When a novel becomes a bestseller it is sometimes as much of a mystery to the publisher as it is to the author. While some books have a strong clear push from the powers that be, occasionally a book catches the wind in its sails and makes its ascent for reasons unknown.
I asked a collection of bestselling authors to select their best selling novel, and try (if possible) to account for the success of the book. I had hoped to find clear (reproducible) patterns, but not only were the answers varied, the authors often qualified their replies with disclaimers about being unsure. Here, in no particular order, are their responses.
ORPHAN TRAIN, Christina Baker Kline
- It’s a little-known but significant story about American history that has been hidden in plain sight.
- It parallels an interesting historical moment with a current-day story that is both surprisingly similar and different in significant ways — lots to talk about.
- It’s an emotionally charged story, but the prose style is spare and unsentimental.
THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATENESS, Simon Van Booy
- Radio and Blog Coverage, thanks to my publicist
- Word of Mouth
- A solid relationship with bookstores and libraries
THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS, Ariel Lawhon [Read more…]