We all want to write a best-seller. Not for fame nor for fortune.
Just to be able to support ourselves living out our dream.
But how to do that?
I could date Margo Robbie, of course, but I think her new husband might object.
And he is really big!
We will have to do it the old-fashioned way: by using the tools at hand the best way we know how.
HOW TO ULYSSES YOUR WAY
TO NOVEL SUCCESS
1.) SUCKER PUNCH YOUR READER WITH THE FIRST SENTENCE
The thinking behind the studio's thinking on making movie trailers of late is
TO MAKE IT SO COMPELLING THAT PEOPLE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BUY A TICKET
no matter what the critics say.
The first sentence to my story in TALES TO BE TOLD AT MIDNIGHT is
"The rape had been the best thing to have happened to her."
How could you not want to read on?
And remember the FIRST LOOK option on Amazon will hook your reader
if you just set the bait correctly.
2.) LEARN FROM THE MOST POPULAR GIRL IN HIGH SCHOOL
Not free. People value what they pay for.
But put out ... as quickly as you can with quality one after another.
You want to have other books to offer should lightning strike and you gain a fan.
Which leads me into the next point:
3.) BRAND YOURSELF WITH A SERIES
It won't hurt much,
but it will give a new fan certainty
of enjoying more adventures with the characters she or he has grown to love.
Readers who like one novel will confidently buy the next.
And the series name will draw the eye of past readers browsing thumbnails of your book covers.
Which leads me to my next point:
4.) LET YOUR TITLE BE LIKE THE SKIRTS OF THAT POPULAR GIRL
Choose a brief emotive title. Pack it with meaning, menace and drama.
Your cover will shrink to a fingernail on Kindle and other mobile devices.
So make it legible!
James Patterson uses such titles:
ZOO, THE FIRE, WITCH & WIZARD, THE QUICKIE
Which, of course, leads me to the next point as well
4.) ATTENTION SPANS HAVE CHANGED
TV sound bites, Twitter feeds, Buzz feeds, Facebook posts ...
All of them have conditioned those who still read to bore easily.
A bored reader is more dangerous to us than any lion, for you will lose them as customers.
Keep your sentences as short as models' skirts.
James Patterson is the expert here.
His sentences average just six words.
His paragraphs are typically no longer than five lines and often just one line.
Tell your story your way, but if it is to make an impact there is a model to follow.
5.) WE ARE A LONELY SOCIETY
Give your MC a foil character with whom to talk ... even if it is only the moon.
Even Tom Hanks had Wilson, the basketball,
with whom to share his innermost thoughts and fears on that island.
Conversations with the buddy character can introduce conflict to keep a scene alive,
give the main character a plausible sounding board for their woes and triumphs,
and also prompt the protagonist to reveal information.
Foil characters also furnish sub-plots.
Get them into troubles of their own. Make them victims.
Use a foil as a series character in your every novel as I do with Mark Twain
in my NOT-SO-INNOCENTS series and in my Egyptian Victorian fantasies.
6.) A PLOT WORTHY OF A MOVIE
Dueling vampire empires, alien evil clashing with ancient darkness,
Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Nikola Tesla --
all worrying less about saving the world than
saving their friend who is married to a demon-empress,
poised to set all the world ablaze with her dark ambition.
Outlandish but so was SHE and LORD OF THE RINGS.
You must strive to craft a riveting plot worthy of your reader.
7.) WATER COOLER DIALOGUE
My blood center still has a water cooler and coffee maker where workers chat a bit during the day.
Work to have your dialogue be quoted at the water cooler of today's culture:
Twitter, Facebook, Buzz Feeds, personal blogs.
There is a reason NIKE sells ball caps and T-shirts with their logo.
Be as smart as NIKE, have your fans advertise for you.
I HOPE THIS HELPS
IN SOME SMALL WAY,