Ronie's upcoming release, Embers, has been called "simply amazing!"
“Establish yourself in one genre, and then you’ll have street credibility to write what you want.”
As a lover of speculative fiction, I was given that advice years ago when I first started actively seeking publication. I loved writing suspense, but I also loved writing speculative fiction. But the market is tough and small for speculative writers within the Christian market.
Those words in that quote were true ten years ago. But not so much anymore, due to a rapidly-changing industry and the advent of digital books. Still, I find myself now with eleven published suspense novels and five novellas under my belt as I tiptoe into the speculative market at long last with my epic fantasy debut, Embers.
|Ronie's Falcon (suspense) and Embers (speculative) novels|
- Priority/Priorities – Stepping out in another genre is, to a degree, like splitting yourself in half. Suddenly, there are two readerships you must address, two genres under which you must divide your time and energy. For this reason, I found it very helpful to establish priorities—both in my personal life and within the respective genres themselves.
- Reader Loyalty – I have a great respect for my Rapid-Fire Fiction readers, many of whom have been loyal from my debut release, Dead Reckoning. In stepping into a new genre, and one that—for some readers—is a genre they’ve never read before, I’ve been surprised that some have said they would read whatever I wrote, even my laundry list. That is a tremendous help, a boon and an honor. I do not take that loyalty lightly, so I’ve been careful to maintain a strong, active presence with both genres on my social media pages.
- Starting Over – Because my new genre is foreign to some readers, there are some ways in which I am starting all over. I must find the audience that will fall in love with and demand more books. One way I’ve done this is that over the years, I’ve continued reading in both genres, and I have actively promoted and encouraged authors in both genres. Now that I’m stepping onto the playing field of a new genre, I have author-friends who have offered to help. But that’s a very small part of the task. I must also get to know that community, and it must be genuine. I can’t just horn in on their forums just to sell my books. All of us can spot a fake. In those communities, I seek no publicity nor do I promote myself. I listen. And I learn. In a lot of respects, I’m a newbie, so even though I’ve been writing speculative for many years, I glean as much as I can from others in this genre.
- Mirror Elements – it is a sign of respect to your already-avid readers to find a smooth, natural segue from one genre into the other. Because I love my Rapid-Fire Fiction readers, I made sure that my fantasy novel had adventure, action, and even a military component. I provided ways for those loyal to my suspense novels to dip their toes in speculative fiction.
- Website And Social Media – Although some may advocate having two separate identities out there for speculative fiction, I already knew that meeting the demands of social media was already tough. With that in mind, I opted not to have multiple identities. Within my website, my web designer (the inimitable Matt Jones of Jones House Creative) and I took ¼ of the page and converted it to a speculative “world” within the Ronie Kendig – Rapid-Fire Fiction world. That way, I am not really adding much more work to my marketing life. And I promote both suspense and speculative on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, as I have been doing since before I had a speculative novel to promote.
- Caution - I will strongly encourage caution about stepping into this two-genre dance. It is not easy, and part of building a loyal readership base is bonding, respecting and rewarding (with good, consistent stories) your readers. My former publisher once told my agent that they kept buying my books, not because I was a runaway bestseller (ha--I so wish), but because I had traction and sustainability. And I strongly believe that was due, in part, to being responsive to and respectful of my readers.
Do you write in two different genres? If so, do you have an idea or tip to share with us?
Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does it comes with a terrible price: Haegan’s disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This decision causes their father, the King, to unleash his wrath against Haegan.