What Makes Your Story A Bestseller?


Lots of “Friend” authors tell us they love hearing one of their stories has been accepted for publication, because it means people will be reading and enjoying their work.

So what do readers enjoy reading?

We took a quick look at some lists of all-time bestsellers to find out.

Epic dramas top the lists

Epic tales full of drama are near the top of any bestseller list — books like “A Tale Of Two Cities”, “Gone With The Wind”, and “War and Peace”.

Some bestselling novels are parts of a series, such as “The Lord of the Rings”, the Harry Potter books, the “Twilight” Saga, and “The Chronicles of Narnia” (the best known being “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”).

Books for children are always popular, so many bestsellers are actually childrens’ books — “Heidi”, “Anne of Green Gables”, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”; “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”.

Agatha Christie’s novels have sold over two billion copies

Mysteries are popular, such as “The Da Vinci Code”, and the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Agatha Christie’s novels are estimated to have sold over two billion copies worldwide. Only the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible estimated to have been more widely published.

Classics, family sagas — and “Don Quixote”!

Some bestsellers are classics. “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “The Odyssey”, and “Pride And Prejudice”, for example.

Some are real-life tales, such as “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Some are family sagas, such as “The Thorn Birds”, Australia’s best-selling book ever, with 33 million copies sold worldwide.

And “Don Quixote”, the bestselling single-volume book of all time, is proof that good stories never get old — it’s estimated to have sold over 500 million copies, and was first published in 1605!

In what ways are all bestsellers similar?

So what makes these stories successful?

It’s fair to say they all have definite, clear storylines, and feature strong, memorable characters.

Lots are page-turners, meaning they are easy to read.

And the best stories can be re-set in any era. All useful to remember when you’re working on your next story submission for the “Friend”!

Need help getting started with your next bestseller? Click here to read some of my Writing Prompts.

For more great Fiction content, click here.


Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!