Best-selling books come from every different genre, every different subject, and from both fiction and non-fiction alike. But the most read books of all time are usually classic literature, or self-help books that make you rich.
And if this reality leaves your book idea out of the top 10 books to read before you die (before you even publish it), there's going to be a problem for your book sales from the start.
But you don't have to abandon your book ideas just because they don't immediately shout book bestseller. Because best-selling books have three other things in common too.
You just have to take a hard look at your manuscript and make sure that your writing incorporates all three of the things the best 100 must-read books of all time have in common. And you will have a bestseller too. One that is also very original.
So let's look at what these three things are (that the bestselling books of all time have in common) and how they can help you write one of the best 100 must-read books of all time as well.
#1. All Best-Selling Books Entertain.
The majority of readers will rush to buy a book because it is entertaining to read. This is in spite of what we, as writers, hope, dream, or want to be true. So your book will have to be entertaining if you want it to be one of the top 25 must-read books this year.
That’s it. There's nothing more to it.
So if you want to be in the top books of 2018, then your book has to be fun to read. Not lighthearted - but rather, hard to put down. A page-turner. And this is true no matter what genre you write.
Because reading is how readers spend their free time, and readers want to be entertained.
They need a break from life, which is why they read. They want to get away from life for awhile and your book is the spark that sets the wheels of their imagination in motion.
And as writers, that's what we need to give to them - a spark. Not just to make it on the Goodreads book club suggestions lists, but to intrigue a reader so much that they can't wait to read your next book. To go on that journey with you again.
Which doesn’t mean that you have to dumb down your writing, sell out, or pander to popular beliefs just to make it on the New York Times Best Books of 2018 list.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. Because readers also know pandering when they read it. And they also know authentic story telling. So if you want your book to make it onto any interesting top ten lists, then you will have to write some compelling prose.
Which bring us to the second thing all best-selling books have in common.
#2. All Best-Selling Books Educate.
Even if it’s a cheap romance novel or a salacious crime drama, as readers, we will learn something about a time period or a geographical location from the best-selling books we read. Something that we didn’t know before. Even if it's a little thing. And although children’s books are probably the best example of educating while entertaining, any adult who is reading also wants to feel like they are taking away something from any book they read. Which is why they go right to the top 10 adults book lists to find best-selling books to read.
This is because they want to be confident - when they share with their friends what they have learned in a recent book they have read. This is easier to do if that book is on one of the top ten list ideas on Pinterest. Really.
Because reading books from a top 100 must-read book list makes anyone feel educated and current. Even you.
In writing terms, educating readers means doing some research. If you will notice, you will find that all of the best books to read 2018 have an "Acknowledgements" page. This is the page where the author thanks the team of people that helped the book become one of the Barnes & Noble top sellers of the year. Their research team who did all the legwork.
Now, as a first-time writer, you will not have a team of research assistants to help you write one of the best-selling books of all time. But to write a book bestseller, you will have to add an educational aspect to it. Which means that you will have to do all the research yourself. And that takes time and inspiration.
Which leads us to the third thing that all best-selling books have in common.
#3. All Best-Selling Books Inspire.
Like we said before, best-selling books are the books that spark the imagination. They lead the reader to start thinking, “What if I could, too?”
That’s when they start telling their friends about your book. Because they’re excited about the possibilities. And this gets their friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family excited. And they all go out and buy the book that will inspire them to dream of better things.
Because they have to read it for themselves.
So as a writer, you have to imagine for yourself that someone will read your book, and then tell everyone they know about it. Especially on social media. And that your book is the most prolific book ever and that everyone has to buy it. So that everyone can collectively share the experience of your story.
And this is how new books make it onto the NY Times must-read books list. But you have to set out with the goal of writing a top 10 book before you start writing it. This is what writing best-selling books is all about.
Your Own Best-Selling Books.
So now we know. Your book will not only have to appeal to the reader as being entertaining (enhanced by its cover art, title) it also has to be enjoyable to read (page-turner). And at the same time, be enlightening (educational) for the average reader while it inspires them to dream of better things in their own life. And while this sounds like a tall order to fill, if you keep writing, you will eventually find your voice to accomplish this.
But here's the good news. You can keep your same subject matter, and keep writing what you feel about it. You just have to write your book so that it is entertaining, educational, and inspiring.
I know you can do it.
See also: https://brenthollister.blogspot.com/