Editor’s note: We are re-posting an article originally published in 2014, one worth repeating in that it encourages visionary fiction readers and writers to take heart. Good works of visionary fiction can—and do—become word-of-mouth hits.
What if I were to tell you that one of the best selling books in history is visionary fiction?
Yep, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, one of the most widely read books in the world, is visionary fiction. And its rise from a flop in 1988 (with sales so dismal that the book was dropped by its publisher) to record-breaking best seller (sixty-five million copies sold and three hundred weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list) started before most readers had even heard of VF as a genre.
Seems genre doesn’t matter when it comes to bestsellerdom. Write a great story and readers won’t care. Anywhere.
The Alchemist is one of the most translated books by a living author. In fifty-six different languages! How’s that for international?
Limpid Visionary Fable
So how does a limpid little fable, deemed “more self-help than literature” by The New York Times, become such a phenomenon?
I mean, what’s the secret? How’d Coelho do it?
Is The Alchemist’s unparalleled success due to Coelho’s guerrilla marketing and kick-ass blog tours? How about the draw of sex? It worked for Fifty Shades of Grey. Or horror as in Misery? Or violence as in A Game of Thrones? Or maybe his accomplishment is due to celebrity support. We know that Oprah likes him, so that must be the answer.
Hold it. Not so fast.
Paulo Coelho says “no” … Continue reading