Everyone knows Stephen King for his scary stories, but did you know that the Master of Horror has also penned an alternate history of the United States, mysteries and hard crime novels, and even an epic fantasy? Like several of the other greats, King is one of many
bestselling authors who has mastered more than one genre.
Writing isn't an easy career path to follow, and finding success in one genre is hard enough as it is. Breaking into the literary fiction world is a feat similar to reaching the peak of Everest, and even getting noticed in a smaller popular fiction genre can feel impossible. Yet, there are some authors whose names appear in several sections of the library and who have amassed huge followings across the book world.
If you do a quick Google search on advice on writing in
more than one genre, you will find the internet will spit back the same warning: don't do it. Literary agents, critics, and everyday readers seem to share the opinion that crossing genres makes an author less appealing, harder to market, and more difficult to build a brand around. While that may be true for many beginners who are just dipping their toes into the bookish pool, some of the greatest writers of our time have found success crossing genre lines.
If you thought you were impressed by professional writers before, check out these 13 bestselling authors who have mastered
more than one genre. Neil Gaiman Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Best know for his work in the dark fantasy genre with books like
American Gods and Coraline, Neil Gaiman has also mastered the art of comic books, graphic novels, audio theater plays, children's books, short fiction, and even poetry. Whether you are in the mood for an otherworldly adult read like a lighthearted children's story like The Ocean at the End of the Lane, , or even a touching poem like "Blueberry Girl," Gaiman's nearly endless library is perfect for you. Chu's Day Stephen King Scott Eisen/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The aforementioned Master of Horror
Stephen King is actually a multi-genre master. Not only have his bestselling scary stories like and It been delighting (and terrifying) readers for years, his works of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and suspense have kept his readers going back to his library time and time again. For readers who have been avoiding the literary giant because of his reputation for horror, mystery books like Carrie The and Gothic fantasies like Colorado Kid provide a great alternative. The Green Mile Anne Rice Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
You've seen her name plastered on the cover of vampire novels and witchy stories, but did you know
Anne Rice is also a master of erotic romance? Under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, Rice has published the popular Sleeping Beauty quartet, erotic BDSM fantasy novels that make 50 Shades of Grey seem tame. If you like her dark fantasy but are looking for something a little sexier, fear not: the master knows her way around the bedroom as well as she does the graveyard. Philip Roth JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A celebrated author in the literary fiction world,
Philip Roth is best known for his autobiographically-inspired works, but the bestselling writer has several tricks up his sleeve. Aside from his celebrated novels and Portnoy's Complaint , Roth has found success writing alternate history science fiction with Goodbye, Columbus , which chronicles a timeline in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to Charles Lindbergh. While it is far from his best-known work, and was not incredibly well received by the sci-fi community, The Plot Against America The Plot Against America proved that Roth can do no wrong. Jacqueline Woodson Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
A multi-award winning author of both children and adult books,
Woodson is a Jacqueline (see what I did there?) of many trades. Not only has she found success writing middle grade and young adult titles including the Coretta Scott King Award-winning and the Newbery Honor Award-winning Miracle Boys , Woodson has also earned praise for her adult novels like 2016's National Book Award-nominated Brown Girl Dreaming Another Brooklyn. Emma Donoghue Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
If you read her bestselling fiction novel,
, you know that Room Emma Donoghue knows how to write a chilling novel. Did you also know she can create fun children's stories, fascinating historical fiction, and addicting short stories? If reading about a mother and son in captivity doesn't appeal to you, try Donoghue's thrilling historical work, or her spooky gothic novel Frog Music, The Wonder. Isabel Allende PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images
Isabel Allende has gained notoriety for work in magical realism with novels like and The House of Spirits , but she has also made a name for herself writing mystery. While the author created controversy for herself when she made negative City of Beasts comments about the mystery genre, her novel is still a terrific addition to the book category. If neither magical realism nor mystery are for you, however, the celebrated author has several nonfiction works, including Ripper a dark memoir about her life, that might appeal to your literary preferences. Paula, Jennifer Egan DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
After winning the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her literary novel
, A Visit from the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan became a household name. The writer may be best known for meta-fiction novels, her newest book, has proven that Egan can do it all, including historical fiction. Manhattan Beach, Lisa See MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/DDP/Getty Images
Lisa See has found both commercial and critical success with her literary fiction novels, including 2017's incredible family saga, In addition to her well known fiction, however, See has also penned the fun and addicting The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. Red Princess mystery series that follows a Chinese police inspector and and American attorney who take on the bad guys in China. If you thought you liked her historical fiction, just wait until you try her mysteries. Margaret Atwood MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images
Margaret Atwood decided to write , she was famously The Handmaid's Tale afraid of making the jump from literary fiction to genre fiction. Luckily for her readers, she did just that and, in her signature style, has gone on to create some of the best speculative fiction of our time. While we may know the Canadian author now for her dystopian works like the MaddAddam series, Atwood has actually penned several children's books, literary novels, works of historical fiction including the Man Booker Prize winning , and short story collections. The real question is, is there anything this bookish goddess can't do? The Blind Assassin J. K. Rowling Rob Stothard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Not unlike Atwood, Harry Potter creator and children's literature legend J.K. Rowling was nervous to make a genre jump when publishing her first novel for adults. Upon its release,
received mixed but mostly positive reviews, and fans were thrilled to see the novel come to life as a The Casual Vacancy BBC miniseries. Since then, Rowling has continues to publish magical stories, plays, and movies for children, as well as the both critically acclaimed and commercially successful Cormoran Strike series under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Is there anything the woman can't do? Joyce Carol Oates Thos Robinson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Joyce Carol Oates has published over 40 novels, short stories, poetry collections, and works of nonfiction over her long and illustrious career. The multi-award winning author has
mastered the art of literary fiction, historical fiction, mystery, theater, memoir, children's literature, criticism, and more. One of the most versatile writers today, Joyce Carol Oates has never met a genre she couldn't conquer.
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