Picture a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles. One circle is what I like to write. The other is what readers want to read. The area of overlap is the sweet spot. A writer who is always writing in that zone will have commercial success (to some degree) and will be able to sustain a long career without burning out.
HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL THAT WILL SELL WELL AND SATISFY YOUR INNER ARTIST is meant to help writers find that sweet spot and stay there. Bingham is the author of popular thrillers. He’s also the founder of Jericho Writers, a company that offers editing services and author mentoring. In that capacity, he’s seen tons of manuscripts and met plenty of writers, and he’s formed strong opinions about what makes a marketable novel and how writers can best write one.
To that end, Bingham offers a comprehensive guide meant to take authors from pre-planning through finished manuscript. He starts with the concept. Bingham gives some tough love here, explaining why weak ideas won’t become strong novels. He encourages clear-sighted honesty, intense market study, and a love of contemporary fiction. Too many authors rely on books twenty or more years old as role models, forgetting that their competition is writing for today’s market. Bingham spends a lot of time on this, because it’s the foundation of everything that comes after.
The rest of the book takes the author through the steps to create a complete novel, covering character, plot, prose style, and theme. At every stage, Bingham encourages authors to be meticulous, making deliberate choices about everything on the page. This approach will work well for plotters, although it might strike discovery writers as too rigid.
Bingham reminds authors that they are competing in a tough market, and “good enough” is never good enough. He wants authors to strive for excellence in every aspect of their craft. He quotes passages from contemporary fiction, both literary and genre, and explains why these passages work so well. These breakdowns are great for those of us who learn best from examples, rather than theory, and the passages perfectly illustrate his points.
Bingham has an energetic style and considerable wit, although he name-drops his author services company way too often. There were times that I felt like I was reading an infomercial for Jericho Writers instead of a how-to book. But I was willing to overlook the salesmanship because the rest of the book was so good. HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL THAT WILL SELL WELL AND SATISFY YOUR INNER ARTIST is an excellent guide for those who want to level up their craft and sell more books without selling out.
HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL THAT WILL SELL WELL AND SATISFY YOUR INNER ARTIST can be found here
Rating: 4 stars
This book is best for: intermediate writers
I recommend this book