Even if it is only a daydream, every author dreams of writing a bestseller. Audiences would actually listen to the author’s opinions, ask for advice and there would be requests to give speeches. Everyone knows that it is roughly one in a million chance to make it. Unless there was a formula for bestsellers. Large British bookstore chain Waterstones has analyzed 100 bestseller books in order to decipher what made them successes.
Altogether, Waterstones analyzed 100 fiction books. They picked 10 books from the last 10 years. Two genres dominated the lists:
1. 35% of bestsellers are thrillers.
2. 33% of bestsellers are contemporary fiction.
Despite the huge media attention young adult and erotica/romance books have raised during the last few years, they are far behind thrillers, crime and contemporary fiction in sales.
Waterstones discovered that an author must be patient (as everyone who has tried to publish her first book via a traditional publisher knows). We might even say that practice produces a bestseller. The sweet spot for authors to make it big seems to be their 13th book.
A surprising point in Waterstones’ analysis is that the bestseller title doesn’t include verb at all. Here is the bestseller formula infographic from Waterstones.
What about nonfiction books, what makes a nonfiction bestseller? That’s easy to answer: the book contains so valuable information that people are willing to pay for it.