Laura Howard: Making a Genre Switch


Making a Genre Switch

I'm honored to have the talented, hilarious author K.A. Tucker here to tell us about her experience switching between Young Adult Paranormal and New Adult Contemporary genres.

Next week she'll be releasing her New Adult debut, Ten Tiny Breaths ~ Welcome to Finding Bliss K!

Thank you to Laura for having me on her blog today. The topic is timely, seeing as I'm living it as I type. For those of you who don't know me, I published my third book in a Young Adult paranormal fantasy series (Causal Enchantment) in September. I have been writing in this genre for the past three years and am enjoying it immensely.

But an idea landed on my head this past summer. One that didn't involve vampires or witches or other fantastical creatures and was definitely not suited for "fade-to-black" young adult romance. It made more sense as a Contemporary Romance but ... I've never been a huge contemporary romance fan. Thankfully, I had read a few books in that "New Adult" genre --Easy by Tammara Webber, Slammed by Colleen Hoover, as well as a few of Abbi Glines' book. 
It was easy for me to see how Ten Tiny Breaths could fit in there.

So, then what? Well, it was easy. I just had to write the book. 

Because I'm self-published, I have the freedom to make a decision like this without needing to discuss with agents or publishing houses. But there are things to keep in mind when you're thinking about the big switch:

1. Make sure you immerse yourself in books in that genre so you're familiar with what that reader is looking for. That could be POV, pace, sexual content, "Urban Dictionary" language (I love the UD, by the way. I don't feel so old and clueless with that by my side). For example, writing a New Adult book with a lot of handholding and soft kisses (and nothing else) is likely not going to fly with this reader. I had to go far past my YA comfort zone on a few scenes. It was rough but I got through it with the help of cookies and red wine.

2. You may need to find new beta readers. My beta readers for my YA series are awesome but, guess what? They don't read Contemporary Romance. Some YA readers aren't into NA or adult-type books. No matter how much you love your betas (and I LOVE mine), they may not be the right people to provide you sound feedback and you don't want to put them in that awkward position. It's not fair to them or to you.

3. You may need a new circle of bloggers to help you promote - For the same reason as point #2. You will know bloggers who read various genres and, if they enjoyed your other writing, may jump at the chance to read your newest stuff. Don't assume anything and don't be offended if they're unwilling. Feel them out first or check their blogs to see if they accept that genre.

4. Do you need to create a new pen name?  If you're jumping from middle grade to erotica, you may want to consider it. Why? Well, not only may you confuse readers who don't realize the genre shift (I know, that sounds crazy given blurbs, etc., but I've heard of crazier things happening) but it's also hard to market to two age groups under one name. I've seen a few authors create new pen names for their other works. I'm not sure how successful they've been. My own position is to avoid it if you can. I've worked so hard to make a name for myself. I can't imagine maintaining two personas! What I have done is create a separate face book page for my new adult book. That way I can share teaser quotes, pics, etc on that without worrying that my younger readers will accidentally come across a shirtless male model (or worse... ) Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can market yourself appropriately.

These are just a few points I wanted to highlight from my own experience. Does changing genres mean I won't go back? Not a chance (I still have to finish my YA series). It just means I now have more options and an opportunity to expand my fan base significantly. I don't see how you can go wrong with that.


I hope the above has helped some of you with your planning. Would you read a contemporary romance from a paranormal author or do you think Pen Names are a must?


  1. I think if the genre is totally different, it is a good idea to use a different pen name. imo That way someone looking for westerns won't have to sort thru werewolf books

    1. Hi Donna - you bring up a good point. I think an author has to evaluate the various genres they're writing in to understand how much reader crossover exists.

  2. I don't think it's necessary to create pen names for a shift from contemporary to paranormal. Covers and blurbs are there to help the reader understand genre and I agree with KA, it's hard to make a name for yourself, you don't want to give that up easily.

    1. Hi, J.Anne - I'm in your camp :-) The scary thing is that, even with covers, blurbs, and glaring *Mature content* warnings, some people still don't realize the shift in genre. This happened to an author friend of mine just last week. She received a scathing GR review because there was too much sexual content in a YA book (it's not YA...).


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