When I first decided to actually sit down and write a novel, I made some key decisions based on gut instinct and pseudo research.
1. Write what's fun: I'd always intended to write the next great american novel -- but then, who among us hasn't? Upon reflection, however, I decided that such a task was monumental, chock full of research requirements (for me, anyway), and reeking of hard work. I decided to write candy instead. For me, candy is fantasy.
2. Write what sells: Honestly? This was just a hope -- and we all want our babies to sell like hotcakes in the literary market, I imagine, so that's hardly an original thought. Actually, though, there is definitely a segment of the artistic/authorial population who compose or write or create motivated entirely by 'staying true to the muse' ... which, by definition, means "creating that which won't sell." So, yes, writing "mass market" is an intentional decision.
3. Write to the largest possible audience: I had read somewhere that -- within the YA lit readership -- female protagonists tend to appeal to girls only, while male protagonists are accepted by both males and females. Generalizations aside, I wrote The Chillwane Chronicles with a male protagonist mostly because male protagonists appeal to me. Reflection, of course, revealed that this is because most female protagonists are sissies, angsty, or snarky, all of which are qualities I despise in women. (Well, okay, I despise those qualities in men, as well.) My new YA novel, Conning Lauren, contains a snarky, angsty sissy who metamorphosizes into a kick-butt heroine with rock-hard abs and a new-found respect for herself and small dogs.
Um. I lied about the dog part.