By Jenifr M’nchylde (author of “I nearly wrote a book once, it was really good but no one was brave enough to publish it”)
We all know that authors are the new pop stars. Every teenager wants to be the next Stephanie Meyer, or whoever it was who wrote “Fifty Shades of Gray”.
But how can YOU get that level of success? And more importantly, how can you do it FAST and without any boring “learning how to do it properly” kind of tedium?
Well, the answer is: You can’t. But let’s pretend you can, and any failure of the scheme is down to someone else being too selfish or shortsighted to recognise your genius!
Have you lowered your IQ and raised your expectations to “Unreasonably High”? Good, then let’s begin.
Step 1: Protagonist.
Yuck! A big word! Ignore it. Try this instead:
Heroine: With the “e” on the end, this means “Girl Hero”, and you’re going to need one! No one buys vapid books like teen girls who have been told it’s the “in” book of the week. Except maybe pseudo-intellectuals when the Booker Shortlist is announced. She needs to be feisty, tough, emotionally raw and red-haired. No, I don’t know what “emotionally raw” means, but cheer up, neither does anyone else. It’s best if she only has one parent. Doesn’t matter which, neither gender stands a chance of understanding her. Why? Because she’s EMOTIONALLY RAW! Pay attention!
Step 2: Plot
This really isn’t very important. I mean, yeah, if you want to write an actual STORY like the Harry Potter series, you might want some kind of actual, you know, character goals, antagonist aims, world building guidelines and conflicting ambitions… But if you’re interested in all that, you’re probably a geeky swot who’s actually going to PRACTISE writing, and develop your craft. So go do that. We’re making money here.
In this case, plot is just “How to get your girl hero to agonise over which boy to choose.” Does she have to fight for the hand of the Rich Boy, even though the Poor Boy Next Door is really hunky? Is she promised in marriage to her proud but shapely cousin, while the evil but seriously pumped stranger crashes into her life when his dirigible collides with her house? Whichever line you go with, the important thing to remember is that there must be two boys, each equally hunky, each with simultaneously no interest in our heroine and madly lusting after her at the same time. It goes without saying that the two boys can’t stand each other. They probably fight at some point. Maybe in the river, their shirts soaked, the wet material clinging to….sorry, where was I?
Step 3: Cover art
This is the most important part of the whole thing. You need the brooding boys on the cover, preferably stripped to the waist. Don’t worry if they never strip to the waist in the story (although, if they don’t, you’re really missing something…) Maybe a moon would be good, especially if you have a supernatural element to the story. Oh, and the title should be in shiny lettering. And just one word. Doesn’t have to be anything to do with the story. One word titles are cool.
Step 4: Selling!
You have a couple of options here. One is “Word of mouth”. Get everyone you know to buy the book and tell their friends it was great. This works really well if one of your friends is Oprah or someone else with their own tv show.
Another option is to buy reviews. There are some unscrupulous folks out there who will return great reviews for cash, but it’s not easy to find them. You may offend a few people on your quest to find ones who’ll take a bribe, but keep looking! This is the hard work part!
Of course, you could submit to a regular publisher and go through their process for new authors, but let’s not kid ourselves : If you were that kind of writer, you wouldn’t have been googling “How to write a YA novel in 30 days” in the first place.
Oh, and I nearly forgot!
Step 2.5: WRITING!
Sorry, yes, keep forgetting this bit. Somewhere along the line you’ll have to actually get some words down on paper about your girl hero, her red hair, the hunky boys and what happens to them. You don’t have to come up with a complete story, just set up some big thing, get the boys into a fight or two, and then leave everything hanging. Do that three or four times and you’ve got yourself a SERIES! You can round it off by having the girl cloned so there’s one for each boy, or if you’re a real downer type, flip a coin and kill off one of the boys.
But the key thing, as all writers know is hooking your reader on the first page. So success could come down to this one question : Are you a good hooker?
Tune in next week for my new blog post on subjects I know F**k all about: Brain Surgery! Make sure the colour of your scrubs goes with your eyes, because it’s all about looking good!
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NEW INTERNET GUIDELINES, I HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE IS SATIRE.