Thanks for the many good wishes left here in comments and sent by e-mail. Amazing counter space can't compete with you guys.
Before I took off to relocate, I mentioned starting some discussions on the business of writing and selling books. Of all the business ventures I've been involved in, publishing seemed the most confusing -- at least on the surface. But it is a business, and like any other, there are a few ways to succeed and many, many more ways to fail.
If you think of writing a book as being the same thing as opening a small shop, you get a better idea of what I mean. To open a shop, you need to sell something that people want to buy, money to fund the operation, advertising, location, and so on. Same thing with a book: you need a great story, a publisher to manufacture and distribute it, publicity, decent print runs, etc.
In comments, Andi wrote: Anything you'd be willing to divulge about writing/publishing in multiple genres would be appreciated. I have so many questions about what to do and not to do, and most things I've read don't cover multiple genres, for some reason.
I think the lack of info is because most writers don't try to write in multiple genres. Lack of interest, fear of the unfamiliar, inability to sell and the desire to become established in a single genre are the reasons against it that I hear most often.
They're not wrong. It's difficult enough to write well in one genre. Knowing a genre is the smart way to write for it. Some agents and publishers don't like multi-genre writers, although I've yet to hear someone couldn't sell solely because of that. If you write at a slow pace, or work a day job and have limited writing time, it's probably better to concentrate on becoming established in one genre.
I pursued publishing in multiple genres mainly because diversifying made sense. I knew going in my chances of success as a pro were slim to none, and wanted some insurance. Multi-genre writing offered more exposure and more chances to breakout. I wrote fast enough to handle the workload, and it also appealed to the easily bored three-year-old in me. I get restless and I want to try different things all the time; why not start off with that as a selling point and see where it took me?
To handle more than one genre, you have to forget about the usual one-writer one-novel one-genre linear mindset. There's nothing wrong with that, btw, it just doesn't help you with the multi-genre juggling act. Here are some of the things that I think help:
1. Write at least two books per year; four would be ideal.
2. Develop a unique voice for each genre you work in.
3. Boost your time efficiency by doing things like parallel researching (using the same research you put together for one novel in a different way for another book.)
4. Work on more than one book at once.
5. Read widely all the time; don't focus on one genre.
6. Unpublished writers: don't try and pitch three books in three different genres simultaneously. Pitch them one at a time to the appropriate editor/publisher.
7. Find an agent who is willing to represent you no matter what you write. The agent should be capable of selling you in all genres, too.
What do you all think of multi-genre writing? Any problems, reservations, roadblocks?