Now that I'm publicly committed to trying to figure out how to write a bestseller, I've been thinking about how to go about it. When I first got published, I was targeting Harlequin Intrigue as I love romance and suspense and was a fan of a number of authors for the line. Once I had the goal: to be published by Intrigue, I came up with an action plan that looked something like this:
1. Read the best examples of the line. (Did this by purchasing all the Intrigues that received 4 or 4.5 star reviews from Romantic Magazine during the previous 12 months.)
2. Analyze for length, level of violence, level of sensuality, pacing etc.
3. Figure out a niche that current writers are not doing.
4. Write a story that fits that niche and submit. Basically, write something that fits in with the line, but has a new twist.
I pretty much followed this plan and the very first manuscript I submitted (SHADOW SOLDIER) received a contract. This was a huge revelation to me, let me tell you!! Previously, I wrote whatever I pleased and submitted it to every publisher I could find an address for. (Took me only 13 years of rejections to figure out this was no shortcut to success.) So what I took away from this little exercise is that planning really works.
So now, onto my latest quest. Seems like the first step is to figure out an action plan for writing a bestseller. I'm going to think deep thoughts on this and get back to you as soon as I have a draft plan. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.