So you want to be a famous author but your writing experience does not extend beyond the love letter that you wrote on Valentine’s Day for your 5th grade crush? Unfortunately, you’re out of luck. With publishers becoming pickier as time goes on, outstanding writing ability is absolutely necessary to earn a book deal. I mean, you can’t become a best-selling author when you don’t even know how to write, right? You can’t join the ranks of literary geniuses without understanding the basic principles of the English language, right?
Wrong. As much as I hate to say it, becoming a famous author nowadays has no writing prerequisites. (Twenty bucks says we should be expecting an autobiography from Snookie’s daughter in a matter of weeks titled Baby Behind Bars: The Hardships of Crib Life.) In fact, becoming a famous author can be achieved through a number of very simple methods.
During an interview, when asked why she did not use her full name for her books, Joanne Rowling answered that her publishers were afraid boys would not want to read a book by a girl. So instead, she adopted a pen name, J.K. Rowling, and ultimately went on to become one of the best-selling authors of all time.
Now, I find no coincidence between an author’s popularity and their initials. J.K. Rowling. C.S. Lewis. J.R.R. Tolkien. J.D. Salinger. R.L. Stine (if you were about to protest this member of the list, I dare you to read a Goosebumps book, in the dark, by yourself, at the age of 10 and come back without shaking). If you’re thinking of becoming a famous author, throw initials into your pen name and you might as well collect your first million up front.
I don’t judge a book by its cover; I judge it by its title. If you collect every book that has ever been popular, you will find that most of them include one or more of the following words:
1) Death/Love (Ex. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Death and Love are humanity’s two greatest obsessions. Stick one of them in the title of your book and you’ll immediately attract mothers over the age of 45 and preteens under age 16.
2) Adventures (Ex. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
The word “adventures” is the English language equivalent of an ice cream truck insofar as it attracts children of all ages whenever it is mentioned.
3) Time (Ex. A Wrinkle in Time)
(Probably) True Fact: 90% of quotes on peoples’ Facebook pages are about time. That has to mean something…
4) The (Ex. The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings)
This one may seem stupid but the word “the” can hold a strong significance when it comes to titles. It is not just “Hunger Games.” It is “THE Hunger Games,” the one and the only, the game of all games. Adding “the” to the beginning of a book title adds the element of originality that naturally lures in curiosity.
5) Colors (Ex. Clifford the Big Red Dog)
The Scarlet Letter. Harold and the Purple Crayon. The Red Badge of Courage. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Maybe people like to balance out the blandness of black ink on a white page with the inclusion of a color in the title. I don’t really know, but it works.
Interesting Book Cover
Book covers are like makeup in the literary world. They help draw in outsiders by creating an aesthetic appeal. Then, once the reader and the book get to know each other better, the reader begins to fall in love with the book, cover or no cover, and decides to start a little book family, complete with a pet bookworm named Libro, and they all live happily ever after. In order for this formula to work, book covers must be the perfect combination of mysterious and thought-provoking. Silhouettes of unknown figures or black and white pictures of clocks can usually satisfy this requirement.
Original Character Names
You never see a popular book whose main character’s name is John and for good reasons. Giving your character an original name allows people to reference them in pop culture. Imagine Alex Trebek announcing a question in a game of Jeopardy. “This book’s main character is named John.” Blank stares. Try again with a creative name. “This book’s main character is named Frodo.” See the difference? Here are some more examples to further prove my point:
- Holden Caulfield
– Atticus Finch
- Hermione Granger
- Winnie the Pooh
If all goes well, your book should end up selling copies faster than a new Zac Efron movie sells tickets. I’ve provided you with an example of what my book would look like under these rules to give you the basic idea:
You don’t have to be a good writer to become a famous author. In fact, you don’t have to write anything at all. Slap a creative cover onto your collection of 5th grade poems discussing how cute Tommy Johnson was during his show and tell presentation and you could be a popular novelist in no time. (But remember to change Tommy’s name before you publish it. Sir Timmitho would be much more memorable.)
Featured image via Canmag.com. Imaginary book cover via my Facebook page.