There are a lot of different ways to write a best seller, but the three of the most common features are these:
THREE MAIN HINTS TO MAKE A BEST SELLER
- You have to engage the reader.
- You have to keep them hooked.
- Make them loyal.
Easier said than done, right?
Think of what your story is about. Can you pitch the idea in less than fifty words? Less than twenty-five? Can you gel its essence down into a quick pitch? That’s the high concept.
High Concept is a Really a big Question
What’s your big dramatic question?
Will the kid survive the evil wizard?
Will the young reporter fall in love with Mr. Bondage?
Will a resourceful young adult survive a pixie apocalypse?
Let the reader know from the very beginning what your story is about. Will Harry Potter survive the dark wizard Voldemort? Will Eleanor and Park fall in love? Who will die in this John Green novel?
Keeping the reader hooked
This is where the obstacles and complications come in.
How do we keep our heroine challenged? What is in his or her way? Will her big dramatic question change into a new dramatic question.
The other element is that we have to have a character who responds to things emotionally. That’s what makes the story resonate. Our character already has a want. There are complications to the want. But more than that, the hero has to have intense emotions and reactions to those complications.
When Harry Potter has to dig deep and be brave, when he has to look in the Mirror of Desire and confront his deepest longings, when he has to face the wizard, know his friends might die (and on and on), he reacts emotionally and intensely and the stakes of his decisions have emotional consequences that elevate the reader and incite empathy.
Because we feel so connected to that character, we become loyal to that character. When we have that connection and loyalty? That book? It becomes something magical.
Writing Tip of the Pod
The best books hook the readers early, elevate the stakes, and make us connected to the character.
Dog Tip for Life.
Do not stay still. Go after your dreams.
Random Thought Rundown
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:
- Carrie scream in the car and take the Lord’s name in vain as she sees bear cubs run across the road.
- Shaun cranky about border patrol agents
- Big foot talk
- More beautiful weirdness.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.
PATREON OF AWESOME
You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps).
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.