If you'll remember, we were about to share the secrets behind writing a best-selling novel. They weren't our secrets, though. These tips come from the giant brain known as Dean Koontz. And he should know how to write a best-selling novel since he's written so many of them.
Random interruption here: Did you know that Amazon has a list of their top 100-selling authors? Yes, you probably did, you probably go -- here -- all the time, but it was new to us. Going over the list, we see that DK is currently clocking in at #63, which seems a little low to us. James Patterson is #1 in the rankings (not in our house, no, but we've only read part of one of his books and we're not even sure he wrote it. It was credited to JAMES PATTERSON and Maxine Paetro and it was a big best-seller. The novel might have gotten better and better as it went along but we bailed at Chapter Five and never looked back). Stephen King is #23 -- we love us some King -- with J.D. Robb at #25, and considering how many J.D. Robb books we're seeing lately, we'd have thought she'd have cracked the Top Ten easily.
End of random interruption.
Before we were going to share Dean's secrets, we needed to know if the book was still in print. It isn't but, if you have a spare C-note, you'll find copies -- here -- and on Amazon. Even though we spent much less on our volume (25¢), at least your hardback will come with a only slightly torn dust jacket.
We wish ours had a dust jacket. We'd be eBaying the thing tomorrow.
Since it's jacket-less, and since our friends are generally fairly broke, we'll share a chunk of its wisdom with you. Even though it was written in 1981, it's still filled with some strong advice. To begin with, remember when we ranted that a writer could be fast or good but shouldn't count on being fast and good? As it turns out, that's just us. During his six years as a full-time novelist, Dean wrote quickly in an attempt to establish a sound financial base. He wrote bunches of everything, including porn. Sitting at the typewriter each and every day of the week, he was able to produce a series of Gothic romance novels. Each one took him about a week.
It took us three months to do a Young Adult work-for-hire manuscript that was, we'd guess, at least 10,000 words shorter. Young Dean was a stud. He wasn't the only one, though. With a little bit of investigation, we discovered that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote 413,000 words of published fiction in 1913 alone. John D. MacDonald, one of Harrell's favorite authors, said he completed 800,000 words of "typed manuscript" in FOUR MONTHS.
He tapped out more words than many writers will produce in their entire lives. How did he do it? "I worked twelve and fourteen hours a day, seven days a week." (This from Maybe You Should Write a Book by Ralph Daigh, also out-of-print and currently available, used, for a penny. Worth it, too.)
The takeaway from today's "How to write a best-seller" workshop? Put butt in chair. Keep it there and work. Hit the keys until your fingers bleed.
We never said it would be easy. (Well, yes, last week we said it would be easy. You can't live in the past.)
Quote for the day: “I think it is important to have goals in life, as long as you understand that achieving those goals will not make you happy” – Joe Queenan