"A good writer can write in any genre." - Mike Arnzen, SHU ~ "As long as they read, read, read in that genre."
When I heard this at my Master's residency this week I thought, "YES!" You see, after writing 33 romances and only publishing 9 -- 7 western historicals and 2 romantic suspense--I have begun to wonder if I would be more successful in another genre. So, I've immersed myself lately in YA and thrillers/mystery. (Sorry Mike, no horror for me...yet. Although I came close with a dark urban fantasy I wrote.) My immersion in other genre's has met with some resistance by other writers. They smile kindly to my face and whisper-"Good luck with that" behind their hands. Because the prevailing wisdom is choose a genre and stick with it always. There is some truth in this-you really learn the market and you build an audience that translates into better sales with each book. (so the theory goes.) It's smart. Think of the old cliche- "jack of all trades master of none."
But I've been writing romance for 15 years- I've published 9 and really haven't found my breakout point. Once you hit this level of experience, it's not necessarily a bad thing to explore other options- many famous novelists do- Steven King, and Nora Roberts to name a few. (And no, I have no illusions that I'm at their level.) But that doesn't mean that exploring other genres isn't the right thing for me to do at this point in my career.
I knew this- I believed this- and I am doing this despite the whispers behind my back- LOL- Still it was good to hear someone else agree with me. When you break a solid rule, sometimes it's nice to hear someone else validate your reasons for doing so.
Point being- no matter what genre you write- read, read, read- in that genre and others and don't be afraid to try something new. Cheers!