Did that headline get your attention? Did you instant click in to read the rest of the post? Or did you scoff, throwing your hands in the air, saying “there is no formula to a bestseller.”
When I read the PW Weekly article, What Makes a Bestseller? Two SMP Authors Say They Know the Formula. I opted for number 2. Not literary, you weirdo.
Then I read more. Could it be true? It looks like they did the research, reading and studying over 20,000 manuscripts.
The formula (according to the research provided in the PW article):
- Three acts
- Everyday language
- Show don’t tell
I bet you read the above, and thought, like I did, crap. I already know this. It’s the advice of every writing instructor. Of every workshop. Of every writer I know. Find me a writer that doesn’t believe in everyday language, and I’ll show you a reader who fades into obscurity. Sure, the article uses bigger words and is written by people who’ve actually hit the bestseller list by using that formula, but the content is the same.
This is nothing new to us.
So why aren’t I a bestseller?
Because NOT every book can be, whether it follows this formula or not. There is something to be said for luck in our business. It’s who you know, and when. So let me add to this formula, two things. Write more. And know the players. Be they agents, editors, or book reviewers. Know the game as well. Know how to publish.
See you on the bestseller list. Remember who gave you the formula to get there. No, it was me. Not the PW article. Dang it!
Do you have other means of hitting the lists?