World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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message 1: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1907 comments Best sellers: What produces best sellers? Are there any formulas apart from latent talent?


message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15696 comments Talent alone is not enough. Most bestsellers can be reverse-engineered to understand what and how worked, but rarely planned in advance. Maybe some of us have latent bestsellers on our hands and we just don't know-:)


message 3: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1907 comments Nik wrote: "Talent alone is not enough. Most bestsellers can be reverse-engineered to understand what and how worked, but rarely planned in advance. Maybe some of us have latent bestsellers on our hands and we..."

I thought so. Talent is a must surely but other factors are also at play. Although we may not always know what they are.


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11472 comments I think first genre is important. The best chance of writing a "good seller" is in romance, because apparently about 2/3 of the books sold are in that category, although of course there are subcategories.

The second is to have name recognition. Thus when J. K. Rowling wrote a thriller under a pseudonym, it languished. Then when the word leaked out that she wrote it, it took off. Some best-selling authors, after a couple of genuinely earned successes, can start simply cranking the handle, and they still sell very well. Stephen Hawking's "A brief history of time" was a a best seller, and I doubt many who bought it understood much of it.

Sorry, everyone. We ar win the wrong business.


message 5: by Mehreen (last edited Oct 06, 2016 04:41PM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1907 comments Ian wrote: "I think first genre is important. The best chance of writing a "good seller" is in romance, because apparently about 2/3 of the books sold are in that category, although of course there are subcate..."

I am not too fond of Rowling but I have bought Hawking's book. And yes, you are right there is no rhyme or reason. i often wondered how his book became a best seller when I compared it against Rowling's. I can understand the latter becoming a best seller but not the former, which is too academic for the mass in my view.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15696 comments Ian wrote: "Sorry, everyone. We ar win the wrong business...."

But maybe in the right pleasure? -:)


message 7: by Frank (new)

Frank Ryan (frankryan) | 14 comments As someone who has written bestsellers in both fiction and non-fiction, I have never used any kind of formula. Nor have ever written a book just in the hope of writing a bestseller. I can't say that doesn't work - think Fifty Shades . . . But in my case the books that have become bestsellers were books with powerful central themes that truly, madly, deeply interested me. I researched the themes thoroughly and I wrote them as clearly, literately and entertainingly as I possibly could.

I hope this helps.


message 8: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1907 comments Frank wrote: "As someone who has written bestsellers in both fiction and non-fiction, I have never used any kind of formula. Nor have ever written a book just in the hope of writing a bestseller. I can't say tha..."

What worked for you might not work for another writer although it maybe written in the same spirit. Most writers put effort in their work; why else would they write?


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