Friday, September 20, 2013

What Makes a Book a Best Seller? (Part 7 of 13)

Timing is the fifth significant factor in making big sales. Every once in a while a book comes out at exactly the right period and starts a trend.

The first time I was aware of this was when someone gave me a copy of the 1986 book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, published by the Hazelden Foundation. The subtitle was How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. Within months, the book had sold eight million copies internationally.

Not only did codependent become a significant word in English jargon, but dozens of other writers, such as John Bradshaw, followed the trend she set.

Just before the turn of this century, the Left Behind series hit the best-seller lists. The end of the millennium aroused fears and anxieties. The fictional look at the book of Revelation in the Bible spoke to that need.

90 Minutes in Heaven wasn't the first book to come out about dying, going to heaven, and returning, but that one started the trend that has yet to see an end. Because of that trend, a publisher asked Twila Belk and me to write a book called I Believe in Heaven, which has recently been released. We shared at least 100 personal experience stories, surveyed the Bible, history, and mentioned many of the current books on the topic.

The publisher came to me because they felt people needed a book to pull together the dozens of others on the topic of death and heaven. In the months ahead, we'll see if that was good timing.

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