Most writers would give their eyeteeth for tips on writing a best seller, if the tips actually worked. Like many other creative occupations, writers can be divided into those who do (that is, write), and those who make an appointment to think about writing at some point in the future. Writing itself is a difficult discipline, but to devise the kind of writing that will spin itself into a best selling book requires even more forethought.
The first thing to do is to figure out your market. You may be dying to write the ultimate English romance novel, but if that kind of book isn’t selling, your heartfelt prose will languish, unpublished and unloved.
What kind of books are selling? Take a look at at least six months’ worth of the New York Times best seller list (or a similar list.) What books are getting readers’ attention - and their money?
Novels have a tendency to go in cycles. A Harry Potter-type book that climbs and stays at the top of bestseller lists will elicit more of the same type of fantasy/witchcraft plots... but remember the converse: too many such books on the same theme will wear out their welcome with publishers.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling submitted her novel to literally dozens of publishers, with nary a flicker of interest. That’s because her book was different, and a different book needs a publisher with the imagination to see what the next big thing is. Just by following the right tips on writing a best seller, you could be that writer!
Yeah, it sounds like something your old lady third grade English teacher might have assigned, but planning what you’re going to do gives you the right framework within which you can be creative.
Remember, you’re going for creating a top-rated book, and by following these tips on writing a best seller, you’ll discover that the way to realize your dream is to fashion a novel that’s unusual and attention-grabbing. You have to be wily as a fox and stay within the margins of planning in order to unleash your creative energy in a way that will give your book a shot at the bestseller list.
Well, of course you do! Remember, though, a publisher looks at dozens of proposals a day (and those are the proposals that make it through the first round of readers!) You are marketing your book to this unknown holder of your fate. You’ll have a minute, maybe even seconds, to make an impression.
Take a look at the books on those best seller lists again. Look at books that are within the genre you’re tackling. What kind of titles are selling?
It’s very likely, if a publisher takes you on, that your title might be revamped or changed completely. That’s fine, because it means you got a publisher to take your book!
Remember, you’re using the title to get attention and make your manuscript stand out from the avalanche on the publisher’s desk. Put some thought into this. It’ll be worth your effort.
Yes, you’ve created an outline, and maybe the major action of your book doesn’t come for chapters yet. Still that first chapter, and the first few pages of that chapter, should be written using the same guidelines as devising the title of your masterpiece. You are selling your book, and yourself, to the publisher. You have mere moments to grab his attention. The first pages of the first chapter should be the best you can do.
Again, it’s very likely that these words will be recrafted if the publisher gives you a contract. That’s not the point, though. You want to entice the reader into wanting to see what comes next. The publisher has seen it all, on paper, at least. You need to grab him by the throat and make him want to read what happens next. This is your audition! Make the most of it by following these tips for writing a best seller.
...if your manuscript is returned. There may be a best-selling writer who hasn’t been rejected at least once, but that’s a rare bird indeed.
Expect to get your proposal back. If you’re good, though, you may get a note from the publisher that will encourage you, or tell you what works, and what doesn’t. Take that note as proof positive you’re onto a good thing. Eventually, if your book has what it takes, you will get noticed. Look at J.K. Rowling, who didn’t give up!
Make sure you write every day. Set a schedule, and stick to it. Writing is like a job, but presumably it’s a job you love. That’s why you covet your name on that best-selling book... and that’s why you’ll succeed!
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