Books Magazine

Time Travel: Should You Be a Niche Writer Or a Jack of All Trades?

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
I'm off on vacation until September 6th. But just because I'm taking a break doesn't mean you get to too! To keep your little writer/reader minds sharp, here are some past posts I thought you might enjoy. See you next week!
Should you be a niche writer or a jack-of-all-trades? originally posted on April 5, 2011
Time Travel: Should you be a niche writer or a jack of all trades?There seems to be much discrepancy on this topic amongst the writing gurus.
Should a writer select just one topic or genre and become known as an expert in that particular niche or should she try her hand at all kinds of topics and styles and be a write-about-anything-and-everything writer?
Some writing professionals advise you to become an expert in something or have a platform. They say that the best way to grow a following and have editors, publishers and agents take you seriously is to focus on just one area and become known as the go-to person for that subject.
Others urge you to sew your oats widely to become as flexible as possible. The more styles and genres you have under your belt, the more you will learn of your craft. And the better you are at your craft, the better your writing will be in all things that you do.
As a budding writer, I’ve struggled with this a lot. I’ve done blogs and content and newspapers and short stories and childrens’ books and anthologies and editing and playwriting. I have also seen how all of these experiences have helped me grow as a writer.
But there’s also the part of me that wants to eventually write a novel or a work of non-fiction. To be successful at securing an agent and, eventually, a publisher, I’m told I need to have a platform, to be considered an expert in something and have a following.
After much thought and consideration, I think that the answer will be different for each individual writer. It depends on where your strengths lie and what you are most comfortable with.
Some writers are cut out to write just one thing and in just one style. Some writers aren’t interested in branching out.
Others couldn’t imagine writing about the same topic or in the same genre day in and day out. Others still have far too many interests and talents to limit themselves to just one platform or niche.
It also depends on what you want out of your writing career. For those looking to make a living as a freelance writer, the best choice is to be a jack of all trades. If you can write about anything anytime and anywhere, you are more marketable. You can write articles, copy, reviews, blog posts, for the stage and screen. You can do editing or offer your services as a writing mentor. This also means you can adapt easily to new writing styles and topics should the ones you are currently working on go out of fashion.
Those looking to become novelists or experts in a certain field should probably concentrate on just one genre or niche. Readers will learn to associate your name with that particular style or topic. You will also be more attractive to publishers who are looking for writers who already have large followings, as those with a keen interest in your niche will already be following you, waiting to hear what you, the expert, have to say.
Then there are writers like me who need to have a foot in each camp. We have a topic, niche or platform that we are associated with, yet we also have our hands in all kinds of other projects. Though this requires some pretty heavy duty time-management and multi-tasking skills, I think these types of writers are more marketable. However, we also run the risk of spreading ourselves too thin.
So, should you be a niche writer or a jack of all trades?
Only by taking the time to try things out and explore what is right for you will you be able to know for sure.
Are you a niche or genre writer or a jack of all trades? Which do you think is better for a writer?
Image: InaFrenzy, Flickr
© 2011 Tiffany Jansen, writer

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog