Genre Surfing

Draft #7 is off to AA (cue party music and drop the confetti), and I'm about to dig into a brand new story.

Draft #7 is YA, and my new project is women's fiction. There is sometimes controversy surrounding writing in different genres:

1) If the first book you sell is a certain genre, can you then dive into another? Or, is that like being a debut author all over again?

2) How does your agent feel? Does he/she specialize in a particular genre? (In which case, is it kosher to have more than one agent?)*

3) Would your agent prefer you stick to "what works?"

4) If you write in different genres, do you use different pen names/pseudonyms?

5) Will your publisher expect you to pump out books in only one genre?

*If you don't have an agent yet and you write in more than one genre, this is an important topic to discuss when you receive an offer of representation.

These questions are vital, especially since, unless you're James Patterson with a staff of a gazillion writers, how many books can you write in a year?

So far, I've written nearly five full novels (I'm a little over halfway done with one of them.) Two are women's fiction, two fun murder mysteries, and one is YA. The YA novel is the one I hope AA will be shopping around soon.

As I said, I'm about to begin another book, a women's fiction story I scribbled out the first few pages to on my cruise last month. I'm looking forward to the change of pace and the ability to tackle "adult" topics. I've concentrated on nothing but my YA novel for nearly a year and a half, and as much as I ADORE this book (yes, I'm still madly in love with it!), my artistic muscles are aching to shift gears.

What about you? Do you write in different genres? If so, what have your experiences been? What are your thoughts on the subject?
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