Monday, July 19, 2010

Conflicting advice

Yesterday I took part in a Twitter chat with Elizabeth Law, an editor with small publisher Egmont. She specializes in YA and is incredibly generous with her time in answering questions from all of us unpublished wannabes. In several other chats with agents and publishers I've asked whether publishing widely in different genres makes a difference, especially if you're working in genres like erotica or horror. In general, the responses I've gotten have indicated that other publishing credits pretty much count for doodly-squat when you're trying to sell a novel. Plus, other writers have advised me to use a pseudonym if I wanted to publish anything really adult.

When I asked Elizabeth Law the same question, her answer was completely different: "Goodness, no! Experience in other genres only a plus when you are submitting. Unless you are Mel Gibson."

Well, leaving off the Mel Gibson quip - which by the way, is good advice. Listen up Mel. -, this is completely contrary to anything I've received up until now. It has been my mission this year to publish in as many genres as possible, and while so far I haven't managed publishing everything yet, I've written in most of the genres I can think of. Including, most recently, erotica and horror. Even erotic horror... Unfortunately both my erotica story and my horror story were rejected by the first places I submitted them, but hey, they're only the first. I'm beginning to think that in most cases 4 is my lucky number, although I do have a few stories that have been out 6 or more times without getting taken, and three or four that made it into my first choice publication.

So what do I believe? Is writing horror/erotica going to lessen my chances of getting a contract for a YA novel? Or does it prove that I am a versatile and diverse writer?

I'd like to believe the latter.


  1. Interesting post, Kate. I always thought to write in different genres, especially a YA writer writing erotica, you would have to use a pseudonym. I write a bit of erotica and if I ever get it published I will use a pseudonym. I wouldn't want any of my younger readers stumbling across it thinking it was OK to read. Lots of food for thought!

  2. I think (my opinion) that what it comes down to is the individual agent you're working with. Or editor, whatever. Personally, for me, I'd like to work with one who sees the different genres as a good thing. I didn't publish my erotica under a psuedonym, and I'd hate to think that would hurt my chances of selling a novel. Likewise, I'd be real bummed if publishing any of my short stories with smaller presses hurt my chances.

    So I'm with you - I'm keeping my fingers crossed and looking for someone who believes the latter.