Today was the first day of school after spring break, and it's left me buried in melancholy, anticipating this August when both Nayna and Dojo will be in school and I will be home. Alone.
So, it's a good mood to address a question. That whole best seller thing. Or best-seller thing. Or bestseller thing. See, you can hit the NYT list but it still doesn't mean you're going to know what the standard way of compounding those words is. You can't have everything, I suppose.
I sometimes get emails from people asking me how they can make their book a best seller. Bestseller. Best-seller. Best: seller. Best? Seller!
I'm probably not supposed to give this secret out, but whatever. Like I said, I'm tired, Monday is kicking my butt, and I'm not interested in keeping secrets when I could help aspiring writers out. So here it is, the ultra top secret never before revealed key to bestsellerdom:
Write the best possible book you can.
Seriously folks, everything else? Out of your control. Maybe you write that best possible book and it gets published but for whatever reason nobody ever picks it up. Maybe you get a huge marketing blitz from your publisher but it never gets the word-of-mouth buzz it needs (it happens). Maybe you get zero marketing from your publisher but Big Name Authors find your book and love it and talk about it all over the place and suddenly your little book becomes a very big book. Maybe you do everything you can and your publisher does everything they can and then you all just sit back and hold your collective breath and see what happens.
Or maybe you write the very best possible book you can, do whatever you can/think you should to help get an agent/get an editor/promote it, and then write the next very best possible book you can. Most of the people who ask me stuff like this haven't even finished one book, much less gotten a publishing deal. Focus on the writing. The rest will sort itself out, and if you're already worried about being a best-seller best seller bestseller bestseller you are doing it wrong. That sounds harsh, and I don't mean it to be, but it's true.
In the end, the writing is all you can do. So don't worry so much about things you can't control and just write.
And then tell me what the standard way of writing bestseller/best seller/best-seller/BEST! SELLER! is.