“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”
– Margaret Thatcher
In other words, you might lose your voice. For a writer, whether beginner or seasoned pro, losing your voice, is asking others to forget who you are.
Voice is the one element which distinguishes you from every other writer in the world.
Most editors and all agents will tell you they can identify a writers voice in just a few sentences. Many editors and all agents will tell you they recognize the work of their authors in just a few sentences.
Devoted readers will say the same thing. For myself, an avid Stephen King fan, I was instantly suspicious of the Bachman books and even if it was his laundry list I’d bet a $5 bill I could identify his writing in a page.
So is it okay to write to the market?
Yes, it is, depending on how you do it.
When you’re a savvy author who knows the market is no longer hot for one genre, you can switch up your storytelling to another genre which is enjoying a burst of hot new authors.
Will your fans follow you from one genre to another? Maybe.
And the answer will never be better than that. A smart author who feels her story prowess has run it’s course in say historical, may try her hand at steampunk. the differences will lend itself to an expansion of creativity while giving the historical genre a brief respite. The differences may not allow for all historical readers to follow, but you might get some who tag along on the adventure. There may even be some readers who will show an interest in backlist.
There are also those readers who never move outside the genre they love and don’t read any novel that falls outside there desired or preferred genre. They are happy where they are and will never follow. Their choice.
Most writers who plan to make their living on writing alone do not limit themselves to a single genre. Those authors spend the time developing the craft, and remain active in at lease two genres. No, they are not always related genres. Sometimes the sucess in one genre offers an author the freedom to pursue sucess in a genre they love. Sometimes the second genre is a dream the accomplished writer just wants to pursue for the fun of it. Yeah, remember writing is supposed to be fun. And if you’re not having any fun you might want to try a new genre.
Remember, your voice will remain the same.