After analyzing the the New York Times Bestseller Lists from 2008 to 2016, a team of researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have discovered what makes a book a bestseller. If you want to become a bestselling author, read on to find out what you need to keep in mind.
General fiction and biographies are more likely to make the bestseller list than other genres. Additionally, books that have a higher initial spot on the list are more likely stay on the list for a longer amount of time. Although fiction sells more copies than nonfiction, nonfiction books are more likely to maintain their bestseller status once they make it onto the list. However, fiction authors are more likely to make it onto the list with subsequent books than nonfiction authors are. This is mostly because many fiction bestsellers tend to be smaller parts of larger, successful series, but the study also shows that nonfiction authors who write in a similar way, focusing on the same themes for each of their books, tend to have more bestsellers.
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Sales within the first ten weeks of a book’s release are particularly important as they predict the book’s long-term success. Holidays are also important since they influence the sales and relative success of books in comparison to the rest of the market, although increased sales do make it more difficult for any one book to stand out.
In regards to gender, bestselling romance novels are more likely to be written by women. The researchers could not find any gender gap for bestselling fiction authors, but nonfiction bestsellers are more likely to be written by men.
So if you are trying to write the next “Great American Novel,” remember to make it part of a series, release it around the holidays, really push those sales for the first ten weeks and maybe your book will be the next to reach the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. And if you would like to know more about the research, you can check it out here on Science Daily.
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