Jodie Archer

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in The United Kingdom
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Jodie Archer spent her childhood hiding in the changing rooms of the clothing stores her mother managed: she would pile sweaters all over the floor to look as though she were putting together an outfit, and would sit for the 8 hours the shops were open and read books in any genre she was allowed. At this age, she decided the only sensible profession in the world was to be a writer, but sensible people told her that it was not sensible at all to pursue such an unlikely dream.

In pursuit of plan B, she was, for a while, a (not very good) young actress. She would take the parts of the characters and even writers she was most interested in--Alice in Wonderland, Matilda, Charlotte Bronte (which is when she most spectacularly forgot her lines), an
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Jodie Archer Matt and I thought about it while we were writing--we we keen to see what readers liked and disliked in the books the algo recommends. But one reader,…moreMatt and I thought about it while we were writing--we we keen to see what readers liked and disliked in the books the algo recommends. But one reader, Roberta Gibson, beat us to it. She has just launched a Bestseller Code inspired book club. Join in! http://blog.robertagibsonwrites.com/2...(less)
Jodie Archer Well, we are getting that question a lot from the UK, and the answer there is that the model was trained for the US lists, specifically the NYT list. …moreWell, we are getting that question a lot from the UK, and the answer there is that the model was trained for the US lists, specifically the NYT list. The model captures something like national mass taste, and in the UK of course that taste is a little bit different. There the exemplary novel may have been another commercial but not quite genre novel, perhaps Room. It would be interesting to do the research. In the US, Eggers certainly did hit the lists and keep his place there for several weeks. So the selection was not a failure at all on its own terms.
Beyond that though, the paradigmatic novel is not meant to mean "the best bestseller" in terms of units sold. Instead it means a novel to read to learn more about how characterization, plotline, theme and style (all the areas we discuss in The Bestseller Code) go together in an exemplary way for today's mass audience. The top 100 novels list at the end of our book gives other books that were just a fraction of a percentage point off this sweet spot. If a writer or reader read a few of them in a row, they'd start to feel the latent DNA of bestselling, regardless of genre.(less)
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Get your manuscript analyzed

Thanks to readers for so many thoughtful letters about The Bestseller Code. It is great to hear writers tell us they are feeling much more hopeful and positive about how to create a successful manuscript. We have been inundated with requests for analysis of your manuscripts. At the current time, we are not offering this service widely, but Macmillan is running a promotion until Oct 15th. One write Read more of this blog post »
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Published on October 12, 2016 17:07 Tags: the-bestseller-code
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“Back in the spring of 2010, Stieg Larsson’s agent was having a good day.”
Jodie Archer, The Bestseller Code

“They insisted that the pleasure of reading is not necessarily just about providing pleasure to the mind, but to the heart, the emotions, the body and – for those who believe in these things- the soul. The problem is that this kind of appreciation of literature has been shrouded in embarrassment and shame for a long time”
Jodie Archer, The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of a Blockbuster Novel

“We investigated this a little further, and found an interesting pattern across all our bestselling books, beyond just Steel and Grisham. It turns out that successful authors consistently give that sweet spot of 30 percent to just one or two topics, whereas non-bestselling writers try to squeeze in more ideas. To reach a third of the book, a lesser-selling author uses at least three and often more topics. To get to 40 percent of the average novel, a bestseller uses only four topics. A non-bestseller, on average, uses six. While this may sound like a lot of numbers, the effect on your reading experience and the cohesion of a satisfying narrative is quite significant. Telling the heart of a story with fewer topics implies focus. It implies lack of unneeded subplots. It implies a more organized and precise writerly mind. It implies experience. We tested this finding with two of our friends—an agent and a novelist. Both told us that they had, through a series of painful rejections from publishing houses, come to the theory that new writers start out too ambitious. They said such writers tend to favor the approach of telling a complex situation from all angles, which will entail many topics. Writers are observers, and it is natural for them to want to share all that they have observed about the human condition. While writing such a topic-rich novel can be a very satisfying intellectual endeavor, the market tends to reject it. It’s too much in a 350-page experience. Focus that brings both depth and a story that can be easily followed is the preference—topics in fiction are not meant to amount to an encyclopedia. They serve as the underlying linchpins for character and emotional experience and are meant to overshadow neither.”
Jodie Archer, The Bestseller Code

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