Thursday, June 6, 2013

Well, NOW who am I?

By Gayle Carline
-Author of Mysteries, Humor, and ???

Andrew's post last week, about writing the story you want to write resonated with me in a big way. While most of you are reading this, I am in my 200-year-old minivan, heading 400 miles to Sacramento to attend the Western States Horse Expo. I've been invited to be part of their Book Corral and sell my books... but not my mysteries.

I released a new book this week, which I would love to recommend to all of you mystery/thriller readers, except it is not a mystery or a thriller. It's not even strictly humor.

It's my horse's memoir.

Stop laughing. I own two Quarter horses, a mare, Frostie and her son, Snoopy. When Snoopy was three years old, he won an AQHA show championship. (I got a pretty saddle as a prize, that still sits in my bedroom.) When he was four years old, he broke his leg. Two years, a fused joint, metal plate, and six screws later, I was riding him again. Now he's nine and we compete together at AQHA shows.

Although I'm uber-excited about this book, told in Snoopy's voice, about his rise and fall and fight to return to the arena, I'm a smidgeon worried. Up until now, I've been "Gayle Carline, Mystery and Humor Author." Now I'm adding another genre to the mix.

Am I diluting my brand?

Michele Scott is truly savvy about this. Her lighter fare, her cozies and YA books, are all Michele Scott, but her dark thrillers are written as A.K. Alexander. Readers should never get confused and buy Daddy's Home, expecting a Wine Lover's Mystery.

I locked myself in with my real name on my mysteries and my humor books, but when I wrote From the Horse's Mouth, I toyed briefly with the idea of using another name. Technically, the book is written "by Snoopy as told to Gayle Carline." I could have used G.S. Carline, or my maiden name, I suppose.

In the end, I decided to be who I am. No matter what genre I'm writing, my stories have things in common. Lightness, hope, and whimsy, to name a few. I try to group my cover art together so you always recognize a Peri mystery, or a book of my humor essays.

Time will tell if this was a good choice or not. Readers, are you annoyed by an author who can't stick with one genre? And what do I use in my by-line now?


  1. I'm with you. Write what you want to write and put your name on it. As long as the cover, title, and book description are clear, readers are smart enough to know if the book is right for them.

  2. Not a bit annoyed by authors who explore more than one genre. As long as there's a decent description on the cover or in the Amazon/B & N/other online distributor text, that's fine.

    Also, although cross-genre, your writing sounds like it has a consistent tone. I'm no expert, but using two different author names, ala Michelle Scott, may be appropriate when the tone and content are so different.

  3. I am writing a fictional book based upon actual events, so to protect the "innocent" (and the not so innocent) I have chosen to use a pseudonym. I just don't want to deal with family drama afterward, you know?

  4. Let's see… Gayle Carline, Author of Mysteries, Humor, & Other Stuff. Hmmm… Mysteries, Humor & Horse Translations.

    Honestly, I think you made a good choice. And congratulations!

  5. I'm with Peg on this one. Lots of authors write in multiple genres. One of my favorite, Isaac Asimov, wrote SF, Mysteries, and a whole bunch of non-fiction. We can all name lots of writers who do non-fiction, fiction, etc. It's a publisher's marketing trick to pigeon hole a writer, and when it comes to pigeons, I agree with Tom Lehrer. Your brand is you. By all means, label the type of book. But if readers like your style, what you have to say, they'll explore with you. And readers who want only one genre, just let them know next time they'll be the central audience.

    Now, as far as a tag line, how about: Author of Mysteries, Humor and Equine Insights. Or Author of Mysteries, Humor and Horse Sense. Or Author of Mysteries, Humor, and Thoroughbred Wisdom

  6. Good for you, Gayle! Write under your own name...unless, of course, you decide to tell us that you talked to Wilbur the talking horse as well as Snoopy...that just might be a bit too much of a tail.

  7. Good for you, Gayle! What a great idea! I like "By Snoopy, as told to Gayle Carline" and "Author of Mysteries, Humor, and Horse Sense." Good luck with all your writing ventures, no matter where they take you! You're definitely multi-talented!


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