If you are reading this there is a good chance that you too are a writer who one day aspires for greatness.
There are many ways of achieving greatness. You could do something so heinous that your name will be recorded in history forever, like Hitler or Stalin. I don’t recommend this. Or, you could be one of those beautiful people, say an Angelina Jolie perhaps. She also had talent, but you can’t deny that her looks helped bring her into the spotlight.
Or, you can be smart. This is what I’m terming the “Lady Gaga” approach. Sure, she is also attractive, but that’s not the point. It is how she has distinguished herself in the music world that has earned her massive popularity.
It’s all about figuring out what makes people turn their heads.For Lady Gaga, she’s combined the more bizarro elements of the fashion world with catchy pop music and a taste of naughty. This mix pulls in the majority of the general public like sheep. The fact that she is also a gifted performance artist seals the deal.
What catches the public’s attention in fiction? Rowling combined elements of magic, school, coming of age, and a dash of the fantastic to create Harry Potter. Meyer found success with teenage romance, hunky vampires, and life/death situations for the Twilight series. Brown discovered a huge appetite for religious conspiracy theories in the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.
All these authors brought very unique and fresh ideas to the table and found phenomenal success. And they are all very different.
What does this teach us? There is no magic formula for hitting it big. That said, it can never hurt to include elements in your work that the public is hungry for.