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If you can write sales copy.
thecleaner




msg:3665698
 12:59 pm on Jun 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you write a best selling book?

I'm not sure what makes a best seller.. but I would think it has a lot to do with writing a book that people cant put down.

Perhaps you can tell me...is there a connection?

 

zett




msg:3667419
 9:11 am on Jun 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Having written a motion picture screenplay (90 minutes), I can assure you that writing sales copy is VERY different from writing a best seller.

Oh, and by the way, you do not start writing a bestseller (unless you are a well known, demanded writer). Normally, you start writing a book that may become a bestseller. Big difference.

Then again, if YOU can write sales copy, why don't you try writing a book? You will see how far you get.

Harry08




msg:3678367
 8:52 am on Jun 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

A sales copy is a handbook which is quite different from the best selling. Maybe you can have a try.

D_Blackwell




msg:3699461
 2:32 am on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you? Sure. But.....

I'm not sure what makes a best seller.. but I would think it has a lot to do with writing a book that people cant put down.

It has a lot to do with PR, 'right place, right time', and such. There are hundreds of incredibly good books published every year that will never see the light of day. The definition of 'best seller' is open to debate, but a couple of hundred thousand books will be printed this year in the US and maybe 1% of them will find a way to lay claim to 'best seller'. Maybe 1% of those will be 'popularly known'.

If you have skill with language, then you can probably refine that skill for the need. Sales copy, website text, magazine articles, letters to the editor.....Every niche has specific requirements. None translate directly. Great writing in any particular niche will probably not be very good in another. Which brings me back to a general skill with language. If you have it, then you can learn what is needed for a new area. I write extensively, in a variety of styles/requirements, but am completely unqualified to write a 'best seller'. However, if that was a goal, I do have the ability to learn what will be required and to diligently work at seeing it through.

If 'twere me, 'best seller' would be dropped as a priority. Getting published with something, anything, in the general direction of the final goal would be a sufficient starting out. There may be a couple of hundred thousand titles published this year, but there are probably a couple of million people trying to author one of them. The odds are long even if you are good. Maybe start in a short story or essay category (distinct niches themselves) to get a feel for the demands of the craft and what it will take to become competent. Join a writers' group that fits with your goals and let them thrash your work:)) That could go a long way to finding out where you are and what will be required to achieve the goal.

If money is priority result, there is probably much greater potential anywhere but 'best seller'. The attempt to gain that 'cachet' comes with a price - an extremely low success rate.

Post writing is a skill in itself. In a thread like this, where time is almost always a factor and without the opportunity to edit/rewrite, a skill for an organized stream of thought is essential. (The first post in thread is crucial. If the Subject and Meta Description suck, the feedback will be limited. If the Message Body is poorly organized and presented, then the likelihood of interest and quality responses drops even further.)

How'd I do:))

Beagle




msg:3700072
 6:23 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, since the thread was pulled back up, I'd agree with this:
Great writing in any particular niche will probably not be very good in another. Which brings me back to a general skill with language. If you have it, then you can learn what is needed for a new area.

200 pages of sales copy would probably not be a "page-turner". 200 pages of well-written advice on writing sales copy might be.

The important thing is understanding your niche and your audience and knowing how to write for them - including when conventions have to be followed and when you can decide to dispense with them. Writing nonfiction is different from writing fiction. Writing a "how-to" book is different from writing a memoir. Writing literary fiction is different from writing genre fiction - and each genre has its own foibles. Any of those categories, their subcategories, and others not mentioned, could give you a best-seller. But, as was said, unless you're a well-known author or some other kind of celebrity you can't plan to write a best-seller; you can only plan to write the best book possible of the type of book you're planning to write, and know who you're writing it for (that is, who might buy it - meaning both the publisher and eventual readers).

An advantage of having good copy-writing skills is the ability to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. This will give you an advantage in just about any kind of writing. It's much easier to be more verbose when that's called for than it is to learn how to be more succinct. When you do have readers turning the pages, you don't want to slow them down with too much verbiage.

coachm




msg:3701166
 9:16 pm on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you write a best selling book?
I'm not sure what makes a best seller.. but I would think it has a lot to do with writing a book that people cant put down.

Perhaps you can tell me...is there a connection?

By and large, there is no connection between writing sales copy and being able to write a best seller. Skills are way different.

I've written a bunch of books, one of which hit the businessweek bestseller list.

Lot's of decent advice in the other answers, but I'd say if you have to ask these things, you aren't ready to give it a go (writing a book, let alone a best seller).

Advice? Learn the business. Write every day. Start a book. Make writing your profession. (It tends to hurt so this isn't for everyone).

Writing a book (and having it published by a publisher is WAY different from copywriting, article writing, etc.

poppyrich




msg:3701761
 4:00 pm on Jul 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

speaking only for myself, I'm good at sales copy, instructional stuff, commentary, and the like.
But fiction is beyond me. I'd be at square one.

purplesoda




msg:3712692
 6:17 am on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

sales copy = business writing
bestselling book = creative writing.

Fortune Hunter




msg:3713037
 2:35 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

bestselling book = creative writing.

I have read a lot of books (mostly non-fiction) that I would not classify as creative, but was still a best seller. I have also read non-fiction that was downright bad, but through the power of PR became a best seller.

I will however concede the point that being creative in your writing will make it better regardless if it ever makes it to the best seller list.

Anyone that writes wants a best seller, but they should want to make sure they produce quality work that will be discussed, debated, and used even if it never makes the best seller list. While my banker may tell you he wants me to write the best seller my own goal is to produce quality work, which I hope is appreciated by the world and becomes a best seller, but as anyone that has seen bad work hit the best seller list can tell you tis not always true.

rogerd




msg:3713318
 6:00 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Want to write a best seller? Change your name to "Grisham" or "Rowling." Seriously, the fiction best-seller list is dominated by brand name writers. Other writers may pen stuff as good or better, but they don't have the franchise to get 7-digit first printings and pyramid displays in bookstores.

To get an idea of what might sell, check out first-time best-sellers. Those books likely got the the top because readers liked them and created positive buzz.

Non-fiction is a bit different, but many of the same issues apply.

As Zett noted, writing a potential best-seller is the best you can aim for. Look at mega-seller Dan Brown. His Angels and Demons is arguably at least as good as his later Davinci Code, but didn't hit the best seller list until the Davinci code became a sensation. Pick any category - legal thrillers, for example - and you'll find better-written books than the ones at the top of the sales lists.

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