Sunday, May 6, 2012

How To Become A Successful Novelist

Everytime I go on Amazon these days I see an ad for an "Amazon Success Story" - a self published author who becomes a bestseller overnight. I've read a few of the books of these chaps and they don't seem to be particularly special or brilliant to me. (But then again what the hell do I know?) What these authors seem to have done is capture the Zeitgeist in a certain moment with a concept or idea that explodes virally with the general public. Book #2 of a best seller will always sell but the real test for these authors will be book #3. I'm sure some of them will continue to do well and I wish all of them nothing but continued success: it must feel brilliant to be rejected by the mainstream publishers and then become a million seller on Amazon. Anyway I know nothing about ebooks but I do know about mainstream publishing and drawing on my wealth of experience I've produced a helpful little pie chart for all you aspiring novelists out there. The figures take your average best seller and break down into percentages what I think the components of that success amount to. I genuinely think that this is pretty much how the mainstream publishing world works for new writers. What I'm really saying here - rather cynically I admit - is that its better to be pretty and connected than to have written a good book. (Not better for your soul, of course.) The pie chart applies to all new novelists except for Nordic crime and mystery writers: if you are lucky enough to be Scandinavian you can write any old tosh and the general public will lap it up.