This isn't just true in writing. A few years back there was a painter whose work I admired for its color, lighting, subject matter, but never purchased because it would not have fit with other work I owned. She did mostly landscapes of wildlife. Beautiful images and romantically traditional. She had an auto accident. In injuring her 'painting' arm, she decided to try painting with the other. The work surprised her as it turned out to be very impressionistic, full of vibrant colors and nothing like the others.
Not long after having read about her change of style, I was visiting a gallery and saw they had her traditionals; so I asked if they had the others. They did and led me to a dark corner of the gallery and there they were. They said it wasn't what the clients wanted. Recently when I checked out her work, it was all the traditional animal paintings. Beautiful but the buyers wouldn't go for the others, which I had thought was great, very exciting work.
Another example of how it works with painting was in Jerome, Arizona. A couple had taken over what had been a school as well as at one time a hospital and turned it into a gallery for their paintings (this is one place that really should have had ghosts). They kept the styles in different rooms, but they did all kinds of work. I said something to them about galleries not liking that much-- and they said it's why they now had their own.
Is this need to fit a niche a good thing? Not so much for the creative personality where many like to experiment with different approaches to depicting their idea. That said, I suspect it's true of many things. It sells best if the creator sticks to something that they can develop, get people to admire, want to purchase, and not disappoint them with something totally different. Basically at some point turn it into a craft instead of an art and voila!
I have not felt that my books, even though they are romances, fit their genre's expectationsy. And they aren't going to. This will be even more true when I begin to bring out the historical romances. Even before that though they simply didn't fit the niches that help to sell a lot of books. Most have some adventure in them, maybe suspense, but also other kinds of interests from art to ranching to detective work and on it has gone.
Although my plots are always going to have a love story at their center, they're not series type of romance. I remember one editor telling me that my writing was good but they wanted the heroine more 'vulnerable' with more angst. Another didn't like the hard issue one of my heroes had to face. I have a story where the hero wrestles with commiting suicide, something I can't recall seeing in another romance.
If a reader loves western contemporary romances, I have a couple... Romantic suspense, some of that (if they don't mind some art thrown in), paranormal, etc. But I can't say these books fit together. The romances have some sex; so aren't 'sweet' but they also don't go far enough to be erotica.
The reason for my plots comes I think because of my own interest in so many different things. Tell me a Libra who isn't like that? I am eclectic in my home decor, interests, and it follows through with my writing.
Maybe someday the marketing world will change or humans will not want 'more of the same.' Maybe someday the cross-genre writers will have their own genre... Except, what would it be?
Image at the top was created from a purchased CanStock photo and then digital painting to play around with possibilities. It was part of redoing a cover. When I do that, I save the stages by different names in case what comes next doesn't work. I liked this one well enough to keep it when the cover was redone. If these had all been oil paintings, I might have a photo of the stages but that'd be all. The ability to save the levels is what I love about digital painting.