A Vital Point To Consider If You're Trying To Get Published: Part 8

Such a lot of the emphasis about ‘succeeding’ as a writer these days is on the marketing aspect. Many writers, probably the majority, believe that their failure to be instant overnight successes lies in the field of marketing: they’ve written something, they’ve published or self-published it, and nothing has happened — it must be because there is something missing in the marketing.

Of course there are a lot of misunderstandings about marketing and I’ve written extensively about that elsewhere — but the primary error in this thinking is that for a book to succeed, it must first have certain things in place which are guaranteed to attract the attention of readers. That comes before marketing.

No point advertising and delivering a pizza which is made of cardboard — if you want to make a success of the pizza business, the first thing to do is make sure that you make a good pizza.

It’s the same with fiction: if you want to succeed as an author, write lots of good stories. And by good stories, I mean —as we have been learning — stories with thematic elements.

Identifying Your Own Thematic Elements

‘But I just write stuff!’ say many of you at this point. ‘I don’t know anything about “theme”.’

In the last article in this series, I gave examples of the most powerful and the most common themes to be found in fiction: Survival, Peace and War, Love, Good and Evil are just a few of the themes that are out there. Racism, Injustice, Human Folly, Ambition, Pride — the list is potentially endless, except that it is defined somewhat by the human condition. Readers are interested in the Big Picture, whether they consciously admit it or not. If you write a story the theme