Posted On December 23, 2013 by Print This Post

A Cowboy, a vampire, & a detective walk into a bar …writing across genres with Rebecca Zanetti

I am envious of people who can do different things equally well and Rebecca Zanetti is one of those people. In fact, if she wasn’t so darn awesome – I’d probably hate her. She writes across several genres and I can testify that every book is better than the last. So, she was the absolutely perfect person to have come and talk to us about writing across multiple genres. Welcome Rebecca!

Cowboy, a Vampire, and a Detective Walk into a Bar…The Key to Writing in Different Genres by Rebecca Zanetti

A few years ago, conventional wisdom dictated that an author should only write in one genre—at least until becoming well Rebecca-4established. I think this has changed. With the advent of eBooks and the ability to take some risks, many authors have published across genres quite successfully. What’s fascinating is watching how readers committed to one genre will follow an author into another imaginary realm just because they enjoy that author’s work.
I found that writing in different genres is a good way to build a fan base quickly. But there are a few key items to keep in mind.

1. Choose the right cover for each book. A cover needs to be more than intriguing and wonderful – it needs to visually describe the book. If you’re with a traditional publisher, you don’t get to choose your cover, but your editor and the art department will work hard with you to get the right feel. If you’re writing a vampire novel, put one on the cover. If it’s a sweet romance, have some flowers or a porch swing on the pretty cover. You know what I mean. Our readers need to know they’re following us into a new genre, and they have to do so willingly. Every so often I’ll see a cover on Amazon that looks intriguing, and then I’ll read the back cover blurb, and they don’t mesh. If you have a dark paranormal, putting a pretty butterfly on the cover is misleading.

2. Be complete in the back cover blurb. It’s surprising that so many back cover blurbs out there don’t really clue the reader in to a genre. If a book itself includes a couple of genres (another no-no a few years ago that’s perfectly fine now), then make it be known. My newest romantic suspense book, Sweet Revenge, also has some paranormal elements in it, and the back cover blurb hints at those. Hopefully enough that my die hard paranormal fans will take a peek.

3. Let your voice remain steady. I can’t stress this enough—don’t change your voice just to change genres. Your voice is what makes your writing unique and should be constant through all of the different genres you may tackle. A year or so ago, rumors had it that paranormal romances were soft, and a few of my friends turned to writing historicals—some quite successfully, and some not so much. The ones who struggled tried to change their natural writing styles and voice in order to sound more historical. The successful ones took their established voices and styles and added them to the elements in a historical. It goes back to the advice our mothers gave us in kindergarten – just be yourself.

4. Learn the genre you’re writing. Even though your voice and style should remain all yours, different genres do require different pacing, narrative vs. action, and plot points. In paranormal books, the world building is key. In romantic suspense, those plot twists and turns intrigue readers. Of course, you might throw a few twists and turns into your contemporary romance…just don’t include werewolves.

5. Take a risk or two. It’s easy to get comfortable in a genre once you build a fan base, but writing is about being creative, and being creative is about taking chances. Yeah, you might fail. Get back up and try again. This business is about persistence, dedication to craft, and imagination. Let them all fly. I posted one of my early rejection notecards on my Facebook page the other day to encourage a couple of folks to keep writing, and one fan asked me how I kept writing after being rejected. The question caught me off guard, and there was only one answer. I kept writing because I’m the only one who can make myself quit, and quitting was never an option. So many people in this world want to write a book, and so few actually try. If you’re writing, you’re already ahead of the game. Don’t hold yourself back now.

So, to sum up, if you want to have some fun and write in different genres, go for it. Be smart about it and let your creativity free. I hope you find all the success possible in 2014! Happy Holidays, and here’s to 2014!


Do you want to write across multiple genres? Rebecca will be here today to answer your questions.




Zanetti_SweetRevenge_Ebook[1]USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes the Dark Protector vampire series for Kensington, the Maverick Montana cowboy series for Entangled, and the Sin Brothers romantic-suspense series for Grand Central. Sweet Revenge released on December 3rd from Grand Central.

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16 Responses to “A Cowboy, a vampire, & a detective walk into a bar …writing across genres with Rebecca Zanetti”

  1. Morning Rebecca!

    Is it harder to market yourself as a multi-genre author? Do you have multiple facebook pages and twitter accounts for each genre? Or do you keep it all together under one account?

    Great post – thanks for joining us at RU today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | December 23, 2013, 9:23 am
    • I’m so sorry about the delay in responding to this! I had some unexpected medical issues pop up and was out of commission for a bit. (And I do NOT look good in a hospital gown…trust me). 🙂

      I have one FB account and one website, and I market it all in one place. Regardless of genre, all of my books have romance in them, so I figure one place is the way to go.

      Posted by Rebecca Zanetti | February 11, 2014, 9:38 am
  2. My main takeaway from this was the importance of making sure your readers know what they’re getting, that they have the proper expectations when you switch genres. It makes sense; you don’t want to sell someone on a rock concert if the show is really going to be country and western. I was also heartened by your success in switching genres – I myself get bored with doing only one kind of writing, and it’s encouraging to know that it is actually possible to make a change without having to start building a new readership entirely from scratch.

    Posted by Lori Schafer | December 23, 2013, 9:26 am
  3. Hi Rebecca,

    I write whatever pops into my head. So far that means, paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. One thing about writing the subject material is limitless.

    Mary Jo

    Merry Christmas Eve Eve, RU crew!

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | December 23, 2013, 10:14 am
  4. Rebecca – Thanks for begin with us today! Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | December 23, 2013, 9:38 pm
  5. FABULOUS title for this post! And the post itself is really helpful, too. I go back and forth – I started out writing contemporary romance, then tried paranormal, then romantic suspense. My writing has taken second place to babysitting for my granddaughter this year, but I still have a hard time figuring out where my strength lies. Sometimes I’m pretty sure it’s one genre, then another, and then another. This post has some very helpful information – THANK YOU!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 23, 2013, 11:58 pm
  6. Rabecca, its really wonderful that you have at last presented such a daring and eductive post. A lot is in it. But l have liked, ‘taking the risk or challenge’. A very important point if one is to encounter different reactions from the public. That is the funny thing about writing.

    Similarly making a change to a tradition is not that easy. You need to ensure that you do not only maintain status but also make admirable progress. Very vital.
    You took the risk and won the game. That is what you are…those that have read your work, expected it.

    I have liked the pieces of advice you have highlighted. They are all well thought of ideas, full of practical wisdom.

    Posted by Benson Masambah | December 25, 2013, 10:00 am
  7. I’m so grateful to have found this post! I’m just starting out in self publishing. I have so many ideas and all from different genres. It’s hard for me to imagine writing just in one genre because I enjoy so many others. I was getting discouraged by the notion that if you want to establish a reader base, you have to establish yourself in one genre.

    I’m so glad to see that you have been successful in branching out into different genres. It gives me hope and takes off the pressure of having to pick a genre! I think I can enjoy writing now without having to worry about if I’m making the right choice in the genre the story fits into.

    Posted by Jennifer S | February 19, 2014, 11:54 pm
  8. I so agree about the voice remaining constant regardless of genre. Voice is what hooks me on an author more than a story. It’s voice that most often makes me pick up a second, third, etc., book by that author. I’ve written romantic suspense with an erotic theme, all the way to a children’s book. Many of my writer friends think I’m crazy, but I’m having fun. Great advice overall to help readers understand when you genre-hop. Many thanks!

    Posted by Leah St. James | March 15, 2014, 12:39 pm

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