Jeff, Hi, and thank you for a good article. I just wished to pull you up on one thing, a minor thing but a “thing” none the less.
“The golden rule of writing is that you must know your audience” seems a fair point. “Tolkein” wrote for his son but the odd other fellow and girl enjoyed his tales. Hermann Hesse wrote only for the sake of art, and hopefully to get a girl. I feel sure that almost twenty girls read his books, and most of them were thinking, Oh I like a good author but he is an absolute creep. When I started writing my publisher told me my audience was late teens to early twenties men from my heartland of Scotland. Most of my readers tend to be American and Canadian women of mature years.
I think that anyone who tells you what the general public will like is either a savant or a fool. Some books catch on, others do not, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to it other than that a good book has a greater chance of success than a bad one.