I’ve searched this on the internet but never found anything like this.
The Bestseller Theories.
With my restless mind and thinking too much of many nonsensical things, I thought about deconstructing why bestsellers are bestsellers. What are their appeals to us that they made our brains remember and cherish them? Why do we consider discussing about these books in an extent that the same discussions go on for years? I want to know.
This harebrained idea of mine came to me when I was searching for ‘how things go viral’. This has been a part of my marketing research which then led me to ‘marketing: word of mouth’. Both are informative and insightful on how the minds of the human race of the 21st century work.
It was first pointed out by Aristotle in his ‘Modes of Persuasion’ (I’ve read this on Forbes if memory serves): Ethos, Pathos, Logos—Appeal of Authority (sometimes called ethical appeal), Emotional and Logical appeal. And then there is the element of ‘positivity’—which is greatly used by some headline makes for baiting the people to read the whole article. And they also putting that ‘positivity element’ in their article even there is grimness to it, they will put hope. This is cats go viral.
But we’re not here to talk about felines and their world domination plans, we are here to talk about why bestsellers stay in the reader’s heart.
So without further ado, here are my crazy theories (that would be in bullet form—yay enumeration!)
- The Hook Theory/Key Element
Of course, a good book needs a great hook, and we will find this in every bestseller that turned into movie in the recent years. I’m talking about an unknown author with his or her equally unknown book that became a sudden success.
One should be observant with their very first pages. It’s art on its right.
- Prose Speed Theory/Engine Element
This needs an experienced writer (doesn’t always mean you should be really experienced to do it), a somewho that mastered his/her writing voice to a certain degree. This means the flow of the writing, the connection between sentences and the minimal redundancy of the phrases—the organic The organic flow that keeps you going and going and going until it’s 3 am and you need to wake up early. If you want a good example read books by Gillian Flynn.
- Plot Theory/Fuel Element
It’s all in the story. We always wanted to know what will happen to the characters that have been put into stressful circumstances—a collective circumstances meaning the plot itself. The danger looming. The mutiny that is about to happen. The infidelity. The certain death. All of this makes us care for the fictional people in the pages.
There is also the world the author created which is also a part of the plot (this is for the fantasy and scifi novels though)—look at Harry Potter, it has all the elements, but what I loved about it when I first saw in it theaters was the world J.K Rowling created.
- The Push Theory/Wheel Element
And finally, the Push. This can be done subtly or in more obvious way. In the ‘obvious’ team it’s all about the cliffhangers at the very end of each chapter, and now, as I see it as a trend, in the very end of every book in a series. The subtle ones are more difficult because the Push in them is the mystery element. That thing that every character is talking about in the book but none of them actually saw it in person. Hugh Howey’s WOOL is a very, very good example.
There are many more theories of mine in my skull, which I would further refine in the coming days. I also thought of incorporating every theory in those bestsellers on our bookshelves—a detailed review so to speak of each bestselling book.