We can all think of icons of pop music...Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna to name but a few, as well as movie stars John Wayne, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse etc...but how easy is it to name icons of crime/action fiction?
Well, of course there's Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan of the Apes...Uh, eh, I'm struggling here. There's big names, no doubt about it - Miss Marple, Poirot, Sam Spade etc - but I'm talking world-wide instantly recognisable figures of crime fiction. You only have to mention their name - often only part of it as in 'Elvis' - and everyone knows who you're talking about.
Well, wouldn't it be wonderful if your character became a world wide smash?
In the crime fiction and thriller market two characters that are fast becoming iconic are Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Robert Crais' Joe Pike.
You know your character is having a huge impact and creeping into the world's psyche when people start wanting to be like their hero. There are Reacher Creatures - a huge following of Jack Reacher fans - and there's a huge movement of people donning forward facing red arrows on their deltoids in respect of Joe Pike. That's when you know you're beginning to make a mark in people's minds.
Now, I'm a fan of both Reacher and Pike myself and one day hope to achieve even a small chunk of either character's success with Joe Hunter.
The thing is how to do that.
Keep writing books that people enjoy, I hear you say. True. I agree.
But there's got to be something else.
Choosing a pop/royalty analogy:
At the moment Reacher is 'The King', Joe Pike is 'Prince', while Joe Hunter is a robber baron trying to steal his way into the hearts and minds of the populace. Kind of like Cliff Richard (for US readers please insert Buddy Holly here) trying to take his crown alongside Elvis, if you get my drift.
For Joe to be allowed a throne alongside the big guys, it's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of battles to be won, before the winds of change push him into the collective consciousness. Maybe there only needs to be a swell of support, just like there was for Spartacus.
Maybe if all of Joe's fans stand up and proclaim to all their friends (i.e. via email, facebook, twitter etc) and say: 'I AM JOE HUNTER' then the world will ask 'Who Is Joe Hunter?' and then they will know.
How's about it?
"I AM JOE HUNTER!"
p.s. please take my final comments in the tongue in cheek manner in which I say them