WRITING FICTION TO GET RICH
Copyright 2004, Michael LaRocca
Some of us write simply because we can't not write. Ideas grab us, move us, and demand to be written. We strive to make it as real as we possibly can, to improve at our craft every day, hopefully to make it into the realm of literature as well as entertainment. We want to craft an entire world where the places and people are so real that the reader doesn't feel like he's reading a book as much as he is going to another place. In the lofty world of literature that we strive for, the reader will still think about the book after reading that last page. It's our gift to the reader, something to take with him. Given sufficient skill, this can even happen long after we are dead.
Then we learn that doesn't sell. Oh, there are exceptions. Some novelists make a living by consistently writing quality literature. But, there are quite a few best sellers who have no such goals. They write for money, and they make it.
Even the writer who has written great literature has trouble marketing it that way. We have to look at our "target audience." Who will buy this book? Let me see, our heroine survived spousal abuse, so there's an audience. There's a suicide, so we can get the bereavement crowd. Where's the setting? We can get a local audience. The hero's a cop. Maybe the teen boys will go for that. Nah, too light on action. But there's a romance. Maybe we'll market to the romance readers. Give the hero bedroom eyes and pass him off as a romantic hero. Yeah, that might work.
But if you want to write to get rich, even that's not enough. Nah, the time to think about your reader is before you write the book, not after.
Throw in lots of gratuitous sex, preferably extramarital. One (and only one) character who flirts and is sorely tempted and walks away from "love" to remain true to his wife.
Use taboo words for shock value. Ram, hump, scream, oral sex, voluptuous, female orgasm (the great revelation). Make sure a lot of your leads enjoy sex. Horny women are a good way to pull in the readers you want. We all know men are horny, but most of your readers haven't discovered that some women enjoy sex too. Tell them this. Give the female readers a balm for their consciences and the male readers someone to dream about.
Your heroine should be tough, sweet, sensitive, and very horny, and has to think she's not attractive even though every guy in the book except her husband falls off his chair with a tent in his pants.
Don't let the length of a novel faze you. Just throw some people on the stage, move them around a bit, and get them into bed. Then, change the rules so they have to move around a bit again and get them back into bed. (It doesn't always have to be a bed. Office desks and car seats work too.) When the book's long enough, stop. Don't worry about the "climax," because people are climaxing all over the place.
Exotic locales. Foreign countries with beaches. Lots of rich people. Remember that you're writing for the lowest common denominator, because they spend most of the money that you're trying to reel in. Make it sleazy. No one ever went broke underestimating the public.
How to publish? To do it right, write the sales pitch before you write the book. Make sure the book follows the pitch and the formula. If your cover letter alone has eight typos, no problem. Nobody cares. The publisher will wanna rush this baby to print and get you, or an attractive stand-in, doing as many TV appearances as possible before the book reviewers have time to draw breath. Heck, your target market doesn't read book reviews anyway! Also keep in mind that once that reader buys your book, you've won. They won't get a refund just because you're illiterate. So don't worry about hiring an editor. Hire a publicist!
Think Hollywood. You want your book to become a movie. It doesn't have to be a good movie, because most of them aren't. It just has to sell, baby, sell! Write parts for all the hottest stars. True, today's hottest stars will have faded by the time they start filming your movie, but no matter. Someone just like them will replace them.
I've been doing it wrong for all these years. I started writing over 20 years ago, and the five books I have on the shelves are enough to make it a hobby that barely pays for itself. Meanwhile, I work at a job for my money. But if you follow my advice, you won't make the same mistakes I have. You'll get rich!
Michael LaRocca's website at http://freereads.topcities.com was chosen by WRITER'S DIGEST as one of The 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. He published two novels in 2002 and has two more scheduled for publication in 2004. He also works as an editor for an e-publisher. He teaches English at a university in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China, and publishes the free weekly newsletter Mad About Books.