could make me a big name if only
I’d write a romantic suspense novel under a woman’s name; and so I did.
And when that failed to sell up to expectaion, he said he could make me
a best seller if only I’d write a political thriller under a pen name.
Well, I not only wrote one, I wrote two. And when that failed to sell
up to expectation, he said that he coukl make me a best seller I only
I’d write a very long spin on Rosemary’s Baby under a pen name. And
when that failed to sell up to expectation, I got a new agent who said
write the book you want to write and I’ll get you as much as I can for
it. I’m still with that agent today.

This reminds me of an experience Bill Rabkin & I had when we decided to leave our TV agent at William Morris and started looking for new representation.  Many of the agents we "did lunch" with said that we had to many diverse credits — scifi shows, detective shows, horrors shows —  that we needed to "reinvent" ourselves by focusing on one genre and dropping all the other stuff from our resume. Then we met an agent who looked at our credits and said "Wow, you guys can write anything! " We picked him…and have been with him now for over a decade.


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