What makes a book a bestseller?
There are a lot of editors and publishers who would like that crystal ball in their possession.
Some excellent books have been overlooked. Grisham's first hardcover, had a print run of five thousand. Those first editions are worth a bundle now. Once he sold his second book and movie deal, the first book became more valuable. Did it change in the meantime. No. It was a powerful book on it's own. But an English major told me about the imperfections in the second book...as a reader engrossed in the story, I didn't see them.
Another book, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, is also a best seller. While it's not a book I might read again, after I finished it, the writing haunted me. For days I would think back on the experience.
There have been several bestsellers which were first presented by their writers as self-published, then once a 'buzz' started, the big boys of publishing decided to give them a break.
The two that I know are the "Celestine Prophecy" and "Christmas Box"....
I think that most readers want to be taken on a journey, a revealing journey where we might discover something new, or learn something about ourselves, to be amused, and my favorite expression..."If they can make me laugh, cry and think, then it's a great book."
On Harry Potter, both my granddaughter, daughter and I read about his adventures. I was hooked on the first book, as I could identify with the 'child living under the stairs.' I can't remember another book that has grabbed the reader's mind, no matter the age. What a trick!
No wonder J.K. is richer than the Queen.
I call the books that I can't put down, Draggin' Books. I drag them from room to room, wanting to read a sentence, paragraph or page whenever I can.
That's the kind of book I would like to be able to write.