Authors writing in multiple genres is nothing new. Neither is authors abandoning one successful genre to write in another. A decade ago, authors jumped ship from romance to mystery. Or from historical to paranormal. Today, it seems everyone is jumping on the Young Adult bandwagon.
At the RT Book Lovers Convention earlier this month, YA was everywhere. There was even a "Teen Day." And many of the YA authors are well known romance authors. Authors who are successful writing historical or contemporary adult romances are cranking out YA books now.
The reasons are varied: an expanding market for YA (with corresponding publisher demand), a perceived decline in the historical or contemporary romance market, author boredom with the genre they write in, pressure from agents and publishers to conform...
Personally, I get irritated when it seems as if an author is jumping on a trend bandwagon. I'm fine with an author who writes in more than one genre. But I intensely dislike it when an author basically abandons one readership in pursuit of another. Readers who make an effort to remember an author's name, who anxiously await the next book are apparently worthless when weighed against the almighty $.
No, authors don't "owe" their readership anything. And they're free to write what they like. But it still irks me when authors seem to choose a new genre to write in just because everyone else is doing it.
At RT, my friend, who is primarily a historical or contemporary reader ONLY, discovered that the only author she truly wanted to meet at RT, Sophie Jordan, is writing YA. And that Kathryn Smith, one of her favorite authors, is abandoning historicals entirely (along with her name!) to write Steampunk and YA as Kady Cross. It was disheartening to hear that her favorite authors are moving away from the types of books she likes to read.
Ms. Smith told us the reason for change was a result of her "voice" not fitting well with historicals. And a negative reaction to her last book for Avon from her readers. Personally, I think the negative reaction had far more to do with the publisher than the genre, because Avon readers have far more specific expectations than those of most other publishers.
I get that writing is a business. But it's also a partnership. Readers invest far more than just money when they put an author on their "auto-buy" lists. And when an author abandons one genre in favor of a (potentially) more lucrative one it feels like a broken promise. Even if marketability is not the sole (or even the primary) reason for the change in genres.
What about you? Do you care when an author moves on to other genres? Have you had a favorite author quit writing the types of books you read?