There three things every writer needs to be a best seller:
1 To be up there among the big guys and make loads of money from your writing, you need a series. Once you hook a reader with your first book, then they will be dying for the next one and the one after that etc, etc.
Genre is important too. Crime pays. So do historical books based on Tudor England and children’s books can do well too. Not to forget fantasy series.
2 A main character that appeals to your readership and can stay the course. Their personal lives must engage but not dominate the narrative and there must always been that hook at the end of each book, which leaves the reader longing to know what will happen next.
3 Location and/or world is also crucial. The world of Harry Potter is so well known that words like “Muggles” have become part of our language. Parts of Ireland are visited purely because they provide settings for “Game of Thrones.” In both these cases readers have so identified with the narrative that what is purely fictional has become real and spawned its own reality.
Now at the moment, I’m not doing very well on any of these points. As far as the first is concerned, my novels are all standalone books and quite different in in structure and genre. “House of Shadows” is a time slip novel,
“Shadows on the Grass”, historical and “Picking up the Pieces” women’s fiction.
I do have a specific location for all of them, however, as they are all set in Bristol, so I suppose I’m half way towards point no 3.
And while I hope all my characters are engaging, their stories end with the end of the novel. So a complete failure as far as point 2 goes.
However, now that I know what I should be doing, I’m putting myself on the right track.
My children’s book “City of Secrets” is due out in October and will be the first of a series (1) for eight to twelve-year-olds about Letty Parker (2) and her friends, who will be solving mysteries in an alternative world Bristol (3)
Will this be a recipe for success?
Who knows, because one ingredient I haven’t yet discussed is the question of luck, but that’s for another blog.