Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How do I write a Novel that will SELL?

"How do I write a Novel
that will SELL?" 

You begin by learning how to write Fiction properly.

Clue-by-four:
Fiction is Not written the same way one writes an essay, or journalism; how one is taught to write in school. Fiction uses a different sentence structure, (Action THEN Reaction,) a different style of paragraph division, (by Character -- not dialog,) and different grammar rules. (Adverbs and adjectives are OK! The word "as" is Not.)

Once you can do that then it gets HARD.

Disclaimer:
This article is NOT for those who do Creative Writing. It's strictly for those who intend to write for Profit; for a reading audience that will not pay for anything less than exactly what they wish to read.

"I've been writing for years, but I can't seem to get more than a few readers to buy my books."

Clearly, you're doing something Right, but just as clearly, you're not doing Enough right to widen your reader base. In other words, you're doing something Wrong.

However, instead of stopping to figure out what's isn't working in their stories, too many writers simply rewrite their story over, and over, and over... The same story with the same types of characters, in the same situations -- just in different arrangements.

STOP DOING THAT! 

Repeating yourself only increases the number of books that flop don't sell as well as you'd like.

The trick to fixing anything is to CHANGE something; a character's personality type, a character's personality issues, add a plot-reversal, add a plot-twist, cut out all the head-hopping, intensify the paranormal influences... If changing something doesn't work, change something Else. Still no good? Change something Else. Still not working? Keep changing things -- don't stop until you figure out what combination of elements Does work to make your stories popular with your readers.

"Is there an easier, faster way to figure out what my readers want in my stories?"

Actually, there is. 

Find it. Own it. Fix it.

Find the Problem.
The fastest way to find the problems in any story is by Asking the Readers. 
  • Write a blog post that point-blank Asks what your readers would like to see in their stories, and what they don't like seeing. Ask for Examples from books they've read -- including yours.

  • Do a poll with a list of thing you suspect might be problems and ask them: "What annoys you the Most?"  
Pay attention to what your Readers tell you!
Do your readers prefer: 
  • More Description? 
  • Hotter Action? 
  • Less Angst? 
  • More Drama? 
  • More Character Development? 
  • Less Character Introspection...?
  • Snarky comments?
  • Smart-assed, intelligent Villians?
  • Non-passive Heroines?
  • Non-abusive Heroes?
  • More Consensual bodice-ripping?
  • More man-on-man action?
  • Werewolves that act like Wolves not dogs?
  • Vampires that don't sparkle? 
  • Stories that are Less realistic?
  • Stories that are More realistic?
Once you know what they like, consider your own work. How much of what you write actually offers what your audience actually wants to read? How much of what they Don't like shows up in your stories?
    Clue-by-fours:
    • If your readers like your Villain more than the story's Main Character -- you have a Problem. 
    • If your Romantic Hero is extremely popular, but your Romantic Heroine is an annoying bitch, or worse; a forgettable doormat -- you have a Problem.  
    • If your Secondary Characters are more entertaining than your main characters -- you have a Problem. 
    • If your story consists of 50% dialog, 40% character introspection, and only 10% is spent on Action scenes -- you have a Problem.
    • If your story has plenty of Action scenes, but the characters are little more than cardboard placeholders -- you have a Problem.
    • If your readers can guess the end of your story by the fourth chapter -- you have a Problem.

    Own the Problem.
    Accept that your sales are suffering because you're not giving enough readers what they want to read, and that your stories need to be adjusted to suit a wider reading audience.

    Next, make a Choice: 
    • I want to write what I enjoy more than I want money, so I'll just live with pleasing only a select few readers. (Go to: Option A)
    OR:
    • I want to make a enough money to quit the day job, so I'll find a way to write what my readers want by adjusting it into something I can enjoy writing. (Go To: Option B
    Option A
    Continue writing your stories the way you normally do, and Stop Reading this Article because the following advice will probably piss you off. :)

    Option B: 
    Fix the Problem.
    If you want better sales, you'll need adjust your writing to entice a broader range of readers into buying your books. So, how do you do this?

    The fastest way to make any story popular is by discovering what elements the readers enjoy then adding them to your stories

    Just to be clear:
    I am NOT telling you to Copy other people's work...!
    I'm NOT saying that your vampires should suddenly start sparkling simply because the vampires in an ungodly popular book series has sparkling vampires. (THAT isn't what made that series popular, seriously!) I'm saying take those stories apart and note what that authors did Right -- and what they did Wrong.

    Examine each separate component; character types, plot devices, dialog styles, locations, personality issues featured, timing for dramatic scenes, how much angst was used, how often love scenes occur and how detailed they are... What worked? What didn't?


    Once you know what elements the readers like, adjust those elements into what you enjoy writing

    Compare Notes: 
    How many stories (movies are stories too!) use these highly popular elements?
    • A Wolverine-type romantic Hero? 
    • A Frodo-type nice-guy Hero? 
    • A smart-assed Captain Jack Sparrow-type of Anti-Hero?
    • A Princess Buttercup 'suffering behind her smile' style of romantic Heroine?
    • A Trinity-type kick-ass Heroine?
    • A smiling, psychopathic Moriarity-type Villain?
    • A 'Hero's Journey' adventure plot-line?
    • A 'Beauty and the Beast' romantic plot-line? 
    • A Great Escape scene?
    • A Plot Twist that changes everything you thought you knew about what was going on in the story? 
    • A Self-Sacrifice scene that allows a character to redeem themselves?
    • A Wedding at the End?
    • An Ironic Ending?
    What do You use in Your stories? 

    More to the point; what can you change, adjust, or remove altogether to make your stories suit a wider range of readers? 
    .
    In Conclusion:
    Pay attention to what your Readers tell you then Use what they tell you to write a story they already Want to Read.
     
    THAT'S how you create books that will SELL.

     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Morgan Hawke

    4 comments:

    1. Wonderful article filled with great advice. Thanks for your time and continued dedication to our successes. xo

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. My pleasure.
        -- I like helping my fellow writers.

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