Wednesday, May 8, 2013


As I crawl towards the halfway mark on the first draft of Clanless, I've begun to spare a bit of thought for thinks like cover art - and marketing. It seems the prevailing wisdom is to make sure your name is associated with one genre and one genre only - in which case I'd want to publish Clanless, and any future works of science fiction, under a different name than Tristan Gregory. Which is itself a pen name.

No doubt keeping things simple for my readers is worth making them confusing for me.

I'm still not sure I'll follow the prevailing wisdom in this case, though. Most of my very favorite authors have published work in several genres, and I like to think that readers are pretty smart. Certainly they can clue to the face that certain books  are unrelated to each other unless specified... right? I can always start including a "other books by" section in my front matter which breaks my titles down by fantasy and science fiction, I suppose...

Still, all the talk about "building brands" is fairly influential. I don't have a lot of marketing clout to leverage, and so any trick I can use to keep  my efforts focused on my most likely readers is a good thing. Then again, I kinda hope that even readers who find me through my fantasy novels might want to try out my science fiction. Personally I've always seen it as one and the same, as summarized by The Third Law and it's corollary.

I suppose it's comforting to know that I can always change my mind and switch the name on the cover. Unless of course I get successful enough that people would notice that kind of thing. In which case... mission freaking accomplished.


  1. I don't buy the "keep your genres separate" thing. I think on the whole readers are smarter than that.

    1. Certainly. On the one hand, it can be nice to present readers with a "brand" where they know exactly what to expect... and on the other, I rather personally enjoy NOT knowing what to expect, and I kind of want to appeal to the same.

  2. I am not so certain of the prevailing wisdom. A lot of authors, especially those that write in SF and Fantasy use the same name. I could see a stronger argument if you were writing say, YA Novels and contemplating writing Eroticia.

    Many readers don't limit themselves to only one genre, and if an author is a good storyteller, then that's what counts. Most readers are savy enough to read a novel's description to determine if it's SF, Fantasy, Romance or whatever.

    I do not fully understand your "not knowing what to expect" assertion. Certainly every story you tell isn't going to be the same...the same 'formula' and characters with just a different name, especially if it's n a different genre.

    But in the end, you have to go with what works for you. I am guessing that you're going to have to do extra time and effort to build up both names (or more if you write in another genre). Certainly not double the effort, but certainly more.

    1. By "Not knowing what to expect" I meant I don't generally like to read or write stories that fall under too tight a formula.

      Good point about time investment. That is one resource I have very little of. I'm fortunate that my chosen genres are so similar and have so much overlap in readership: even if there is some small harm from confusing readers, it shouldn't be great.