Tuesday, July 6, 2010


While trying to come up with a plan on how to write a bestseller, I realized that I have some decisions to make. First off, what do I want to write? I read just about anything. I also enjoy writing just about anything. So far, I've written: inspirational romance, historical fiction, epic fantasy, single title romance, women's fiction, urban fantasy, romantic fantasy and romantic suspense and series romantic suspense. Out of all of this, series romantic suspense was all I ever published. Thing is, once you publish something, the publisher puts money into promoting your name in that genre and they want to keep you publishing in that genre to get the most bang for their promotional buck. Also, you'll develop a readership in that genre and they'll be expecting your next book, and sometimes they don't like it at all if they get something other than what they expect. Speaking in generalities, the best way to increase sale numbers is to pick a genre and stick with it.

I've been writing romantic suspense so that would seem to be the easiest path. However, writing romantic suspense long-term can be difficult. It might take a reader a few hours to read my book, but I spend months writing it. That means many hours per day spent in the head of a serial killer or terrorist mastermind, visualizing torture and murder in great 3D detail so I can write about it in a way that the reader feels "right there." For that, I have to feel "right there." For one of my books, I spent almost a week reading autopsy reports. Not the funnest week I head. I've written 25 romantic suspense novels in the last 7 years. I love writing them and love the publisher I write for, but I'd be lying if said I never wished for something lighter. Sometimes I catch myself with a huge frown and all my muscles tense as I write. It's hard to be in that frame of mind day after day.

So other than Intrigues, here is what I like the most:

Urban Fantasy: Because anything goes. Magic is possible. No idea is too far out there.
Women's Fiction: Because it touches my heart. I love books written by women for women. It's like having a long talk with a friend.

Of course, Urban Fantasy is the great trend right now. Werewolves and vampires everywhere! I'm just afraid that with my luck, by the time I wrote one, the trend will be over :-)

Decisions, decisions...

Of course, if writing a bestseller was easy, everyone would be doing it.


Paula said...

Funny that I stumble across your post this morning just as I was brainstorming a single title idea with my critique partner.

I'm contracted through 2011 with Intrigue, so I'm not in any position to stop what I'm writing now and start working on a bestseller with you, but I'll be thinking about my idea and watch this space to see what you're doing. Good luck!

heidi ruby miller said...

I completely understand about wanting to write something a little lighter.

I'm revising a thriller right now and wonder why all of my work takes a turn toward violence. You see, I'm not particularly fond of violence, yet it creeps into everything that I write, even the SF novel I did for my thesis.

As for the bestseller formula, please remember to send that to me as soon as you work it out.

;) Heidi

Dana Marton said...

Paula--Good luck with the brainstorming. Let me know how it goes. What genre?

Heidi--I do love a good thriller!! I tend to turn that way automatically, too. (Which is why I need a break.) What's your new book about?

heidi ruby miller said...

Secret Cold War codes hidden in Frank Lloyd Wright blueprints that show the location of two atomic bombs missing for half a century. And everybody wants them.

Dana Marton said...

LOVE it!!! And you already have the perfect one sentence pitch! :-)

Paula said...

I know it'll be suspense/mystery. But I'm thinking about having a substantial thread of black humor in it, since I love quirky humor in suspense settings and haven't really been able to explore that in Intrigues.

I'm from Alabama and I love writing southern characters, so I'll go with a southern setting and southern characters. And probably blue collar/working class/borderline-redneck protagonists, because, well, write what you know. ;)

Beyond that, I'm still percolating.

Dana Marton said...

Paula, you got me already! I love Southern settings and black humor! I'll be your biggest fan. Well, I'm already your biggest fan :-)