Genre specific, or not so specific?

I’ve been reading a lot about marketing online lately.  I know, the creative process, right?  Honestly, a lot of my writing time has been taken up trying to Strategize and Theorize and other words ending in -ize.  It’s making my head spin a bit, and honestly I think I need to shelve the lot and go back to writing.  (Clarification: I am still writing, so many projects, so little time, but getting distracted by big picture stuff is, well, distracting.)

I keep bumping up against the big GENRE question.  Which is: as a writer, should you stick to exclusively one genre, never to step foot into another until you are big and established, with a committed readership?  And even then, maybe you’re better off writing under a pen-name solely devoted to that genre.

It’s confusing, because as a writer, I dabble.  As a reader, I dabble even more.  And frankly, I think I’d be pretty excited if my favourite historical romance author tried their hand at a contemporary mystery.  And vice-versa.

For me, I think my basic genre (inspirational romance) is unifying enough that the sub-genres I like to write in (historical, romantic-suspense, contemporary) don’t require further classification, beyond relevant covers and titles.  But if you are a reader, or a writer, I would love your opinion!  Is it best to keep everything separate, or is a little bit of variety the spice of your literary life?

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