One might describe my operation in the Indie World as amphibious. One of the earliest definitions of “amphibian” is “having two modes of existence,” and that is precisely why this blog topic is perfectly suited to appear on Amphibian Press’s site. Whatever do I mean by this dual existence? I mean, of course, that I write two different genres under two different names.
I didn’t start my writing career with the thought, “Hey, you know what would be fun? Trying to establish myself as a known author under two different pen names!” No, no. It was not what I’d call strategic. I began publishing erotic romance under the name Phoebe Alexander, and struggled to keep those in my professional circles as well as those related to me from knowing that I had a “wild” side which qualified me to write about sexual adventures. Alas, I failed miserably at keeping it on the down low, but that’s another story for another blog.
Shortly after publishing my first two novels as Phoebe, I had the idea for something…vanilla, is what we would call it in the erotic world. The story wasn’t predicated on sex, but rather on the themes of friendship and reconciliation. Green Castles, and my subsequent work Fat Girl, are both what I would term women’s fiction. I was excited to create a story I can claim with my own name, so that when asked “What do you write?” I can answer without feeling sheepish. I chose to use my maiden name, “K.L. Montgomery,” to pay homage to one of my favorite writers, L.M. Montgomery (oh how I hope, although rather doubt, that we are related.)
So, three years later, I feel like I have the proverbial demon and angel sitting on my shoulders, each cheering me on toward writing and promoting their respective author personas, and perhaps squabbling over who gets more of my attention. I have two Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts, two Instagrams, and two blogs. It’s like being the mother of twins, endeavoring to treat each child equally while taking great care to recognize and celebrate their individual personalities and strengths.
With seven novels under my belt, I feel like I should be gaining some sort of notoriety, but the audience-building is slow. I have published five novels under Phoebe Alexander and two under K.L. Montgomery. (I’m not going to lie – the erotic romance tales come a little easier to me.) All things considered, it’s twice as much work and will likely take me twice as long to build my fan base than someone devoting all their attention to one body of work. But I believe it’s worth the extra work.
I don’t want to be pigeon-holed into one genre, and I want to build a separate brand for each author name. Although I promote body positivity in all my books, I also advocate for ethical nonmonogamy and sex positivity through the Phoebe Alexander work, while I explore issues that women face such as divorce, dating, motherhood, friendship, family dysfunction, and matters of faith and religion in my K.L. Montgomery work. I have never regretted choosing to keep them separate.
So my advice to authors who want to write in more than one genre is not to be afraid to build two platforms. Work on making each pen name distinct, yet cross-promote when it makes sense (for new releases and sales.) It’s always helpful if you can tie your author brand to a current issue that you’re passionate about; for me, that’s body positivity and the other themes I mentioned above. This gives you leverage to connect with readers who share your passions. Develop social media platforms for both pseudonyms. Follow genre-specific blogs and social media accounts related to both of your pen names. Network with other authors who write in the genres you write.
Yes, it is going to be frustrating and confusing at times. But for me, it’s worth it not to alienate some readers who don’t want to see graphic sex scenes, and not to leave those who do still hungry after reading my women’s fiction. I have found a system that works for me, and I did that despite having three other “careers” besides writing, not to mention being a wife and mother. If I can do it, anyone can. It just takes extra doses of organization, patience, and tenacity – just like being the parent of twins!
Want to know more about writing in more than one genre? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Krista Venero of Mountains Wanted Publishing also writes women’s fiction as K.L. Montgomery and erotic romance as Phoebe Alexander. Krista has written since she was a young girl, but credits her husband with convincing her to self-publish. She lives near the beach and has three sons, three cats, and three “day” jobs in addition to her writing career. Needless to say, Krista is often seen drinking coffee and lamenting about there not being enough hours in the day.
Find K.L. Montgomery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you are looking for Women's Fiction.
Find Phoebe Alexander on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you are looking for steamy erotic romance!
And Check out Mountains Wanted Publishing on their Facebook Page.
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