Best-seller lists arefantastic, but I think there are so many different definitions of what makes a successful novel, and I believe that most of them have one common thread.
In publishing, people often talk about the importance of a hook; a fantastic hook can make a book a best-seller. But I think a successful book has more than just a fabulous hook. A hook is what gets a reader to pick up a book and turn the pages, but the heart is what makes a reader feel, and heart is also what I believe makes a book successful.
I actually think most books have a heart—a sole idea that guides the story and feeds blood into its veins. However, some books have more powerful heartbeats than others. Some heartbeats are so weak you don’t notice them, while other heartbeats are so bold you don’t stop feeling them even after you’ve finished reading.
The heart is more difficult to define than hook. But I think one way of finding your novel’s heart is by asking: What is the question this story is asking?
This question and the depths you go to answer it will define your novel’s heartbeat.
qualities are readers longing for?
I think readers want to feel
when they read. Readers may initially pick up a book because it’s in a genre
they enjoy, it has a pretty cover, or they’ve seen it all over Instagram. But I
don’t think a reader is really going to love
a book unless it makes them feel something—wonder, suspense, love, fear,
longing, wanting, wishing, anger, empathy, amazement, sadness, joy, disgust,
surprise. I don’t know if the feelings matter so long as they are there in the book that you wrote and they are now
sharing with you.