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  1. preheated.blanket
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    preheated.blanket New Member

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    What makes a fiction best seller?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by preheated.blanket, Nov 18, 2008.

    The question of what makes a best seller has always peaked my curiousity. And I'm not talking about best sellers that are famous just because the authors are well known I'm talking about best-sellers with books that seemed to come out of nowhere like the Harry Potter series, Eragon, Angels and Demons, etc. Also how does a book like Twilight become a best-seller? Not that it's 100% horrible or anything, it just seems like the only thing it has going for it is good looking men. All opinions would be appreciated, thankyou!:D
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes marketing is a factor. That's one of the reasons Harry Potter and Eragon sold as well as they did in the beginning. Star Wars novels have been bestsellers, too, so having something familiar about them, or relevant to current events, helps. Other than that, nobody can predict what will make a best-seller.
     
  3. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    The Da Vinci Code was also helped by its controversial topic, and it caused the other Dan Brown books like Angels and Demons to sell more a while after they were published.
     
  4. blankdraft
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    blankdraft Member

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    the characters of the settings
     
  5. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    If we knew the answer to that question we'd all be very rich people! :D

    Bestsellers are made by reaching people that didn't even know they were waiting for something - so basically a gap in the market.

    Harry Potter = gap in chidlren's market, Eragon = gap left after potter and in a now ravenous audience, Twilight = gap in the teenage girls market (always a ravenous but picky crowd).

    Half the time though the question is: what is exactly right to fill the gap and where exactly are they? Bestsellers are a by product mostly.

    That's my opinion anyway. :)
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Often, it comes down to who happens to notice it. Ian Fleming's James Bond series might have remained relatively obscure, had not President John F. Kennedy mentioned to a reporter that they were a guilty pleasure of his.

    Other books have been discovered by Oprah, been featured on the Today Show, or otherwise brought to public attention, just depending on who spotted it in a bookstore, bought it, and liked it. And much of that, apart from luck, has already been summed up in a word: marketing.
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Cog...bestsellers are not "born" as Bestsellers. They are "made" by word of mouth and marketing. Of course, there is also some manipulation of "Best seller lists" by people in the industry, but ultimately, word-of-mouth is the biggest difference between obscurity and fame.
     
  8. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I would have to agree with the marketing answers. I don't think it takes a very great book to be a best seller, it just takes good marketing and releasing the book in the right place and time.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Of course, what REALLY makes a fiction best seller is:










    Lots and lots of people buying it! :D
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!

    the bottom line is that nobody can set out to write a best-seller... just as with 'literary' works, a book can only qualify for the label after it's published... in the first instance, sales make it so and in the second, the critics do...
     
  11. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mass appeal.

    That happens when you've got a storyline and characters that readers become obsessed with because it fulfills a longing, a fantasy of some sort.
     
  12. preheated.blanket
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    preheated.blanket New Member

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    Thanks everyone, you comments have been really insightful and helpful, I definantly just learned some things about the whole writing business I didn't know before :D
     
  13. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm... it's odd though, the books that are wildly popular also happen to be the best books I've ever read. I often wonder if there's some psychological element to this, that is, is my mind inflating the story with boundless merit because I know that it's sold over fifty million copies.

    Or is it that very same greatness I see in them, that makes these books so popular. I don't know...it seems rather coincidental, that I've never found any book that contends with Harry Potter in the fantasy genre, nor a book to rival The Da Vinci Code in any other genre (especially since I'm not a dungeons and dragons-addicted twelve-year old, nor some conspiracy-hunting Evangelist.)

    Am I a product of the marketing?

    or

    Is the marketing a product of me? (and millions of people like me)
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a bit of both, joker... those two examples will never go down in history as either fine writing, or great literature, but will surely be in the record books in re sales...
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The thing about Harry Potter, as much as I love and respect children, kids do not have the skills to judge high quality literature. They're fairly good, if not great, books, and fun story-telling. That's what they know and care about.
     
  16. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I think it has to do with advertising. DaVinci code had great advertising, that is, the controversy and news coverage because of that. Word of mouth advertising was a big help also.

    If the book is enjoyable any exposer, any form of advertising will get more people to read it. Twilight became so popular mainly do to word of mouth advertising. People really enjoy reading it, and told their friends.
     
  17. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    Luck.
     
  18. flashgordon
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    flashgordon Contributing Member

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    Money, marketing, and promotion.

    Writing is way down on the list as to what makes a bestseller. Read some of the "bestseller" books that come out these days, and you would have to wonder what made it a bestseller - not the writing or the plot.
     
  19. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    That certain something, that charm. As it was previously said, I think it is for the longing of something. Take Harry Potter for instance, a boy selected for an academy for wizards, who fights a Dark Lord and flies in a broomstick? I mean, I defy you to tell me you've read Harry Potter and never imagined once that that happened to you! Or the Twilight Series, most of my female friends are obssesed with Edward Cullen! He appeals them because he has no flaws (I didn't see one in the movie... Never read the books though).
     
  20. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    As far as I see it, its not about the quality of writing (which is more a requisite to get published than to get popular) but the entertainment. Entertain your audience, and they'll spread the word. Its all about keeping the pages turning.
     
  21. MixedBeauty92
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    MixedBeauty92 New Member

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    Books

    Books which are fiction to me become best sellers have a great story. The plot is unique the characters and every part of the story seems to connect and its something new each year Some may think not but most people have similar taste. If you have something different become a bestseller it opens the door for common pieces too
     
  22. eclecticism7
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    eclecticism7 New Member

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    Which is how Twilight got on the bestseller list. I know a whole bunch of people who are obsessed with it, and that always turns me off, but if you have one goofy girl who reads it, and tells her goofy girl friends about then they tell all of their goofy girl friends about it...well, you get the picture. And it doesn't even have to be good for a lot of people to like it. Same with Harry Potter. It was decently written, but mostly it was just a topic that happened to pique interest.
     
  23. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    What makes a fiction best seller? I do! Or, at least, I will. Someday. Probably someday several years from now, but someday. Yeah.
     
  24. ManicParroT
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    Seconding the marketing response, but also, relative accessibility.

    You need a book that lots of people can read and enjoy because it isn't too complicated for them. Make it too high brow and it will fail.

    Failing that, you need it to go on Oprah's Book Club, so that millions of house wives buy it to put on the coffee table so that they can pretend they've read it when their friends come round, but really they just looked at the jacket and then turned the telly on for the latest episode of Desperate Housewives.
     
  25. Shrimpbot
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    Shrimpbot New Member

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    Honestly this is something that has always made me wonder, too. I feel like it's a book that whoever your writing to (teens, children, adults) needs to feel immersed. They need to have that whole "just 10 more pages, then I'll put the book down" sort of thing.

    Also, I feel like it's a bit of writing so they understand. As a teen, I know more than one person who has used sparknotes because they thought the book was 'too hard to read', so writing that your audience can understand is crucial too. But mainly, just getting lucky and having someone famous pick it up and tell there friends =D
     

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