I was browsing through the BBC website when I saw an article on how authors become mega-brands. I am obviously very, very far away from becoming a mega-brand with millions of sales and adoring fans – I mean, even my (Greek) mom can’t read my (English) books, so I’m at a clear disadvantage here. Still, I isolated the following four tips, and thought I’d share (you know, for future reference):
It’s good to write in many different genres, from children’s books to fiction to non-fiction. I initially thought this was counter-intuitive, mainly because I believed that focusing on one genre, it’s easier to get the aforementioned adoring fans. But if it’s good enough for John Grisham (apparently, he’s written children’s books, too), it’s good enough for me. Watch this space for further info into my upcoming children’s book series.
Gender bias? What gender bias?
Despite the recent SFWA kerfuffle, gender is not a factor. Since I never expected it to be, I was not surprised. If anything, I always felt that women have an advantage since, traditionally, they have been culturally encouraged to express themselves.
Keep it in the family
No, that doesn’t mean you should convert your family into an authoring sweatshop, although it could be interesting if every member of the family did write (you can just picture those dinner conversations, right?).
The concept rather reminds me of this game I used to play when I was younger (you know, back when the dinosaurs roaming outside meant we were stuck in our caves). You were given a piece of paper, wrote a noun, then passed it on to the next person, who had to write a verb (naturally, without seeing your noun). The next one wrote an adjective, the following one a secondary sentence, until, in the end, you were left with a full sentence that was completely surreal.
In the same way, but, hopefully, with less hilarious results, it’s good to distribute tasks among the whole family: finances, website construction, writing blogs, keeping up with Twitter, answering to fans… Being a mega-brand can be time consuming (or so I hear), so keeping it in the family could be quite handy (and cheap!)
Use mass media
The article cites the example of George RR Martin who wrote the books, but only became a mega-brand through television. Obviously, I would love to reach television stardom, but I think that I am quite far off at this moment. Radio, though? It works for many of the authors in my circle, with good results.
So, how about us?
Even if the tips above are meant for famous authors, they hold true for us newbies, too: don’t be afraid to try different genres that widen your creative horizons, don’t worry about gender bias, try to find help and support from loving people around you (usually your family), go on radio interviews. And, of course, by the time you have reached television recognition, write interesting articles about how you achieved it!