Popularity equates to the New York Times’ Best Seller List

I recently got a response from a reader who was disappointed that “The Rest of the Story: Delia Owens and Where the Crawdads Sing,” didn’t discuss what made the book so wildly popular. That comment made me wonder: What factors make a book skyrocket to success? What is it about certain books that make them popular?

Is there research that might help writers understand the essential traits of a popular book? Can data help writers get to the elusive and much-desired bestseller list?

The term “bestseller” originated with a guy named Charles Reade, an English writer who was extremely popular and prolific in the mid-1800s, but who we’ve never even heard of today. John Sutherland, a literary critic, suggested that we don’t know about Charles Reade now because he’s the perfect example of the idea that a “Bestseller” is temporary. Bestsellers are simply “a snapshot of an age.” Here today and gone tomorrow.

First, you might want to know what, exactly, is the definition of “bestseller”?

A bestseller is defined as a book that sells 5,000 or more diverse sales in a week. The term “diverse” means that the sales have to have come from multiple sources. In other words, you can’t sell five thousand books to your loyal fans on your private website. The sales have to come from a number of vendors.

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Can Data Help Your Book Shoot to the Top?
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