Literature is a fascinating field, made up of a vast number of sub-categories and artistic divisions. We read, analyse and interpret words in different ways – depending on our cultural background and demographic belonging.
Ctrlz.no guides and helps artists within multiple fields, but our main focus is the written word. We promote and help writers publish their work through our chain of cooperating stores in Norway.
Here are some of our thoughts on literature and what it takes to succeed as a writer in the Norwegian/Scandinavian media landscape.
Writers should follow their gut instinct
What do we mean by telling writers to follow their gut instinct? Various things actually. Firstly, in order to achieve success within almost any field, one must have a keen interest in the subject. A writer rarely succeeds if he has no interest in the subject of his literary work.
This is cliché but nevertheless true. A writer who is true to his own ideas and vision, is more likely to be seen as both authentic and genuine.
Secondly, that also begs the question: How do we measure success? Is it merely expressed through the number of books sold, or how many languages it translates into?
Likely not. The answer is rather somewhere in between. Success is measured by the totality of many individual parameters. It includes:
- Artistic recognition.
- Sales numbers.
- Reviews from literary critics.
- World reach (including how many languages the work translates into).
- The writer’s own internal goals.
Who are the readers?
This is another important question, which should be answered before we determine the viability of a literary project. Commercial results are important, as they determine whether our publishing partners are willing to sell and promote the work.
An intrinsic part of the projects’ commercial viability also consists of knowing who our customers are. As we seek to learn more about the author’s prospective readers, we begin by classifying the sub-genre.
Note: There is no final blueprint that allows us to chart the financial success of a literary project. However, some researches have suggested that there are certain stylistic elements that serve as predictive indicators of success.
Determine the sub-genre
The «genre», is a categorical measurement of artistic composition. In other words, it tells us whether an artistic work belongs to music, literature, art or some other field. In this case we’re dealing with literature, and we need to determine what the sub genre is.
Some common sub-genres include: Crime, drama, family, science fiction and realism. Based on the sub-genre classification, we can extrapolate important sales numbers.
Digital versus written publications
It should be emphasized that an increasing number of Norwegians, buy and read literature on electronic devices. For that reason, we need to take a futuristic (and realistic) sales approach.
As we define our customers, we also learn more about their purchasing patterns, and whether not they’re inclined to read books in e-format. In very broad terms, we may say that readers under the age of 30 years, will purchase twice as many e-format books, as the older group.
Subjectivism is the way we see, read and interpret our surroundings. Norwegian readers will interpret a literary work in different ways.
An important part of the work we do at Ctrlz.no, is to try and understand the mechanism of subjective interpretation.
For example: Even if an author classifies his work as belonging to the sub-genre of realism, could it still be a miscategorization? How will the prospective reader be influenced by the categorization.