What Are The Key Elements of a Bestseller?

Would you like to know the secrets of an author's success? Learn the key elements of a bestseller that will help you write your own.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Author interviews and surveys suggest that writers of any New York Times bestseller, best-selling authors, editors, agents, and publishers all agree on some basic ideas about best-selling books and the key elements of a bestseller.

Although they might quibble over specifics or argue about which factors hold the most importance for book sales, there seems to be general agreement that successful bestseller novels must include: A captivating opening line, a compelling main character, and at least one life-altering experience for the protagonist (which may happen in the first chapter, but ideally not before page 50).

Now, what about the best-selling non-fiction formula? When bestseller non-fiction writers are asked what makes a book work, they tend to agree that bestselling books must include: A personal experience and/or triumph over adversity.

Other elements bestselling fiction and nonfiction have in common. People are looking for a fast read to pass the time or an in-depth story that will make them think.

Elements of a bestseller:

1) Keep it simple
2) Make it relatable
3) Go places other books don't go
4) Don't get lost in the technospeak
5) Think about your readers
6) Be likable
7) Surprising
8 ) Even entertaining
9 ) Happy ending
10 ) Must be able to answer most of the questions that readers may have about the topic.
11 ) Be applicable to people from all walks of life
12 ) Include suspense
13) Tie in with what bestselling authors are writing about
14) No sugar-coating
15) Make the book worth remembering.

As an author, you've got to be ready for the book to be criticized. Not one book will be safe from any sort of criticism, no matter the genre or the idea. Here are three key tips that will help you have the key elements needed to make your very own bestseller.

#1: Keep It Simple, straight to the point!

A bestselling book is readable and accessible to many different kinds of readers. In fact, bestselling books appeal to the masses, which means you'll need to be able to reach people on a wide variety of reading levels.


You can't assume that your potential readers are all graduates from Ivy League schools! Instead, write bestselling books that are simple and easy to understand. Make sure even a child could get the point of your words. This doesn't mean bestselling books have to be dull, but they do need to appeal even to the most basic readers' intellects.

#2: Make It Relatable.

You may write a bestselling book that includes elements of galactic space travel and other galaxies full of aliens, but if your story takes place on our own planet, yourbestseller will resonate with readers because it's geographically relatable.

key elements of a bestseller

Engaging and witty, bestselling books should be places that readers can find themselves in. They must understand how the characters feel and what their motivations are even if the situations aren't everyday life

#3: Go Places Other Books Don't Go 

The bestselling book is always the one that's willing to go out on a limb. Bestselling authors write about things that people are afraid to touch or seem too controversial. They take their readers right along with them!

bestselling books

A good book that deals with controversial topics and doesn't shy away from controversy can help a book stand out in a crowd. Be a brave author who isn't afraid to go where others haven't been — and they don't carry a guidebook along the way!

Bestseller Books are exploratory.

Bestseller books help people to think outside the box. Bestselling authors focus on finding a way to include all of their opinions in their book without alienating any one group or another. Many authors all over the world are opinionated — because they have a story to tell! Bestseller books are interesting because they don't sugarcoat anything or keep anything a secret, and the authors know that this is how they will sell the maximum number of copies! Bestsellers capture people's imaginations and boost their sense of creativity because bestseller authors aren't afraid to say what needs to be said without worrying about the controversy surrounding it.

Authors feel like they have a responsibility to put the truth out there, bring clarity to the bigger picture, even if it's not easy to swallow! These kinds of books open people's eyes and encourage self-exploration — and bestselling authors do whatever it takes to get people thinking about life in a way that they never imagined before, engaging with a new sense of clarity.

For more helpful content in becoming a better author, check out my article on How to Start Writing a Book or visit our website today BestsellingBook.com.