Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Bestselling

The #Bestseller Fever…


I’ve had a number of posts here exploring the phenomenon of the bestseller…

#Bestseller Fever

Two that seem like good entrées to the reporting I decided to do today are:

What Is a #Bestseller, Really? And, Should an Author Try to Write One?
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Why Trying to Write a Bestseller Is Bad for Your Mental Hygiene

Here are just a few excerpts from those posts:

“…I feel that beginning the process of writing a book with the dream of it becoming a bestseller is going to make the writer, consciously or subconsciously, write in an imitative fashion—trying to write to the folks who like bestsellers—killing any true originality and honest creativity…”

“Bottom-line, unless you’re some hot-property sports or movie or business person with a Traditional Publishing house’s money behind you, you need to write a book that expresses your deepest creativity and let the sales-chips fall where they may…”

A quote from Ursula K. Le Guin:

“The readability of many best sellers is much like the edibility of junk food. Agribusiness and the food packagers sell us sweetened fat to live on, so we come to think that’s what food is.”

Now for a post (sent to me by a very good author friend) from the blog, Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, called, The Secret to Writing a Best-selling Novel.

I’m almost embarrassed to offer excerpts; but, here goes:

“Computer scientists have developed an algorithm which can predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success…”

“A technique called statistical stylometry, which mathematically examines the use of words and grammar, was found to be ‘surprisingly effective’ in determining how popular a book would be.”

I must point out that that last excerpt is quite like many “scientific” claims—claims that have not borne the weight of exhaustive examination…

I feel that just as business has infected science, and inflated claims are made which are derived from rigged “experimentation” or even from highly prejudiced computer “studies”, the corporate-mind has infiltrated the book-blogging world and is promising you’ll be famous and make loads of money if you sell you soul to the “experts”…

Last shot for me is to urge you to read, or re-read, what I consider the Most Important post I have here (most important out of a total of over 1,900 of them…):

What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?
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What Is a #Bestseller, Really? And, Should an Author Try to Write One?


I have 10 posts here tagged Bestsellers (including this one…)…

The one most folks would associate with the normally understood meaning for “bestseller” might be, Bestsellers . . ., which includes this quote:

“…the definition wasn’t just something like: books that sell a lot of copies.

Here’s my dictionary’s entry ~ “A book that has had a large and rapid sale”

Then, there’s that other post of mine called, Want To Be A Bestselling Author? ~ Don’t Read This Blog . . .

Here’s an excerpt from that one:

“Who made it seem success wasn’t merely the next stage, from which further action becomes possible, but rather a pinnacle of achievement that leaves all other contenders breathless on the sides of the conquered mountain? So, who did that? Businesspeople? Fundamentalist religious folk? Football coaches?”

Which, for me, raises the issue of whether having a bestseller is a rational goal for an author

Then, there’s that post of mine called, So Ya Think Your Book Will Be a Bestseller?

Excerpts:

“…I continue to attempt to market my first novel…

“…I shrivel at the kindly meant enquiry, ‘How are sales?’

“…my lovely novel, my first-born, has not sold as many copies as I thought it would.

“I am lucky to live in an era where I have access to the free marketing potential of social media. I realise that. Yet I have still to work out how social media sells or, indeed, whether it does at all.”

Those quotes all come from Kate Evans‘ article, The Measure of Success in Indie Publishingdefinitely worth a read

Finally, there’s that one I did called, Why Trying to Write a Bestseller Is Bad for Your Mental Hygiene.

And, excerpts:

“If you persistently scan the writing blogs and the publishing news, you’ll find an overabundance of articles telling you how to write and market a book so it will become a bestseller.”

“Nearly all those articles are bunk…”

“I hear a few readers saying, ‘Alex, how in the world can you write such generalizations?’.”

I go on to explain; then, later:

“I feel that beginning the process of writing a book with the dream of it becoming a bestseller is going to make the writer, consciously or subconsciously, write in an imitative fashion—trying to write to the folks who like bestsellers—killing any true originality and honest creativity…”

I’ll share some excerpts from Ursula K. Le Guin‘s article, Up the Amazon with the BS Machine:

“Best Seller lists have been around for quite a while. Best Seller lists are generated by obscure processes, which I consider (perhaps wrongly) to consist largely of smoke, mirrors, hokum, and the profit motive. How truly the lists of Best Sellers reflect popularity is questionable.”

“If you want to sell cheap and fast, as Amazon does, you have to sell big. Books written to be best sellers can be written fast, sold cheap, dumped fast: the perfect commodity for growth capitalism.

“The readability of many best sellers is much like the edibility of junk food. Agribusiness and the food packagers sell us sweetened fat to live on, so we come to think that’s what food is. Amazon uses the BS Machine to sell us sweetened fat to live on, so we begin to think that’s what literature is.

“I believe that reading only packaged microwavable fiction ruins the taste, destabilizes the moral blood pressure, and makes the mind obese. Fortunately, I also know that many human beings have an innate resistance to baloney and a taste for quality rooted deeper than even marketing can reach.”

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