Are you a flexible writer or a focused writer?

Pen writingI read an interesting post over at Books and Such by literary agent Rachel Kent. It was entitled: Two Types of Writers, and it stressed the point that agents enjoy working with both types of authors.

The Flexible writers might be someone an agent approaches with an idea for a book or collaboration, since he/she is more welcome to working in different genres, topics, etc. The risk for this type of author is spreading out in too many directions, and not building up a stable following.

Conversely, the Focused writer concentrates on a single genre, establishing a unique brand. This is marketing gold, since a popular focused writer will attract loyal followers for each new publication. But what happens when this author’s particular genre/brand loses popularity?

The post raises lots of interesting points, but it also got me wondering if this isn’t a bit like the Briggs-Myers personality tests. Yeah, there are some people who fall on the extreme ends of the spectrum, but the vast majority of those being tested seem to end up somewhere in the middle.

Isn’t it the same with most writers? Today it seems that genre-crossing and genre switching is more acceptable, but I can see how that might be harder to manage before an author has a proven sales track record.

What do you think, writers and readers? And if you’re a writer – which type are you?

1 Comment

  1. ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) on August 7, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I often use Rainbow Rowell as an amazing success story example in how she writes all kinds of different things… YA, NA, Adult, Fantasy – and does them each well. I’d love to be like that. I write mostly adult fiction (womens fiction, by industry standards), but I have books in that category that are of slightly different styles. I also have some chapter book ideas for kids that I’d love to sink my teeth into eventually. Lately I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t shift focus to that for a bit – maybe I’d have more success. 🙂 I don’t know if I’m a flexible writer yet, as I don’t have the experience to really back it up, but I’d like to be.

    You write novel length and short story… would this be considered flexible? And do your themes and styles vary?

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