Margaret wrote in comments: As far as the business of selling books, I read something somewhere (and no I can't remember where) that said you should establish yourself in a genre with 3-5 books before adding a new genre. Looking at your publication dates, I kind of figure you didn't follow that model. My question is: what do you think of the idea and maybe both what happened in your case with the romance and SF (I know StarDoc was your first, but the Gena Hales followed soon after.) and if you'd change anything given the chance to start again?
I didn't follow any model. If it wasn't in Writer's Digest, my only source of information about the industry (yes, go ahead, snort) then I didn't know about it.
My initial plan was to write what I wanted to, pitch everything I wrote, and sell as many books as possible. That worked fairly well, until I lost two editors and hit a career slump. That was when I added work as a writer-for-hire as needed to pay the bills and pulled out of the slump.
For multi-genre writers who want to publish in more than two genres, the 3-5 book/genre establishment model doesn't work. Even for the two-genre writers it can be hazardous. Establishing slaps a label on you and, whether you're successful or not, may run interference with you moving into the next genre. (See more about this in the comments I made about Alison's reference to the same model here.)
The big problem with actively publishing and achieving success in more than two genres is the production level required. You should write and sell at least one, preferably two novels in that genre per year. Multiply that by the number of genres in which you want to publish. Three genres = three to six books per year. Five genres = five to ten books a year. Aside from the twelve to sixteen hour work days involved in writing that many books, you must also sell them, and keep your numbers healthy enough to keep bringing in the new contracts for several years.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from multi-genre writing, either. I am proof that it can be done. It does demand discipline, commitment and hard work, and even then there are no guarantees.
If given the chance to start over, ugh, I'm no good at what-if scenarios. Aside from my criminal naivete, I doubt I would change anything. I think having a charmed career without any bumps can spoil a writer, so I'd rather keep all my mistakes. I learned a lot from them. Even this one, awful as it was, helped me.
You writers out there, are there any publishing business models you've found that have helped you? Are there any that you think other writers should avoid? Any that you're looking for right now?