Since announcing the release of my new adult novella series, I’ve gotten a ton of email. Questions range from why I decided to branch out from YA to why I chose a small e-press to whether or not I’m worried the diversification will hurt my brand.
All good questions.
And while there are lot of answers I could give, they all boil down the same thing; I’m a writer. Not a writer of YA novels or a writer of short stories or a writer of adult novels.
But somewhere along the way, the art of creativity had gotten lost in the business of publishing. Most of the writers I know are artists. And like all artists, they long to stretch their creative ability, to try new things, to see if they CAN. It’s the reason we see Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life and Burn after reading. The reason fine artists doodle. The reason Neil Gaiman writes a book like Coraline along with one like American Gods along with an episode of Doctor Who.
The problem is, until very recently, that kind of creative exploration was reserved for people who had the artistic clout to pull it off (see above), people who could afford not to care what it did to their “real” career, or people who explored their various talents in secret, either under pseudonyms or in the privacy of their home offices.
When I thought about trying something new, it wasn’t fear of not being able to do it that stopped me. It was worries about my brand, what my publisher would think, whether my agent would be supportive, whether advocates of traditional publishing would despise me for what they might see as a betrayal.
And those are just not the things that inspire creative growth.
But times are changing. And while there is much debate over the demise of traditional publishing and the merit (or lack thereof) of e-publishing, we’ll save that discussion for another time.
The fact is, there are more opportunities than ever to explore and stretch our creativity as writers, as artists. And while there are still those who want us to believe that doing so will “dilute our brand”, the truth is, all evidence is to the contrary. There is a long list of authors who are writing across genres, and unlike in the past, they aren’t all mega-bestsellers.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at the adult market for awhile. I love writing for young people, and the YA genre will always have a special place in my heart. But I’ve written twelve YA novels (including the ones that haven’t been published or have yet to be published), and I have been itching to try something different. To challenge myself to something completely foreign and terrifying and exhilarating.
Last year, I started two adult novels. I still hope to have them published traditionally (I think they’re a better fit for that kind of distribution), but in the meantime, another opportunity reared its head when I mentioned my idea for an adult novella series to Georgia McBride of Swoon Romance (an imprint of Month Nine Books). Georgia encouraged me to give them a try and then offered to publish them under the Swoon Imprint.
I was hesitant to mention it to my agent. There has been so much animosity between traditional publishing and e-publishing that I half-expected to be considered a traitor just for saying it out loud. But after some discussion, I was pleasantly surprised to receive his blessing. And you know what?
It’s been FUN. Foreign and terrifying and exhilarating. But FUN.
I have no idea how it will impact my YA brand, if at all. It shouldn’t. I write for young people. Now I write for adults, too. Every now and then, I even write a letter or a note excusing my child from school or an email. They all come in handy from time to time, although I imagine if I sent one of my adult novellas into school in place of a note excusing my child, the teacher would be, er, surprised.
But each of those things have a place. I’m choosing to believe my professional writing is the same, and I hope my YA readers will continue to enjoy my YA novels (I have more coming!), my adult readers will look forward to the next installment in the Shadowguard series, and maybe, just maybe, some of you will enjoy the other surprises I’m hiding up my sleeve. Because the more I try, the more I stretch, the more I feel myself getting BETTER. Like all of this writing across genres is only serving to make me a better writer in EVERY genre.
Don’t I owe that to myself? To ALL of my readers?
I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little bit scared, but mostly I’m just grateful that in this day and I age, I have the opportunity to be true to myself and my idea of who I am as a writer.
Because when you get right down to it, that’s the only part that matters.
And don’t forget; you can enter to win free books and a $50 or $25 gift card just for helping me celebrate! Also, please note my lovely new ADULT BOOKS tab at the top of this website. There you will find covers and summaries of the first two Shadowguard novellas.