In 2011, with electronic books starting to get published, a moderator on ‘Shooting People’ detailed how several of his e-books made it into Amazon’s Top Ten List. What’s more – within days, a film company optioned every one of his electronic book titles. Looking into why a production company would buy up his e-books without reading them he learnt that they feared missing out on the next great novel that could one day make into a film. Hence, why they were buying up pretty much everything that made the list.
In later posts, he detailed how a few of his novels became movies which meant (from a POV of his writing) that
1) he was ahead of the game
2) his stories were good
3) he caught the zeitgeist at the precise moment that made people want to buy and read his books.
Now while my long form writing extends only to a couple of childrens’ novels written 20 years ago, I admire those writers who can produce an 80,000 word novel. More than one, even better.
Why? Because this is what is required if you want to develop your audience and meet their insatiable desire to read your books. Which brings us onto the pros and cons of writing a novel.
- If you can write an entertaining 80,000 word novel you will attract interest from agents. If you can produce more, even better!
- Real opportunity to see your best selling novel on the shelves of bookshops.
- Possibilities that your novel will be picked up and become a bestseller and/or a film come out of it.
- This type of writing suits writers for whom engaging with the subject matter is a carthartic experience.
- Furbishes a life as a writer rather than other non-creative jobs that would be tedious.
- It takes a particular type of person to dedicate themselves to the task of writing an 80,000 novel.
- If commisioned, publishing companies will expect you to produce more novels within that genre (as that is what your audience expects).
- A published writer (on commission) might be expected to produce four books in order for the company to make a return on its investment.
- Being a novelist can be a lonely and frustrating existence at times.
- Hard to define what is writing time from family/own time.
- Unable to stop and write things you’d rather do when you are working towards an editor’s deadline.
- No guarantee that your novel will become a bestseller and that a movie will come out of it.
…the most important thing to remember
Writing is rewriting and great novels require lots of hard work and editing. It is not enough for them to be good – they have to be great!!! Not only must your voice be heard within the pages but the book must transport you and them into a world in which the consequence of non-participation is never considered. If you can achieve all this, then you are a novelist and a great storyteller who mystifies and weaves questions and dilemma into each reader’s mind.