This question bridges into the field of marketing, which, these days is a part of any successful writing career.
Over the years I’ve written in lots of different genres—from prayer journals and spiritual titles to educational books, fantasy, psychological suspense, conspiracy thrillers, young adult mystery and more. As we’ve spoken with marketing experts they always ask, “What makes you unique or different?” And then, they want to use that to create your brand.
So when I was speaking and performing children’s and family shows as well as writing about storytelling, my brand was “The voice of imagination” which encompassed all of my imaginative storytelling and writing. However, over the last decade, I’ve moved toward primarily writing intelligent thrillers with twist endings. So my brand has changed. (Although I don’t have a cool phrase to describe myself anymore. Suggestions are always welcome,)
Now, as far as writing in different genres, I’ve always believed in writing what you have the ideas for and moving on from there, but I can certainly see the wisdom in sticking to one genre and becoming known for that. Honestly, it is a little confusing when people see what I’ve written and they say, “So you’ve written books on how to tell Bible stories to preschool children and you write serial killer novels?”
Yup. That’s me. But it’s a little hard to brand.
Many fiction authors do span genres (Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, Stephen King, Ted Dekker, etc.), so there’s no easy answer to your question. I personally believe in pursuing ideas where they lead and trusting that readers will connect with brilliantly told stories, whatever genre labels might be ascribed to it.