Posts Tagged: bestsellers

The Messy Life of Jonathan Safran Foer

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It’s not easy being a literary star. From the existential crises that comes from fame to the struggle to follow up a critically acclaimed first novel, becoming “a writer” for life involves a lot more than publishing a bestseller. Read Lev Grossman’s fascinating bio for TIME Magazine on what Jonathan Safran Foer (author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) has been up to: everything from divorce, leaving a major television project, to taking nearly eleven years to write his third novel.

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A No-Hitter

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Not even James Patterson or Stephen King have reached a top-twenty spot with a new book on the New York Times‘s Bestseller list this year. Publishers are blaming mediocre sales of adult fiction on lessened media coverage due to recent acts of violence and terrorism and increased political coverage for the 2016 presidential race.

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How to Hack Your Way to Being a “Best Selling” Book on Amazon

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Because of the high bar, the term “bestselling author” was [once] a term with some meaning. It was seen as something that was earned through a lot of hard work. But today, that designation has changed—for the worse. It’s like when you see a food described as “natural.” The FDA doesn’t actually regulate that term, so it’s basically meaningless.

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Literature of Endurance

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A shrewd observer of titles that dominate the bestseller list week after week will notice the plethora of books about overcoming harrowing events or difficult trials. Over at the Financial Times, Ed Caesar weighs in on our readerly obsessions on stories about enduring tough times:

One easy explanation for the success of the endurance-lit phenomenon is that it’s more enjoyable to read about great hardship than to experience it.

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How to Scientifically Predict a Novel’s Success

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It’s impossible to predict what will make a book sell well, but scientists at Stony Brook University think they might be on the right track.

After conducting statistical analyses of novels from several genres, they were able to predict with 84% accuracy whether a book was “highly successful” based on certain elements of style such as “discourse connectives” and “verbs that describe thought-processing.”

Of course, there’s a pretty large degree of subjectivity inherent in any study of this nature, but it’s still interesting stuff to think about.

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More Depressing News about Bestsellers Lists

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Previously, we blogged about wealthy authors paying tens of thousands of dollars to make their books bestsellers.

But what happens if your book moves all those copies the good old-fashioned way, no cheating involved? Patrick Wensink, whose novel Broken Piano for President outsold even the Hunger Games books during its week atop the bestsellers lists, breaks it down for us:

But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English…It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty.

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