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The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them Paperback – March 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As publishing industry insiders know, there is no way to guarantee a book will be a bestseller. Sometimes a sleeper hits the lists; other times a book, despite being flogged to death, never moves many copies. Nevertheless, it is possible to study how books have become bestsellers in the past and try to learn from them. Hill and Power, founders of the research and consulting firm Power Dynamics Inc., have interviewed a score of people involved in making bestsellers, from the authors to the editors and, last in the chain of reaching the consumer, booksellers. The authors offer a serious look at the business of publishing and how its components must work together to produce a bestseller. Frustratingly, what they don't offer is a complete case history; they never follow any one book from idea to bestseller list. Instead, the book is divided by subject matter, and each chapter consists of short snippets quoting a range of people on the topic under discussion. Publishing industry veterans won't learn much new here, and readers looking for an engrossing account of a bestseller will also be disappointed. So this book is perhaps best directed at newcomers to the industry or aspiring authors who want to know more about how editors make decisions, about the role of the chains, etc. Though filled with quotes from leading publishing people, the text remains a bit dry and textbook-ish.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"The secret bestseller sauce is made up of this key ingredient--a great book." OK! After budding writers chasing the best-seller dream take care of that pesky detail, they can absorb more carefully the other information offered in this valuable compendium. Unfortunately, much of it is depressing. Literary agencies average about 11 new clients a year. One senior editor says she buys about 1 out of 100 submissions from agents. The book covers such topics as what publishers are looking for; the editor-writer relationship; how bookstores choose stock; the importance of reviews; and the ever-popular debate, commercial versus literary. There are also interviews with writers who have scaled the heights, including Dan Brown and Barbara Bradford Taylor. As a final carrot, big-name writers explain what best-sellers have meant to their lives (money, freedom, and money). With so many hungry writers out there, Hill and Power may have hit on a--dare we say--best-selling topic. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Business (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793193087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793193080
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,764,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Chandler on March 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was pleasantly surprised to find so much information packed into this book. Readers learn how the best seller lists are compiled, how (sadly) few new titles rise to the top each year, what factors make a best seller and what agents and editors are looking for. The interviews with industry pros and successful authors are insightful and this book not only prompts questions, but comes through and delivers ANSWERS. A great insight into the publishing industry for writers or anyone interested in how the book industry operates.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
In preparing their book The Making of a Bestseller Brian Hill and Dee Power interviewed more than fifty authors, agents, editors, booksellers, and assorted publishing industry experts on the subject of bestsellers--how books attain that status, what it costs an author to remain on the bestseller lists, what role various parties play in the creation of a best-selling book. The responses Hill and Power received form the backbone of their book, in which interview snippets are arranged thematically and interspersed with explanatory or introductory narrative. The book's eighteen chapters are divided into three broad sections--The Bestseller, Publishing, and The Author. The topics covered are too numerous to mention here, but the authors have included discussions of, for example, the various best-selling lists and how they are compiled; the importance--or not--of print reviews to a book's success; the influence of agents and editors on a manuscript; how booksellers select the titles they stock; and the process of adapting bestsellers for the screen.

The Making of a Bestseller is well written and clearly organized, and it is chock full of information about how the publishing industry works. Its authors, in interviewing so many subjects from throughout the publishing world, show readers a cross-section of the industry with its various strata, from author to bookseller, laid bare. The book should be of interest to would-be authors looking to scale the heights of bestsellerdom themselves as well as to industry insiders. Fans of the authors interviewed--among them Dan Brown, Peter Straub, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and Nicholas Sparks--may also be interested in this behind-the-scenes look at their favorite books.

Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diana Hignutt on July 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
In The Making of a Bestseller, authors Brian Hill and Dee Power reveal the secrets of the highest levels of publishing. They achieve this notable goal by asking those who occupy those dizzying heights questions designed to probe the mysterious mechanisms that propel books to the bestseller lists. To dig this information out they interview bestselling authors, agents, editors, booksellers; in short every one who plays a part in the process of creating books that fly off the shelves. The insight they provide, along with Hill and Power's fun and entertaining writing style, makes this book a must read for anyone curious about what it takes to make a bestseller. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of information from interviews with authors, editors, agents and booksellers who were involved in the making of a bestseller. It is organized into three distinct sections - The Bestseller, Publishing, and The Author. Part one includes an examination of what makes a book become a bestseller, the effect of reviews, and how the constant change readers' taste affects the sale of a book. Part two examines editors and publishers, what publishers look for in a book they select for publication, why some books are declined, using literary agents, establishing brand name awareness, and book promotion. Part three examines how to build a career as an author from the initial idea to writing the book and the ins and outs of life as a bestselling author. There are no theories in this book; it is all advice and experiences from established publishers and bestselling authors. The Making of a Bestseller is recommended to anyone who wants to understand what it takes to become a bestselling author.
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Format: Paperback
The collaboration of Brian Hill and Dee Power, The Making Of A Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors And The Editors, Agents, And Booksellers Behind Them answers the fundamental question of why certain authors seem to be able to have what they write consistently end up on best seller lists. Readers will learn how literary agents affect the publishing process, how good and bad reviews affect sales, what the role of the bookseller is with respect to a book's success or failure in the marketplace, the importance of marketing and publicity in determining a books impact upon the reading public. The Making Of A Bestseller reveals just how more than fifty best-selling authors approach the craft of writing and marketing their books in ways that aspiring authors can emulate with their own works. If you want to be a professional author whose books are commercially successful, then give a very careful and considerate study to The Making Of A Bestseller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lori Paris on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here's a book that can really deliver. You have questions? They have answers. Brian Hill and Dee Power interview over fifty authorities to give us an in-depth and close-up look into the complex publishing world of best selling books.

In an easy to read format, we receive our information by way of informal interview. Authors, editors, agents, and booksellers explain what it takes and how it works. Candid tips and tidbits reveal the steps to success with personal stories that punctuate the enormous difficulty and ultimate reward of perseverance. More than worth the cover price, "The Making Of A Bestseller" is a must read for anyone interested or invested in learning more about this industry. Excellent.
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