Small victories in this little fishbowl of ours, but victories nonetheless.
(As an aside, I see people who get annoyed at other people who compound words while ignoring all the compound words already in the English language, like "nonetheless." I love English for the living language that it is and its absolute dedication to everything improper and ad-hoc. No other language is so willing to change itself just to make itself understood.)
I thought that I didn't have a business plan, but I am wrong. (See yesterday's post.) I do have a business plan. Write high-qualities books with a long shelf life. Accumulate IP (which doesn't go bad). In 15-20 years when I retire, hopefully I've built enough capital and skill and take on writing as a post-retirement career. If writing somehow takes off, I can look at retiring early.
So when I think about Russell Blake's advice, I must remember that he is talking about people who want to be professional writers right now. Now I see how that this advice would steer me wrong, not because it's bad, but because it doesn't fit with my business plan. I can hire people to make proper covers for me. I can hire proofreaders. I can hire someone to punch up a blurb. What I can't do is hire someone to write for me. What I can't do is to hire someone to learn for me. What I can't hire someone to do is to test my skills against multiple market segments to see how I write into those segments.
If I were to pick a genre and write in it, and build expertise, then I have an opportunity cost, which is finding a market segment that I may be better suited toward. At this early point in my business (started in 2008 when I decided to write a novel at all cost, dammit), experimentation and development are worth my while. I find it important to experience writing different types of novels, learning whether I enjoy them or not, and seeing how they sell. These experiences have already taught me a great deal.
What is also apparent to me is that I cannot chase the market. I cannot write a <popular sub-genre> because I am just not interested in that sub-genre, and any reader will instantly know that I just don't give a damn. I will not see such a book through to the end. I like money, but my self-experience has show that no amount of money will counteract my disinterest for very long.
Suboptimal? Yes, but those are my practical constraints.
I am also very certain that if I was writing full-time, I would drive myself crazy. There's a certain amount of time that I can spend writing, and then my brain falls out. That length of time has expanded over the years, but I think that that span of time is not yet sufficient for full-time writing.