Reader Friday: Loyalty

As a reader, are you a loyal fan? Let’s test that loyalty. πŸ™‚

Suppose your favorite author switches genres, from gritty thrillers or sci-fi to YA or HEA romance.

 

Would you continue to read their books?

What if they never returned to the genre you love?

“Depends” is not a complete answer. Please explain.

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About Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as β€œBest 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (2018-2021). She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers" 2013-2021). Sue lives with her husband and two spoiled guinea pigs in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and true crime/narrative nonfiction (Rowman & Littlefield). And recently, she appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series Storm of Suspicion, and will be a panelist at the 2021 New England Crime Bake. Learn more about Sue and her books at https://suecoletta.com

36 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Loyalty

  1. Good morning, Sue. That’s a great, thought-provoking question. I initially answered “no” and “no” but…on reflection, that’s not true. Though I have genres I definitely prefer, I am ultimately a fan of style. Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors and he has switched from southern noir to contemporary western to dystopian fiction to whatever his new book (if it is ever published) will be. I understand that it is about mathematics. I will still read it. I would do the same with James Lee Burke.

    Have a great weekend, Sue.

    • Mornin’, Joe! Great answer. I would probably do the same for some of my favorites if for no other reason than to answer niggling questions like, Why would they switch genres?

  2. I have abandoned authors when they’ve shifted series, even within the same genre, or changed focus. If I don’t like the characters, I have other “friends” out there I’d rather spend time with.
    I know not all my series work for every reader, so I have to accept that, too.

  3. I would follow an auto-buy author from one genre to an adjacent genre, like cozy to police procedural or Gothic horror to urban vampire. Or crime thriller to true crime.:-) But zombie apocalypse to YA romance? No.

    • Agreed, Priscilla. It’d be tough to switch to a polar opposite genre, especially a genre for a different age group. I’d still be tempted to check it out at least once for my favorites, though. πŸ™‚

  4. Under those circumstances, I would not be a loyal reader. I have been & always shall be a picky fiction reader. So to find an author who writes what I like is hard enough. If they then totally switch to something different, that is their right & I totally congratulate them on their ability to pivot and write multiple genres, because that’s not easy. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to follow them into their new genres. That’s okay though because that multi-genre author can pick up a bunch of new fans in their new genre–and they may even want to read multiple genres from that author.

    • Great answer, BK. I’m a picky fiction reader, too. Hence why when I fall in love with an author, I read everything they write. A vastly different genre might give me pause, but I’d try at least one book, I think.

  5. Yes, I would continue to follow the author. Example. DiAnn Mills wrote Sage but also writes FBI mysteries.

    • Agreed, Cecilia. When I fall for an author, I’m hooked on their writing regardless of genre. It would be tough to read a genre that I don’t enjoy, though.

  6. There are authors I love to read, but genres I prefer to avoid. When those go head-to-head, the disliked genre trumps the loved author. An example that comes to mind is Stephen King. I think he is one of the best writers in the world, and I love his more mainstream books. When he dips into super-horror though, I take the off ramp.

  7. Overall I will follow a writer I like. One of my long time favorites is working on her 4th series. They range from cozies, to pretty bloody. I have read them all.

    I have dropped writers for other things. A well known writer has rapists in most of their first 6 or so fiction books. They write non-fiction as well. None of these rapists make it alive to the last page and most don’t get to a courtroom. Said author also gave several million dollars to protect real life rapists. I didn’t see a reason to buy any more books. Likewise, I don’t think I will be buying any more JK Rowling books either.

    I have also stopped reading an author when it looks like they are getting lazy. If you are swapping names on old plots I don’t need to spend new money.

  8. My answer is yes, Sue. If I like their stuff, I’ll read it, and I think it’s interesting to see how they author something different. Example – Elmore Leonard. I “discovered” Leonard when I read something praising his dialogue and termed him the “poet laureate of wild a-holes with revolvers” so I thought he was worth checking out. What I found was a multi-genre master who started with dime-novel westerns (Three Ten To Yuma) and crossed to crime (Get Shorty) with a bridge of historical (Cuba Libre).

  9. Great question, Sue! I’d say a qualified yes. If it’s a genre I enjoy reading, I’ll definitely follow a writer I love there, and read what they write with interest.

    I’m in the middle of such a switch as an author myself, branching from urban fantasy into cozy mystery. I emailed my current newsletter (around 2000 subscribers with a decent open rate) and gave them the link to the new mystery newsletter. Mind you, I’ve only gotten just over 50 signups from my existing list, so that shows me that the vast majority of my current readers are in it for the urban fantasy, but it’s start πŸ™‚

    • It’s never easy switching genres, Dale. Good idea to poll your existent audience. If you were to ask me to read fantasy or sci-fi a couple years ago, I would’ve said no. One of my favorite authors changed my view. Just this year I made new “friends” who fight vamps and ghouls, and I devoured the books one after another like a crazed fan. πŸ™‚

  10. That’s a tough one. There are authors who I follow via newsletter because I liked some things they wrote. But over time I get tired of a certain genre (I’m afraid I outgrew YA as I switched age demographics, the way Dave Farland talks about). And when YA authors just keep on writing the same teen stuff, I tend to move on. But I do know at least one author who consistently writes stuff I like. She’s written steampunk, fantasy of every stripe, and now she’s onto superhero urban fantasy, and I’ll read it all. I don’t know why. But when JK Rowling switched from Harry Potter (MG and YA) to gritty adult mystery, I’m afraid she lost me.

    • Interesting, Kessie. I would classify you as a loyal fan. You just don’t like certain genres. Nothing wrong with that. I’m the same way. πŸ™‚

  11. I would be a loyal reader. I want to hear the author’s voice, and enjoy the style. I like an author experimenting with story-telling.
    Any book on any topic, if well written, is a treasure.

    • Agreed, Doctor! I’m drawn to certain authors by their story rhythm and skill. If they brought the same storytelling abilities to a new genre, I’d at least read the first book.

  12. Due to circumstances too boring to explain, I was published in a number of genres. It’s hard enough to develop a loyal readership in one genre or two subgenres of the same genre; it’s dang near impossible to keep most of those readers for all your books. Don’t do this. And, if you must write more than one genre, start strong in one genre, maybe 3-5 books, then slide gently in to a similar genre for another series. Urban fantasy to fantasy, for example.

    I follow a number of authors of more than one genre like Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle because they consistently produce enjoyable books. Others I will try their other series but will stick with one that is more to my taste. So, I am more than willing to read different genres of one author since I do that anyway.

    • That’s exactly what I did, Marilynn. After 14 thrillers, I slid into true crime, both under the same umbrella of “crime” and “serial killers” which made life easier. So far so good! I also have no plans to quit writing fiction, so it’s a win-win for my audience.

      This question arose after chatting with an author friend who started her career in YA, then switched to thrillers. Not an easy transition to pull off.

  13. I tend to stick with a genre, not necessarily an author…but there have been a few exceptions.

    I never pick up a YA or a romance (strictly), even if they’re a favorite author. The exception to that is if the romance is a by-product in a thriller/espionage.

    If a favorite fiction author delves into non-fiction, I probably won’t buy the non-fiction. The one glaring exception to that, of course, is JSB. πŸ™‚ (And I do have several fiction favorites who have written non-fiction, and I’ve not partaken. Still read their fiction, though.)

    I guess Aries is light on loyalty…

    • Haha! Little light, are ya?

      The trick to pulling off a transition from fiction to nonfiction lies with storytelling technique, IMO. Craft books are another subject. If I enjoy an author’s thrillers, I would definitely buy their craft books. JSB and Larry Brooks are two excellent examples.

  14. I will follow a skilled writer pretty much anywhere. Ken Follett is a case in point, from military thrillers, to espionage, to crime, to historical fiction. Followed him through it all. If Gilstrap were to switch to sci-fi or medieval or cook books, I’d probably follow those too. But any author or their publisher who is paying me to narrate their books I will follow anywhere…except erotic/porn, homey don’t play dat.

  15. Nope, and gee, that’s too bad. I read for my pleasure and not to line the pockets of an author. I’ve had authors I like either let their hubris get the better of them and start churning out crap, or try genres of which I’m not fond. I’d rather spend my money on other authors that promise enjoyment instead of making me grind my teeth.

    • I think you may have misunderstood, K.S. This question is all about readers, not about lining the pockets of authors. As a reader, I wondered about this after JK Rowlings switched from YA to mysteries and again the other day while chatting with an author friend who switched genres. That’s all. Sorry if you felt under-appreciated in any way. That was never my intention.

  16. Huh. I guess I missed this yesterday. My answer is “it depends”, but you want something more complete. An example of no: I’m a long time fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. For those of you unfamiliar the DF is urban fantasy. But JB is big into the horse fantasy genre. You know, the fake middle ages magical blah blah blah that millions of people love, and I loathe. I have and never will read any of those series because I simply can’t stand that genre. A maybe: I love western movies, but I’m not so big on western novels. But if Lee Child were to write a western I might be willing to give it a go.

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