Phil: From John Scalzi’s blog post “How to Build a New York Times Bestseller (or Maybe Not)” where he explains how “Redshirts” climbed the NYT bestsellers list. There’s some good advice for those of us who aspire to doing the same thing. Point 3 is my favorite:
I wrote a book that didn’t suck. A commercially successful book does not necessarily have to be well-written, but it doesn’t hurt things if it is. Redshirts is well-written — or, perhaps more accurately, it’s written in a manner which is easy for most literate humans to read, with efficient prose and a light, speedy style that rewards swallowing the book in big gulps rather than sipping it slowly. Even more simply put, it’s designed to be fun to read, and to read fast. These are fine qualities for a novel to have when one is hoping for commercial success.