Changing Genres, and The Effect on Authors
Okay! Most of you readers know me as Clarbojahn, Children’s book author, or Clara Bowman-Jahn, author. Some of you may know that in addition to writing picture books I have started a memoir, “Spiraling: My Battle With Bipolar Disorder or the more tame “Spiraling, My Journey With Bipolar Disorder”. What happens to my brand with switching genres?
Erin Bowman, no relation but same last name, but who blogs over here at Publishing Crawl , says “Remember: Labels are a result of bookstore and library shelving. They are a necessary evil of the industry. But readers just want good stories. So go write good stories, genre be damned. “
This particular article was such good advice for me but only in relation to brand. Not in relation to genre. I have to go with the quote above that came at the end of the article and talks about labels.
Now are we all set about what we mean about brand? Brand as in our author name and not the books or rather the product of our brand? Like Nike the brand puts out products like their sneakers and gym clothes that could be restated as saying they are their books.
So when I ask if switching genres can hurt me as an author I mean to ask if it can hurt me writing memoir since my readers know me as a children’s author. I think it can. People will ask. “Really? Now she wants to write memoir?” After they have invested me as a children’s author.
I feel like I have to start all over again branding myself as also being one who can write memoir. People have to trust me as someone who can write in two genres. And I do have to learn the craft. Just like I took courses in children’s picture books now I need to take classes in how to write memoir.
Last winter I took a class in Write your Memoir in 6 Months or wymi6m with memoir author and teacher, Linda Joy Meyers and publisher guru and writing coach, Brooke Warner. Along the way during that time I also took classes in well known memoirs of “ Wild,” “Glass Castle” and “Eat Pray, Love” and now I’ll be taking one in “Angelle’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt.
Plus going to different blogging sites and taking a class in scene writing to learn the craft of fiction writing. so yes, I feel like I have to earn my reader’s trust. Trust that I can do the job of writing in two genre’s.
What about you? Do you think I have to earn my reader’s trust to write in two genres?
And another more central question I ask is since the memoir audience will be different than my picture book audience, should I publish under a different name? Should I publish my memoir under Clara Bowman-Jahn, the name I go by for my picture books or as Clarike Bowman-Jahn, the first name being the one I went by during the ten-year period of my memoir? Similar yet different.
I really will appreciate your input here. So go ahead, Make me smile!
A post on writing in two genre’s a while ago is here:
See you at Perfect Picture Book Friday! On Friday. At you’ll have to be sure and come back here next Tuesday for a book review and visit from Darlene Foster’s “Amanda In Alberta, the Writing in the Stone.”
And for my two picture books? Here you go! You can get them from http://www.etreasurespublishing.com/categories/Children%27s-Titles/
A couple’a thoughts.
Using different names: Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb – she’s prolific under both names. Everyone knows she’s both writers, but they accept Nora writes in one genre and J.D. writes in the other.
I think the key is to not try and fool people.
Clarike Bowman is a cool name for a memoir author!
That’s about it for thoughts 🙂
As I said in the post and also on my about page, Clarike is the diminutive of Clara. I use Clara for my picture books. So I hope it wouldn’t fool people. I certainly don’t want to do that.
Thanks for your thoughts about using different names. 🙂
I agree with Widdershins. It would be different if you branched out into writing sexy romances-then an author name change would be a good idea. Remember, children’s books are most often bought (especially PBs) by adults. So if they read your PBs to their kids and really like them, then they are likely to give your Memoir, or any other adult book you write, a try. This means you have a tentative built in audience for your adult Memoir + any future adult fiction you write. I consider this a win-win!! Clarike Bowman has a nice ring to it, mate. Stick with it.
Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
My question then becomes would my pb audience know me under that name? Would they know Clarike Bowman is the same person as Clara Bowman-Jahn? Or why change names?
Thanks so much for your thoughts on what name should I use. I appreciate them. 🙂
I don’t see a problem here. Good writing is what is important, not the genre. Good luck with your new venture.
I appreciate your thoughts. 🙂
Clarike, I have always thought that short names that are easy to pronounce and rememaer work better. I know you have used Clara Bowman-Jahn for your children’s books, so use Clara Bowman for your Memoir, and any other adult books you write. You would need a separate blog for your Memoir, but there is no reason why you could not link from one to the other, letting readers of both know you are a multifaceted author who writes for adults as well as children. This makes allows for a wonderful crossover of readers and ages.
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Margot, thanks for such a thoughtful response. Do you really think I would need a separate blog? I am thinking about my web page as well.
I think Margot is spot on and has some great ideas about linking your blogs. I don’t see a problem if you choose to write in two genres. And, I know you believe in what your are sharing and that’s what counts.
Even Daniel Steele recently wrote a beautiful memoir about how she dealt with the pain of her son’s death. She went undercover with a close group of people into some of the most dangerous areas to help the homeless. I loved the story.
Patricia, ? What is the name of Daniel’s book? Did she change her name?
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. 🙂
I think Clarike Bowman-Jahn is a good memoir name. 🙂
Thanks, Eric! 🙂
Clara, you could use your same website, but make it for ALL your books, with a link to the page separate entry for your Memoir. I think you would definitely need a separate blog – but again, you could add links back and forth between the children’s and the adult blogs. How about using
“MEMOIRS and MORE by Clarike Bowman,” for your adult blog title?
Margot! I really appreciate all your good advice. I Love the new blog idea with title and name. Thanks so much, I will definitely think about it.
Right now I feel overwhelmed with things. 🙂