The secret to writing a bestselling novel has been discovered!

Everyone has a novel in them, or so the saying goes. But does everyone have the wherewithal to write that elusive bestseller?

Waterstones, the booksellers, believe they’ve cracked the code – and through painstaking research they’ve devised the BESTSELLER FORMULA!

The esteemed booksellers analysed 100 bestselling books from the last decade, looking at the 10 top sellers of each year from 2005 to 2014. They logged key factors such as gender of gender of author, occupation of main character, number of awards, whether it's got monsters in – to see if they could crack the code for creating a sure-fire page-turner.

Waterstones infographic

If this hasn’t got your pulse racing and fuelled your desire to rush to your nearest bookshop, nothing will. Perhaps nobody can predict what the public wants to read at a given time, and that it takes something extra – a connection with the zeitgeist, a spark of the divine – to produce a book that sells in its millions around the world.


Listen to the Reader’s Digest editorial team discuss the formula and engineered their own trilogy of bestselling investigative thrillers.

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If you’re in the mood for current and future bestsellers, browse our online bookshop.