What Makes a Best-Selling Book?

Last night, I had a vivid dream about the “last unicorns” – it is a unique story, trust me; one you’ve never read before.  While dreaming, I knew that once I get the story down on paper, I would have a bestseller on my hands. I also knew that I would might forget things if I didn’t take notes, so I woke up to write the plot down. I was golden.

Then I woke up for real. I was dreaming when I “woke up” to write the story down. So much for my best-selling breakthrough novel that would put me in the league of Robert Jordan, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien (I do shoot for the starts, don’t I?).

I know you know exactly how I felt upon waking up. You’ve experienced it before – more times than you wanted.

C’est la vie.

Maybe one day, I’d actually get to grab on to those dreams and remember enough to write that book.

So, back to reality for now. We’re all dreaming about writing that bestseller, so why don’t we look at what makes a best-selling book?

I’m sure we all have our criteria based on our individual preferences and hard data. Using the former as a basis, it’s safe to say that the resulting “anatomy of a bestseller” won’t be accurate. With the latter, however, the results we get are as close to perfect as we can get.

But, who has the time to go through an acceptable statistical sample (I don’t even want to go there) and analyze the set to come up with the characteristics of a bestseller? Luckily, someone else has done the job, the results of which are summed up in a graphic.

The main factors are:

  • Content
    • length
    • number of words
    • punctuation marks!
    • protagonist
  • Genre
  • Where to publish
  • What format to publish

For all the details and numbers, take a look at the infographic below. It might just help you with your novel.

Characteristics of a bestseller

characteristics of a bestseller


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