The Danger of More Than One Genre

Something is wrong in Scar Ridge.

The cows watch the new brides at Jarvis’s Ranch. The new parson keeps burying the same people over and over again. The returning veteran brought home more than scars. And though no tracks run through town, there’s a station waiting for the arrival of a train.

Welcome to Scar Ridge collects nine stories about the darkly different town. It releases October 10 from Dark Owl Publishing, the same press that published my first novel, The Keeper of Tales.

As you might have noticed, Welcome to Scar Ridge is western horror. If you enjoyed Dark Owl’s collection Something Wicked This Way Rides, you’ll love Scar Ridge. I should warn you, though, that it’s definitely PG-13, possibly edging into R-rated territory.

Currently, I’m running a Kickstarter campaign for a middle grade science fiction fantasy. That one’s definitely PG. There is peril. The stakes are huge; literally the entire human race. The action scenes will leave your pulse racing. However, it’s aimed to be appropriate for a young teen audience.

And I don’t know how wise all this is…

Most readers stray outside of strict boundaries. The same person might enjoy military science fiction, cozy fantasy, and horror comics. I do, for one! I read books aimed at adults, teens, and middle grade. I read picture books, too!

Writers, however, often stay within certain genres. There’s good reason for it, too.

Let’s say you love horror. A friend suggests you pick up some Stephen King. You decide to give it a try. Knowing nothing about it, you grab the first book of his you see: On Writing. What terrors might lurk inside those covers?

Sorry. That’s his book on, well, writing. (And it’s one I’d recommend, personally.) But if you were expecting horror and got a writing guide, you’re probably going to be disappointed, even though the writing guide is excellent.

It’s the same thing here. Right now I have a complete six-book series out called Madelyn of the Sky. Barring complications, at this time next year I’ll have another six-book series out called Cade and the Last Starship. Both series aim to be appropriate for a middle grade audience. They’re marketed to that audience.

Let’s say you’re a sixth grade boy. You rip through both six-book series. You’re hungry for more. What else has this Jonathon Mast guy written?

Oh! Welcome to Scar Ridge? Let’s check that out!

…and then I get a nasty letter from that kid’s mom.

It’s a risk. I know a number of writers that intentionally use different pen names, or variations on a name, to indicate the target audience. An author might have one pen name for their sweet romances, and another for their YA dystopian fiction, for instance. Could I do that?

I… really don’t want to. For one, that just gives me one more thing to track. Then again, if I end up getting a lot of angry letters, maybe I’ll end up doing that?

I’m hoping that the different covers will make it clear that, hey, different audiences intended! I’m hoping that potential readers will at least scan the back of the books to get a good feel of whether or not this particular book is aimed at them.

Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but readers… they skew a little smarter than the average bear, right?


By the way, Cade and the Last Starship is fully funded, but I’d love it if you’d take a look. We have some great stretch goals, and you can help us reach them! Check out the campaign, and if you’re so inclined, please back it! We have about two weeks left!

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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