Tuesday, 15 October 2013

So You Want To Be An Author

There is a saying in Iceland 'Everyone has a book in their stomach' and as every tenth Icelander is a published author, it is probably true for them but almost everybody i know has at some time considered, or have started, a novel.
Everybody thinks they have at least one novel in them but the whole process of writing a novel is long and laborious. I had a go once but my novel quickly became a novella and then a short story and then a forgotten couple of Word documents on a floppy disk which has long been recycled into milk cartons by now.
So if you did clear the decks to have a six month shot at writing a novel, whats the best genre to write?
The Harris Interactive report shows that out of every 10 books sold, 8 are fiction so you had better postpone that idea for your autobiography until you have a few books under your belt.
Of the fiction books sold 48% were Mystery, Thriller and Crime novels with the next popular genres being Science Fiction (28%) and Romance (21%).   
So there you are sat with a blank Word document and the cursor blinking at you and have a great idea to hit all the bases for what people like to read with a Romantic Crime Thriller set on the International Space Station but how long should it be?
Some of the greatest books ever written were not long books by any stretch. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is only 30,000 words, A Christmas Carol is under 29,000, The Great Gatsby 47,094, Of Mice and Men has 29,160 words, William Golding considered Lord of the Flies complete after 59,900 words and The War of the Worlds by HG Wells is only around 61,500 words long.
Six months later you emerge blinking from the bedroom with calloused fingertips and a classic 80,000 word novel saved to your desktop, what next?
According to Bowker Market Research, e-books accounted for 14% of books purchased last year, paperbacks for 41% of book sales while spending on hardcovers fell to 39%. With the proliferation of e-book readers, the digital media market is set to overtake sales of more traditional 'dead tree' methods.
You got your book and you decide to make your book available to download and a quick Google search reveals there is plenty of software available which allows you to publish your story directly to Kindles (Amazon sales 70% of all ebooks) so it's just a matter of sitting back and waiting for Hollywood to contact you to negotiate the film rights.     
Good luck and please note that if you have the idea for a romantic crime novel based on the International Space Station, it's already gone.

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