Monday, April 13, 2015

The Million Dollar Novel

Ever hear of someone who wins in a state lottery? I have.  A couple from Indiana I knew won five million. They bought matching shirts and matching Cadillacs. White. They didn't change much but they were rich. Now there is the million dollar novel. In the industry they call it seven figures. Someone just got a seven figure advance. Someone just won the lotto. In a time when advances are going by the wayside this is nothing short of amazing.

So what is in the million dollar novel? A story of two half sisters in eighteenth century Ghana who don't know about each other. Sweeping. Epic. So if I wrote about two half brothers who didn't know each other in say seventeenth century Ghana I would get a million bucks? Ok. Maybe not. Maybe the writing is so unbelievable that the publisher just couldn't contain them self and the agent who sold it at William Morris knew he had a million dollar novel and it was all just a foregone conclusion

But what about the other writers who are writing about half sisters or half brothers in eighteenth century Ghana. They are out there. Actually it was out there a  long time ago in the Color Purple. Two sisters who lose contact and then find each other. But somewhere someone has written another sweeping saga of two sisters who don't know about each other until they do. And it is well written and well researched. And it will never see the light of day.

You can not quantify the million dollar novel. It is as capricious as the lottery and the couple from Indiana who won the five million. One novel gets rejected out of hand and one gets a million dollars. They could easily be the same novel. Many times they are.
Jack Pine...

Books by William Hazelgrove