I suspect the answer to this one is obvious, but I thought I'd ask anyway. How off-putting is it for an agent, publisher or even a reader if an author doesn't stick to one genre?
My last book was a comic thriller, my current book is supernatural noir* and my next will either be a galaxy-hopping sci-fi romp or a tale of the unexpected confined to a quiet English village. How annoying is that? If you were a fan of Vivaldi, would you check out his upcoming punk album? If you loved Billy Ray Cyrus's 'Achy Breaky Heart', would you buy his hardcore techno cover version of 'Knights in White Satin'?
Of course, I wouldn't put my writing up there on a par with either Vivaldi or Billy Ray Cyrus, but all the successful writers I can think of have built their careers on a foundation of a single genre. In crime-writing, that often goes hand-in-hand with recurring characters. Somehow I doubt I could do that, but is this the only rational, professional choice for a writer?
* - Is that even a proper genre? Whatever it was, the first chapter was published as a short story in Spinetingler
- The Office of Lost and Found
. This was the infamous story I obliquely referenced in my previous forum post, the one that confused some people as to whether a character had been shot or not.