Here’s the second part of our three-part “what we learned this year” series. This time around Brandon tells us the most important thing he learned this year. Summed up? Gimmicks cannot compensate for bad writing.
So… what’s a gimmick? We begin with hooks and pitches, but gimmicks can include things like photo-realistic cover art, internet grass-roots campaigns, and factoids like “the author is only 17 years old.” Story elements like cool magic systems, uniquely alien aliens, and diamond-hard science can all be gimmicks. They’re good to have, certainly, and they can work to sell the book, but real staying power (read: earning out your advance, and getting royalty checks for years to come) comes from good writing, page after page.
Brandon confesses to some gimmick use himself, but fortunately we (and many of his readers) believe that his writing is strong enough that we don’t begrudge him the gimmick one bit.
This week’s episode of Writing Excuses is brought to you again by the opportunity you have to sponsor Writing Excuses.
Writing Prompt: An author comes up with a wacky, crazy gimmick for a book… and then it happens to the author in real life.