Posted by Jim Conway
November 1, 2015

Best Selling Books Secret # 2: There are 12 Secret ingredients

Secret bookThink best selling books have a secret recipe? Well, you’re right. There are actually 12 ingredients that these books have that others don’t. Want to know what they are?

Keep reading.

In his book Hit Lit: Cracking The Code Of The Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers James W. Hall breaks down the magic formula for best selling books (novels that is) into twelve key ingredients as follows.

Ingredient 1: Best selling Novels Are “Movie Friendly”

Best sellers have a dramatic question that can be captured in a single catchy phrase.

“Childhood innocence is destroyed when a young girl’s family is thrust into racial turmoil that threatens her small southern town.” – To Kill a Mockingbird

discrimination-60512_1920This main dramatic question gives rise to numerous dramatic questions that keep the plot moving.

Ingredient 2: Keep Things Controversial

Best selling books focus on social hot buttons that have “some larger, deep seated, and unresolved conflict in the natural consciousness”, such a sex, racism, religion, the dark side of society etc.

In other words they are controversial, they create their own buzz.

Ingredient 3: A Sweeping Backdrop

The characters in best selling novels are embodiments of their age. They depict the same issues of the day that we are all struggling with and concerned about. Their stories are told against the sweeping backdrop events of larger proportions.

Ingredient 4: Paradise Lost And Found

Best selling novelists portray a golden country of bliss and innocence in the main character’s past from which the main character draws strength and/or has been alienated from and is trying to return to such as Tara was for Scarlet O’Hara.clark-gable-394520_1280

But, the golden country can be a period of youthful innocence which is fondly remembered before it is lost forever as it is for Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Ingredient 5: Readers Want To Learn Something New

Learning something new has always been important to readers of novels and best sellers are loaded with an abundance of facts and information from etiquette to the layout of a submarine.

“Few (if any) bestsellers fail to supply this service”, says Hall. Readers “read in order to peer inside places not open to them otherwise”.

Ingredient 6: Secret Societies

Best sellers expose the inner workings of secret societies and expose conspiracy theories to the light of day. Readers long for what Hall refers to as “privileged glimpses” into worlds such as La Cosa Nostra in The Godfather or Opus Dei in The DaVinci Code.

For the next 6 secret ingredients click here. Or, better yet, buy the book here.

For more information on how to write a novel, publish it and market it online, click here.

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