Keys to literary success – part 2

Here’s part 2 of Iberia’s tongue-in-cheek list on how to write a best seller. (To see the first part of this list, go here.)

6. Language: use the simplest language possible so that readers will not close the book forever because they have to keep looking things up in the dictionary.

7. Rhythm: the reader should not be given respite. As soon as the characters solve a problem, another arises, and that is what makes readers turn the pages. Every chapter but the last should preferably end on a cliffhanger — an unresolved action involving a serious problem or, better still, a danger for the main characters that will not be averted until the next chapter.

8. Marketing: it is best to have the determined support of a publisher willing to spend a great deal of money on the many forms of publicity available. The writer and the publisher must know exactly who they are targeting and what they want to achieve. Once that is settled, all that remains is to write.

9. Serialisation: have a similar book ready as a sequel when the book comes. In general, make sure you have enough sequels for a trilogy. This is vital, since it ensures that people will buy the rest of the author’s books.

10. Hollywood: have an ending that conforms with Hollywood canons. The good guys win, the bad guys die, the truth is made public and the leading couple live happily ever after. And try to reach an agreement with a film-maker to transfer the book to the big screen.

So, here it is, the ten-step road to monetary success 🙂 And the ten reasons why I prefer to choose my own books based on my own criteria, instead of accepting mainstream publishing as it comes. Of course, from my small inside knowledge of the publishing industry, I know quite well that the one and only thing that makes or unmakes a book as a publishing success is point 8, marketing… while whatever makes a book a good book is not to be found in this (or any other) list.

The epitome of this kind of best-seller writing, in my mind, is The Da Vinci Code. (Also, as I am reading his books now, George R.R. Martin takes point 7 very seriously! 😉 ) Can you name others (so that I steer very clear of them)?

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